Clark County REMC - September 2022 Indiana Connection

Page 1


Through the years I’ve written about my adventures on a particular Southern Indiana road trip, my first boyfriend (we were in kindergarten), and the tap dance class I took in college. I’ve shared stories about what I wished I would have learned in high school and what I’ve learned since. One of my earlier columns bemoaned the fact that I procrastinate way too much. I promised myself back then that “No longer am I saying, ‘I’ll get to that one of these days.’ I’m not going to live for later.” I wisely suggested “You can’t do it all today. But it just seems like you have a lot more time if you start using today to its best advantage.”

My first-ever editor’s column, titled “That Reminds Me” (which at that time was the traditional name of this publication’s editor’s column), was about my frustration about not having an appropriate headshot to accompany my column and my decision to go “headless … in terms of this column” that first month. How ironic that nowadays, there’s a different headshot accompanying this column each month! (I’m headless no more!)

Reading that column today reminds me that I could have done a better job taking my younger self’s advice. I still put things off and do a poor job of juggling my ever-increasing responsibilities, prioritizing things that probably don’t need to occupy top spots on my to-do list. “I don’t want to leave this world with a whole list of things I never did and never will. I’m not going to be a person who was all work and no play. Someone who didn’t use her free time to its best advantage,” I vowed. But I never truly embraced my Funnyproclamation.howalook back can be a wake-up call. I guess life’s lessons don’t always come from experience. Perhaps they can emerge unexpectedly at other stages of life when you most need an aha moment. And they can reemerge when you need to remember to do a better job living for today.

SEPTEMBER 2022 3 VOLUME 72 • NUMBER 3 ISSN 0745-4651 • USPS 262-340 Published monthly by Indiana Electric Cooperatives Indiana Connection is for and about members of Indiana’s locally-owned, not-for-profit electric cooperatives. It helps consumers use electricity safely and efficiently; understand energy issues; connect with their co-op; and celebrate life in Indiana. Over 304,000 residents and businesses receive the magazine as part of their electric co-op membership. Member’s cost per issue is approximately 32 cents, plus postage. CONTACT US: 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600 Indianapolis, IN INDIANA COOPERATIVESELECTRICOFFICERS: Randy Kleaving President Steve McMichael Vice President Dr. Richard Leeper Secretary/Treasurer Tom VanParis Interim CEO EDITORIAL STAFF: Emily Schilling Editor Richard George Biever Senior Editor Holly Huffman Communication Support Specialist Ellie Schuler Senior Digital and Layout Design Specialist Lauren Carman Communication Manager Kiley Lipps Graphic Designer Amber Knight Creative Manager Mandy Barth Vice President of Communication ADVERTISING: American MainStreet Publications Cheryl Solomon, local ad representative; 512-441-5200; Crosshair Media 502-216-8537; Paid advertisements are not endorsements by any electric cooperative or this publication. UNSOLICITED MATERIAL: Indiana Connection does not use unsolicited freelance manuscripts or photographs and assumes no responsibility for the safe keeping or return of unsolicited material. SUBSCRIPTIONS: $12 for individuals not subscribing through participating REMCs/RECs. CHANGE OF ADDRESS: If you receive Indiana Connection through your electric co-op membership, report address changes to your local co-op. POSTAGE: Periodicals postage paid at Indianapolis, Indiana, and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send change of address to: Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606. Include key number. No portion of Indiana Connection may be reproduced without permission of the editor. On the menu: December issue: Cocoa recipes, deadline Oct. 1. January issue: “Copycat” recipes (inspired by your favorite restaurants), deadline Nov. 1. If we publish your recipe on our food pages, we’ll send you a $10 gift card. Giveaway: Enter to win a $50 gift certificate from Mayberry Café. Visit or send your contact information to the address above. The deadline to enter is Sept. 31. EMILY SCHILLING Editor Living for today

As I look back at the hundreds of columns I’ve written over the years, I realize how much I’ve grown and changed — and how much I’ve stayed the same. I’m SO thankful that I was able to chronicle my musings, adventures, and memories through my editor’s letter. Not only was I able to share my thoughts with you, but I also captured a moment in time that I can look back upon now with a whole new perspective.

from the editor

Three ways to contact us: To send us recipes, photos, event listings, letters and entries for gift drawings, please use the forms on our website; email; or send to Indiana Connection, 8888 Keystone Crossing, Suite 1600, Indianapolis, IN 46240-4606.


4contents SEPTEMBER 2022 SEPTEMBER 03 FROM THE EDITOR 05 CO-OP NEWS Energy news and information from your electric cooperative. 10 ENERGY Steering clear of solar scams. 11 INSIGHTS 12 COUNTY OF THE MONTH Spotlighting Posey County. 14 SAFETY Knowledge is power for farm safety. 18 INDIANA EATS Home cooking with a side of nostalgia at the Mayberry Café. 20 FOOD A taste of honey. 22 COVER STORY Barn anew: Caring for Indiana’s historic barns 28 HOOSIER ENERGY/ WABASH VALLEY NEWS 29 DIY HOME Nice and cozy: DIY weatherproofing for your home. (Not in all editions.) 30 PETS Fat cats: The problem of overweight felines (Not in all editions.) On the cover Gwen and Andy Bell’s desire to avoid a “cookie-cutter” home brought them to an old farmhouse in Whitestown that also had a barn. With their first baby on the way, they weren’t ready to restore it. So, they joined the Indiana Barn Foundation to learn how to preserve it for the future. 3018 energy Indiana eats food pets 20 FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA Indiana Connection 10

SEPTEMBER 2022 5 co-op news CONTACT US Office: 812-246-3316 / 800-462-6988 Outages: 866-480-REMC Fax: 812-246-3947 To pay your bill by phone or inquire about your account: 877-484-4042 EMAIL WEBSITE OFFICE HOURS 7 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday-Friday STREET ADDRESS 7810 State Road 60 Sellersburg, IN 47172 MAILING ADDRESS P.O. Box 411, Sellersburg, IN 47172 BOARD OF DIRECTORS Paul Graf, President John Biesel, Vice President Jeff Myers, Secretary/Treasurer Joe AmberleySteveBashamDieterlenMarkHuberKendall UPCOMING BOARD MEETINGS Sept. 6 at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 4 at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 1 at 5:30 p.m. EMPLOYEE ANNIVERSARIES Shelbi Ball - 4 years Mark Guernsey - 42 years Presley Harbin - 4 years Neil Hopwood - 34 years Eric Melton - 6 years Kevin Moore - 20 years Alex Olson - 2 years Kevin Porter - 11 years Bo Simpson - 11 years Like us on Facebook: Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Instagram Follow us on LinkedIn


INTRODUCING OUR NEW ELECTRIC VEHICLE (EV) RATE FREE ADMISSION for the first 100 attendees MEMBER MOVIEROSSNIGHTTHEATER 31 E. Wardell St. Scottsburg, IN 47170 MOVIE: Hotel Translyvania FRIDAY, OCT. 21 Doors open at 6 p.m. Movie starts at 7 p.m.

Gas havepricesbeen all over the place this year. We saw jumpseemedandhighsrecordinJune,pricestofromone day to the next. But imagine this scenario: What if you could save money on gas for your vehicle just by filling up your tank at a different time of the day? If it was more expensive to buy gas on the way to/from work than it was later in the evening, would you wait to fill up? It might sound crazy, but that’s the idea behind our new electric vehicle (EV) rate. Let me Mostexplain.ofour members pay the same price for each kilowatthour (kWh) of electricity they consume, no matter when they use the electricity. But in reality, the cost to generate electricity fluctuates all the time. Our EV rate has higher prices when electricity is most expensive (summer weekdays from 3-9 p.m. and winter weekdays from 7-10 a.m. and 6-9 p.m.), and lower prices when electricity is cheaper (spring, fall, and all weekends and holidays). But it gets even better! The cheapest time to generate electricity is in the middle of the night, so our EV rate is only about half the normal cost of electricity between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. all year long. EV owners know that’s the perfect time to charge their vehicles, so the savings can really add up. We understand that electric vehicles don’t make sense for everyone or every situation. But if you’re interested in paying less for electricity more than 90% of the year, or if you just want to learn more about how this works, check out page 6 or give us a call. CLEMMONS CEO

6 SEPTEMBER 2022 co-op news

If you have advance warning that an outage is possible, fill a cooler with ice –– just in case the outage spans several hours. Having a cooler ready to go can buy extra time for your refrigerated, perishable items.

Here are a few food safety tips to keep in mind before, during and after a power outage.

While most perishable foods should be thrown out after an extended outage, there are a few items that are safe to consume after a two-hour exposure to 40+ degrees:

• butter or margarine that is properly wrapped • taco, barbecue and soy sauces

• peanut butter, jelly, mustard, ketchup and relish

Keep food safe when the power goes out


To learn more about food safety after an emergency, visit

During an outage If an outage occurs, do not open the refrigerator or freezer unless absolutely necessary. An unopened refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours. A half-full freezer will keep food frozen for about 24 hours and a full freezer for about 48 hours. If it looks like the power outage will last longer than four hours, move your important perishable items to an icefilled cooler.

Extended power outages are rare, but when they occur, it’s important to understand food safety measures to take to avoid illness.

• hard cheeses that are properly wrapped

Abby Berry writes on consumer and cooperative affairs for the National Rural Electric associationnationalAssociation,Cooperativethetrade representing more than 900 local electric cooperatives. From growing suburbs to remote farming communities, electric co-ops serve as engines of economic development for 42 million Americans across 56% of the nation’s landscape.

A good rule of thumb is to keep an emergency supply kit on hand. Be sure to include nonperishable food items like bottled water, powdered milk, canned goods, cereal and protein bars in your emergency kit.

The best way to avoid illness from spoiled food during or after an outage is to follow the four-hour rule of thumb.

By Abby Berry

After an outage If refrigerated foods have been exposed to temperatures higher than 40 degrees for more than two hours, the American Red Cross recommends discarding the items. If any foods have an unusual color, odor or texture, they should be thrown away.

After an outage, always smell and inspect foods before consuming and remember: when in doubt, throw it out.

Severe winds, lightning and even squirrels can temporarily cause the power to go out. We understand power outages of any length can be frustrating, especially when your fridge is stocked with perishable foods.

Before an outage


by Mark Belcher Member Service and Marketing Manager

With renewable energy on the rise and questions swirling about the stability of the grid, installing residential solar panels is a popular option for both saving money and helping the Butenvironment.howcanyou distinguish between a legitimate solar installation and scam artists trying to make a buck at your expense? And how can you be sure that you’ll realize the full benefits of your solar investment down the road?


10 SEPTEMBER 2022 Steering clear of solar

3. Do your own homework. Research the costs and benefits of installation, insurance, tax credits, necessary permits and payment plans, to name a few. The more you know, the less you’ll fall for the wrong sales pitch. And if you need more time to decide, be wary if you are pushed to make a quick decision.

5. Get multiple bids for installing the same kind of system, if possible. The cheapest bid isn’t always the best, nor is the highest bid always the best quality. But you might learn something about how the various companies do business, and if the pricing is way out of line one way or another, that’s a clue that something isn’t right. Residential solar installation is an investment. You are the one making that investment, so be sure your decision is the right one for you.

Orange County REMC scams

1. Be alert for installers who make false claims about annual utility rate increases, often citing numbers that are two or three times higher than past history. This is an even more effective tactic now as many utilities have had to raise rates due to market volatility.


4. Know the interconnectionrequirements.safetyAlland safety requirements must be met during installation with safety inspections often required. Know who pays for repairs and damages to the system.

2. If installers say not to contact your electric cooperative, it should raise a red flag. Your cooperative can provide information about potential rebates and buyback energy rates, which are not the same as the retail rate. In Indiana, net metering recently expired, making solar power more expensive. Check for certified installers and be wary if the salesperson claims you will have no utility bill or will even make money. Such a claim is all the more reason to contact your cooperative.


This fall, up to five Hoosier fifth through eighth graders will join the ranks of past winners who have volunteered to help others in their communities. They will receive their awards during the Indiana Electric Cooperatives Annual Meeting in Indianapolis on Dec. 5.

Each winner will receive $500 and will also be featured in an upcoming issue of Indiana Connection.

The deadline to apply is Oct. 3. For further information, and to fill out the award application, go to

YOUTH POWER AND HOPE AWARDS HONOR KIDS WHO CARE Are you a middle schooler making a difference in your community?


Each year since 2009, Indiana’s electric cooperatives have honored middle school students who are making a difference in their communities through the Youth Power and Hope Awards program.

County Facts


NAMED FOR: Thomas Posey, Indiana GovernorTerritory POPULATION: 25,480 COUNTY SEAT: Mount Vernon NUMBER:COUNTYINDIANA 65 New Harmony’s Labyrinth was a place for meditation and reflection for the Rappites. Its 2008 reconstruction, based on archival information, restored the labyrinth to its original form. It is open and free to the public.


Posey County is home to what’s believed the northernmost stands of cypress trees in the U.S. The stands give Posey a decidedly southern feel along the floodplains. In the floodplain where the rivers meet is the Hovey Lake Fish & Wildlife Area. Hovey Lake FWA covers approximately 7,404 acres and features a 1,400-acre oxbow lake, other smaller sloughs and marshes, and provides quality hunting, trapping, fishing, and wildlifewatching opportunities.

Unlike Rapp’s religious group, Owen’s society was based on Owen’s socialist vision of equal education and equal social status. Owen enticed many scientists and educators from Philadelphia and other places in the East to join him in New Harmony — arriving by river on what became known as the “Boatload of Knowledge.” Numerous scientists and educators contributed to New Harmony’s intellectual community.

North of Hovey Lake along the Wabash is the historic town of New Harmony. Two utopian communal societies were attempted there — with varying success. The outpost town was founded in 1814 by George Rapp, leader of a religious movement. The group, known as Rappites or Harmonists, fled Germany to escape religious persecution as they awaited the Second Coming of Christ which they believed would be in their lifetime. They settled first in Pennsylvania, then moved by flatboat down the Ohio and up the Wabash to the site they called Harmonie. Under Rapp’s leadership, the hardworking Harmonists built a thriving town. But in 1824, they moved back to Pennsylvania to be closer to the large markets in the East for their products.

Posey is the “big toe” of Indiana; it’s the farthest southwest of Indiana’s 92 counties. The Wabash River forms Posey’s western border with Illinois as it empties out into the Ohio River. The Ohio forms the county’s southern border with Kentucky.

The following year, Robert Owen, a Welsh textile manufacturer and social reformer, along with William Maclure, an educator and geologist, purchased Harmonie from Rapp and the Harmonie Society.

Though Owen’s utopian vision collapsed after just two years, New Harmony became known as a center for advances in education and scientific research as some of those he brought to Posey County, such as Thomas Say, America’s “father of entomology,” stayed in New Harmony after others moved away. New Harmony established the nation’s first public school system open to both boys and girls, the state’s first free library, and a civic drama club. Say first identified a new variety of firefly he found here. It was later given his name. Mostly through the lobbying and educational efforts of Indiana school children and Purdue University entomologists, the Say firefly was made the official state insect in 2018. More than 30 structures from the two communal societies remain as part of the New Harmony Historic District, which is a National Historic Landmark. In addition to the historical remnants of the early societies, the quaint town features other historic buildings and attractions, distinctive one-of-a-kind eateries and specialty shops, antiques, art galleries and festivals. The Harmonie State Park is also nearby.

county feature 12 SEPTEMBER 2022

Posey County

With its interesting geographical, biological and historical stories, Posey County, located in Indiana’s southwest corner pocket, is like no other county in the state.


To protect themselves, farmers and their workers should follow these tips from Indiana Electric Cooperatives:



“Working the land has enough hazards in the work itself,” says Elkins. “With care and planning, moving to and from the fields shouldn’t be one of them.”

• Check clearances each time you enter or exit a field. It’s possible changes were made since the last time you accessed the field and the clearances could have changed.

• Watch out for power poles, too. If you strike one, it may break, dropping a live line on your equipment.

In the rare case of a fire and you have to escape, jump clear of the equipment. Keep both feet together and shuffle at least 30 feet away.

Think safe, think 10 — the 10-foot rule, that is! When working with farm equipment or machinery, stay away from power lines at least 10 feet in every direction. If you need to work within 10 feet of an overhead power line, call your electric cooperative first.

• When considering the height of equipment, don’t forget about the radio antennas and GPS receivers that may reach another couple feet above the roof.

• Never try to raise power lines to allow passage of tall equipment. Even non-metallic objects such as wood poles or branches can conduct electricity.

• If you’re not completely sure if equipment will fit under a power line, find an alternate way to move it.

• Take the time to fully lower grain augers and other portable equipment before moving them.

• If you’re in equipment that touches power lines, stay in the cab and call for help. Tell others to stay away.

All that increased activity puts farmers and farm workers at greater risk, warns Jon Elkins, vice president of safety, training and compliance at Indiana Electric Cooperatives.


With the arrival of harvest time, Indiana’s farmers are shifting into high gear as they move into their fields to bring in their crops.

• When moving equipment near power lines, have a spotter on hand to ensure your safety.

“People assume that everything will fit under the power lines, but that isn’t always the case. The biggest cause of electrocutions on farms is equipment accidentally touching power lines.”

“Combines and grain augers are large pieces of equipment,” says Elkins.

• Always look up and around before moving or raising equipment. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least 30 feet from all power lines and power poles.


Andy's Tenderloin is a star attraction at the Mayberry Café. Diners can choose to have the handcut pork tenderloin either grilled or breaded.

Husband and wife Brad and Christine Born fashioned the Mayberry Café (formerly the Main Street Café, Bakery and Deli) after Brad’s favorite TV show, The Andy Griffith Show, which ruled the airwaves from 1960-68. Though the iconic comedy took place in a fictional burg in North Carolina, Danville’s friendly, neighborly vibe made it the perfect location for the Borns to pay homage to the country classics Aunt Bee herself may have served her family. Those classics include fried chicken, fried catfish and country fried steak, along with fried biscuits and apple butter. Aunt Bee’s tasty fried pickles served with ranch or spicy ranch dressing are guaranteed to be made “without kerosene.” (Andy Griffith fans will know what that means!)

Opie’s Prize Catch Blue Gill is a favorite of many diners as is the breaded tenderloin (featured on

The first thing you may see after grabbing a parking spot near the old brick building across from Danville’s town square is an authentic 1960s-era Mayberry Police Department car. It’s parked on the side of the building, just where you might imagine Sheriff Andy Taylor and his deputy, Barney Fife, left it. After pausing to remember the days when life was kinder and homespun advice solved the wackiest predicaments, head on in under the black awning decorated with a Sheriff’s badge and enter an alternate universe Mayberry.



If that sentence resonates with you, and you haven’t yet been to the Mayberry Café in Danville, Indiana, well, you need to nip that right in the bud and plan a visit. And if you don’t get Andy and Barney flashbacks reading that, well, nevertheless, head to this small-town eatery to enjoy down-home cooking with a heaping side of nostalgia.

The Mayberry Café's trademark 1960s-era Mayberry Police Department cruiser is parked on the side of the restaurant, adding to the ambience even before visitors set foot in the Andy Griffith Show-themed restaurant.

Indiana eats 18 SEPTEMBER 2022

THECAFÉMAYBERRY 78 W. Main St. 317-745-4067Danville The warm beforebiscuitssugar-coveredcinnamonfriedandapplebuttercaneitherbeenjoyedthemaincourseorasadessert. ENTER TO WIN A $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE LEARN MORE ON PAGE 3 KNIGHTAMBERBYPHOTOS

The food isn’t the only draw at the café, whose visitors have included Gomer Pyle himself, Jim Nabors; Dixie Griffith, Andy’s daughter; and Karen Knotts, whose father Don Knotts played Barney. Episodes from The Andy Griffith Show play on a constant loop on the various flat screen TV sets placed around the restaurant and cast photos and memorabilia line the walls. With the homey décor and retro vibe, you’d swear Aunt Bee herself was back in the kitchen making sure you were well-fed and taken care of. And when you’re at the Mayberry Café, that’s exactly what you are: well-fed and taken care of.

SEPTEMBER 2022 19 the Indiana Tenderloin Lovers’ Trail) and the various burgers, named for some of Mayberry’s most illustrious characters like Barney, Otis and Ernest T. Save room for the cobbler served with vanilla ice cream and Aunt Bee’s Chocolate Mug Cake made with her secret ingredient, Dr. Pepper.

Whisk 1 T. broth and cornstarch until smooth. Bring remaining ingredients to a boil. Whisk half of cornstarch mixture into maple honey mixture. Bring to a boil. Cook until thickened (about 1 minute). Add additional cornstarch mixture if desired. Reserve ¼ cup of this mixture. Brush 2 T. of reserved sauce over pork. Bake additional 10 minutes. Brush with 2 more tablespoons of reserved sauce. Bake 5-10 more minutes. Pour any juices from pork into cooked maple-honey sauce; serve with pork. Yield: 6 servings.

Patricia Piekarski Harvey, Illinois


Maple-Honey Sauce: cup chicken broth, divided 1 T. cornstarch ⅓ cup maple syrup ⅓ cup honey ¼ cup heavy whipping cream Dash of allspice PREPARED BY EMILY SCHILLING AND KILEY LIPPS PHOTOS BY KILEY LIPPS


20foodSEPTEMBER 2022 FROM COMB, SWEET COMB TO TABLE Pork: 1 ½ T. olive oil 3 cloves garlic, minced 1 t. salt ½ t. pepper 1 3 ½ lb. bone-in pork loin roast 1 t. Heatsageoven to 375 F. Combine olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper in a cup. Spread over top of pork. Sprinkle with sage. Place in roasting pan. Bake 1 hour.


Yield: 12 muffins.

1 t. cinnamon 1 t. gingerbread spice

1 cup honey 3 eggs, beaten 3 T. butter

SOFT COOKIESHONEY Marilles Mauer Greensburg, Indiana

2 t. baking powder


Cookies: 7 T. honey ¾ cup oil

Doris Ann Kahlert Berne, Indiana

1 egg, well beaten ¼ cup orange juice

1 t. vanilla extract

1 t. baking soda

Glaze: ¼ cup powdered sugar 1 ½ T. Preheatmilkoven to 375 F. In a large bowl, mix honey, oil, egg and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine flour with baking soda, cinnamon, and gingerbread spice. Add to honey mixture and blend together to make a dough. Take 1 t. of dough and roll into a ball. Place dough ball on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat until all dough is used. Bake for about 8 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are lightly browned. Take out of oven and let cool completely. Combine powdered sugar and milk to get a thick mixture. Drizzle over cookies. Let glaze harden for several hours, then store cookies in an airtight container.

½ cup sifted all-purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat flour


Yield: 6 8 servings.

1 cup chopped pecans Dash of nutmeg

1 t. grated orange rind ½ cup honey 3 T. melted shortening In a large bowl, sift all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder together. Add whole wheat flour and mix thoroughly. In another bowl, combine egg, orange juice, rind, honey and shortening. Add all at once to flour, stirring only enough to dampen all flour. Bake in well-greased muffin pan or use paper baking cups. Bake in hot oven at 400 F for 15-20 minutes or until browned.

¼ t. salt

1 egg ¾ cup sugar 3 cups flour

1 9-inch pie shell, unbaked In a saucepan, bring honey to a boil. Quickly beat eggs into honey. Add butter, extract, pecans and nutmeg. Pour into pie shell and bake at 325 F for 25 minutes or until filling is set.

HONEY PIE Shirley Todd Columbus, Indiana

By Richard G. Biever


For the past 12 years, the Thompsons, both 46, and their two children, now 21 and 18, have lived on the land in the farmhouse Robyn grew up in. They moved in and became the farm’s chief caretakers when Robyn’s mother moved to Brown County (Robyn's parents had divorced years earlier). But Robyn and Jason aren’t farmers. And neither is her only sibling, younger brother Bryan Bunton. Neither were Robyn and Bryan’s parents. So, ever since their grandparents were well into their 80s and no longer able to work the land, the fields were leased to area farmers. And in those 20-some years after her grandfather retired, the farm’s barns and outbuildings sat empty and devoid of the life and livelihood they once supported.

Robyn Thompson's family in front of the family's barn in the 1890s.

Venerable barns need to be needed, need to have purpose, just as people do, or they quickly start declining, too. That’s what happened to the family’s English bank barn that dates to 1874.

PHOTO RIGHT Jonathan, Robyn, Jason and theEvelyn,GwendolyntripletsBryanleft,Thompson,AbbyfromandKatieandBuntonwithMadelyn,andinfrontofsame1874barn.

That land is a 70-acre farm in eastern Morgan County. Once covering “half the township,” the grain and livestock farm has been in Robyn’s family for 175 years. It was maintained and passed down through seven generations on her maternal side. Robyn knew from an early age she would eventually have to move home. “This is just who I am,” she told him, “and this is the life I want to have. I want to raise my children out there, and I want to make my life there.”

“I just I couldn't handle it. The barn had Creeping Jenny all over. It just looked awful,” she said. Upon moving home, they found the roof had begun leaking, the concrete center aisle had cracked and was crumbling, a foundation wall caved in, groundhogs were everywhere. “I was very close to my grandfather. I spent a lot of time up there in that barn. I took care of the horses. It just made my heart sick to see it in that condition.”

When Robyn and Jason Thompson tied the knot in 1998, she warned him the rope was attached to more than just her. “She told me when I married her, I married the land,” Jason said. “And she wasn’t lying.”


A year ago, IBF also established the Mauri Williamson Legacy Endowment to create an ongoing funding source for itself for grants, educational efforts, and technical assistance.

The Indiana Barn Foundation was established in 2013 and is an eclectic group of farmers, rural residents, agricultural folks, and those who just love those iconic fixtures of Indiana’s family farming heritage. Its goal is to support folks wanting to restore and preserve heritage barns. In doing so, they preserve a major piece of the story of Indiana’s agricultural history — its implements, its structures, and its people — that made Indiana one of the most productive agricultural states in the nation despite being the smallest state by area west of Appalachia.

Soon after, the Thompsons turned to programs offered by Indiana historical preservation groups to learn what they could do to restore and maintain the remainder of the farm. And they joined a newly formed organization dedicated solely to supporting the preservation of Indiana’s historic barns like theirs — The Indiana Barn Foundation.

At the start of the 21st century, an estimated 30,000 barns still stood across Indiana’s countryside. A third of those disappeared by 2010, and more disappear each year.

“A lot of people would tell you, to see a classic old barn still standing in the countryside just looks beautiful,” said Kent Yeager, president of IBF.

Williamson, who died in 2017 at age 91, devoted his life to telling and preserving Indiana’s agricultural history as a longtime leader of Purdue University’s Agricultural Alumni Association and founder of the State Fair’s Pioneer Village. He was also the catalyst for the IBF, Yeager said.

“But to me, it's more about the history and heritage that's involved in these buildings … being built from natural resources that were right there locally. And the fact that a lot of these were built when there wasn't much in the way of tools. It was hammers and chisels. It took real craftsmanship to build these things.”

To support preservation projects, the Foundation awards annual grants for barns in most urgent need of repair.

Continued on page 24

Yeager, 70, said the construction methods — hand-hewing, drilling holes, and setting giant timbers without cranes and electricity — and the little variations each local farmer and carpenter incorporated still fascinate him. And then to frame and raise these massive structures, he said, took a whole community coming together. But these castles of the countryside began to outlive their usefulness by the mid-1900s. Changes in agriculture brought larger and larger commercial farms. The machinery used to work them grew with the acreage and literally outgrew the wooden Morestructures.practical and frugal than sentimental, many farmers began bulldozing and burning the outdated structures rather than continuously pay the insurance and taxes levied on them. Many barns were crowded out by suburban development. Others were dismantled for the weathered wood siding and huge timbers that were sold off for rustic accents or structural elements for new custom homes. Others were allowed to slowly crumble until, like some Gothic ruin, they were reclaimed by the earth.


“We refuse the whole ‘cookie-cutter subdivision’ thing,” said Andy. “It is fine, to each their own, but we just like things that have a little more story, some charm behind it.”

Continued from page 23

In another lifetime, the house and barns had been the base of a 120acre multi-generational family farm. Located on the main county road north out of Whitestown, the farm fanned out west and north. Andy said a prominent area farmer purchased the entire farm from the original family years earlier and had maintained the barns and updated the house while keeping its old character.

In the past decade, Whitestown has become a suburban boomtown. Fields where tractors turned the soil just a few years ago now bustle with bulldozers and new construction.


IBF has seen dramatic growth in interest and membership in the past couple of years. For most of its short existence, its membership was around 200. That number doubled to 400 in the past year, as has applications for grants. “This year, we had a sea change in grant applications,” Yeager said. “It makes our task much more difficult, twice as difficult, in determining who was going to get a grant.”

“What's wrong with it? Is it haunted? Is it on a burial ground? Is it gonna implode? …” Andy said. “Is there something horribly wrong with the updates? People aren’t wanting to take the risk?” Gwen added.

Hanover College biology professor Darrin Rubino takes a core sample of a barn timber to figure out the age of the wood.

Andy Bell drove from his home in Whitestown in Boone County down to Martinsville for IBF’s annual meeting and barn tour in July. It was the first IBF event he’d participated in since joining a year ago. Unlike Robyn with her deep roots to her farm, Andy, 36, and his wife Gwen, 35, had no family attachment to their acre and a half and barns until they bought the lot in 2021. Along with the Queen Anne/ Victorian style farmhouse and garage came two old barns they didn’t know what they’d do with.

Around the time of IBF’s beginning, many of the same individuals involved in the foundation helped encourage the Indiana General Assembly to adopt a property tax deduction for heritage barns. By removing the assessed tax, the hope was more barns would be saved.

Staying true

South toward Indianapolis are new retail centers, professional buildings, restaurants, and more. That farm on the north end of Whitestown was also sold to a developer. A gridded sea of curving streets and cul-de-sacs, roundabouts, and retention ponds, prepared the way for new homes that are sprouting up like young shoots of corn in spring — except for the lot with the Queen Anne house and barns. That lot, the landowner hoped to sell to a family that would preserve its integrity. He found that buyer with the Bells.

Andy, who works in technology in downtown Indianapolis, and Gwen, an administrator with Noblesville schools, loved the unique circa-1900 two-story home with the wrap-around porch and asymmetrical gables when they first saw it. It had exposed dark hardwoods Gwen especially loved and antique charm. It had the large lot. It had updated electrical wiring, kitchen, and bathrooms. And the price was right — selling just before the real estate market went bonkers. But it had sat on the market for 300 days, so they were a little suspicious.

Kent Yeager, president of IBF, shows off a core sample removed from a timber.

Coming home

They waited for the inspection results. The inspector's only comment: “It’s an old house.It will have some issues.” But he noted no corners were cut on the updates; everything was done well. The only mark the real estate agent said it had against it was the open farmland around it would soon become suburban neighborhoods. That didn’t faze the Bells. In fact, it meant the children they hoped to have — the first, Henry Preston, expected to arrive in mid-August (just as this issue went to press) — would have a neighborhood of other kids to play with and a big yard and barns they could all hang out in. And with Whitestown’s growing amenities, they could see themselves putting down deep “Onceroots.webought

Robyn Thompson’s outlook on staying true to her family’s land improved after attending an Indiana

creating studio space for Gwen who was an art teacher before becoming an administrator. She paints and creates pottery and is a classically trained musician on violin and piano. They also envision using the loft as office space. But with the cost involved and the baby on the way, they decided those plans will have to wait. In the meantime, they plan to clean it up and make sure it remains That’ssound.what brought Andy to IBF’s annual meeting where he learned more about his barn and made contacts with other barn owners. “You can tell they’re just such advocates for the restoration and the history and just being stewards of old barns. I’m obsessed with our big barn. But it’s such a tall order.”

the house, I was tinkering around in the barn,” noted Andy. “I was like, ‘I don't know what I'm doing. This is awesome, but there's a lot going on here.’” That’s when he found the Indiana Barn Foundation online and joined. “I want to restore it, I want to keep its original charm, but I want to make it Thefunctional.”twohave toyed with the idea of someday opening a hybrid coffee shop/antiques shop in the big barn or

Continued on page 26


Robyn has since become IBF’s Morgan County representative, creating a Facebook page and sharing information with others. For all the love the siblings have for the legacy that has tied them to their family’s land, they agree critical Gwen and Andy Bell's 1900-era farmhouse came with two old barns. What had been the farm fields behind them are now being developed into housing subdivisions.

The Bells intend to keep as much of the original look and feel as they can to their house and barns. “That's a recurring theme,” Andy said. “We just want to stay true to the land.”

Landmarks Foundation seminar and joining IBF. “I came back with fresh eyes. Our barn was actually better than I thought it was. I felt much more hopeful. We had a plan of attack on how to get it back to its former glory,” she Theysaid.ridthe barn of varmints, made repairs to its structure, added new fencing to the barn lot, and then brought in new tenants — goats. They learned livestock help reduce the freeze-thaw cycle that had damaged the foundation when the barn sat empty. The goats act as a passive mowing system for the barn lot, too. They also added a farm dog — a Great Pyrenees — to protect the goats and keep groundhogs away. Her brother, Bryan, suggested they plant hay to sell, use as feed for the goats, and store in the lofts to keep them from being empty, another takeaway from the seminars on the care and feeding of an old barn.


For tickets: visit; or decisions loom on the horizon. The Thompsons will soon be empty nesters, and their children plan to live elsewhere. “We’re still young,” Robyn said. “But we're starting to feel it. We put that hay up the other day, and we were exhausted. I don't know that I want to do that much longer.” Inside the farmhouse hangs a fading yellow and stained photo from the 1890s of her ancestors posed in front of the 1874 barn. The ancestors, staring out from the past, seem to cast a stern and stony sideways glance whenever she thinks of moving on. “I cannot look at that photo and not feel some level of guilt,” she said. “They're so proud. You can feel it in that photo.”

The Indiana Barn Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, is a network of barn enthusiasts supporting barn preservation. Through its associations with National Barn Alliance, Indiana Landmarks, and barn experts, IBF offers preservation workshops, barn tours, educational and grant opportunities, updates and info on relevant legislation, and a quarterly newsletter.


Daviess County is the site of Indiana Barn Foundation’s 2022 Barn Tour, Saturday, Sept. 24, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Join barn enthusiasts in touring a variety of historic barns, including the 1908 T.C. Singleton Round Barn which serves as host. See the stunning craftsmanship, hear about their histories, and learn from a preservation expert how to assess a barn’s rehabilitation needs. Make it a weekend experience by attending a special event on Sept. 23, featuring dinner inside the Singleton Round Barn and a presentation by award winning author and photographer John Hanou.

To join or learn more information, go to:, or on; email:; or write to the Indiana Barn Foundation, 1201 Central Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46202.

Bryan, who works for a utility in Indianapolis and lives in Greenwood, has just started taking a greater interest in the farm and the family legacy. At 43, he and his wife, Katie, just recently added to the long lineage of girls in the family. They are parents of toddler triplets, Madelyn, Gwendolyn and Evelyn, who are approaching 2. Bryan said he wants his girls to feel at home on the farm. Maybe one of them, or all three, he muses, will carry the farm into the next generation.

“We’re in suburbia primarily because of the school systems and all that,” he said. “But I want them to have the same experiences I had growing up: being able to run for hours and not see the same thing twice; being able to go play in the creek or in the barn lofts. It would be a lot easier to just pack up, sell everything off. But there's so much family history here that it just wouldn't feel right. This is still always home.” Whether a historic barn stays in a family and continues supporting the working farm, or is in the hands of a new keeper and finds a new or different lease on life, the Indiana Barn Foundation is there to help.

IBF makes sure a barn has a place and means to continue preserving Indiana’s agricultural heritage, telling stories of families and farms of the past, and making memories for future generations.

Continued 25


from page

Triplets, from left, Evelyn, Gwendolyn and Madelyn Bunton check out the goats on the family’s farm.

Richard G. Biever is senior editor of Indiana Connection.


T his summer, Hoosier Energy became the first generation and transmission cooperative in the country to receive the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Certificate of Inclusion (COI) to join the Candidate Conservation Agreement with Assurances (CCAA) for the monarch

Thebutterfly.butterfly’s migratory path and habitat go through the heart of Hoosier Energy’s service territory. If the monarch were to be listed under the Endangered Species Act, this voluntary agreement assures there will be no conservation requirements beyond those provided for in the TheCCAA.International Union for Conservation of Nature added the migratory monarch butterfly to its Red List of Threatened Species as endangered in late July. However, that list is not related to the U.S. Endangered Species Act and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has not yet listed the butterfly as endangered. But the decision to list the monarch as threatened or endangered could come as early as the 2024 fiscal year.

Hoosier Energy joins East Central Energy, a distribution cooperative in Braham, Minnesota, as the only two electric co-ops to enroll in the CCAA so Thefar.certification process of nearly two years requires investment in significant conservation activities and support from the board and management, but Hoosier Energy sees the effort as worthwhile. Enrollment in the CCAA “validates what we have done and gives us confidence moving forward,” Appel said. “But the greatest benefit is regulatory certainty.”


“With the certificate of inclusion, we will know what to expect,” said Dave Appel, Hoosier Energy’s environmental team lead. “Even if the monarch is listed, we will not be subject to any greater regulation than what the COI requires.”

28 SEPTEMBER 2022 Hoosier Energy news


“Most of the conservation measures in our agreement are things that we were already doing, so it wasn’t a big shift for us to meet the requirements of the CCAA,” said Jared Murphy, vegetation management coordinator at Hoosier Energy.

The CCAA also recognized Hoosier Energy’s integrated vegetation management methods. Herbicide is applied only to woody-stemmed plants that pose the greatest risk of interrupting electrical service in rights of way. That allows for minimal disturbance to the monarch habitat.

The monarch butterfly’s migratory corridor ranges from Texas through the Midwest and into Canada, and concern has grown for the future of the species due to its steadily decreasing population.

SLOW THE FLOW Believe it or not, 2% of your home’s heat loss comes from your electrical outlets, and that adds up over time. Try an outlet shield (the kind used to babyproof homes) to keep air from escaping through those small holes. Turn off the airflow on your register vents in rooms you’re not using. Go a step further by covering them up with magnetic vent covers. If your floor register vents are located directly beneath a window, attach curved air deflectors to direct warm air out farther into a room for more efficient heating. WITH THE PROGRAM A digital




These are where your home loses the most heat, so start by tackling the tiny gaps and cracks around them. Install new weatherstripping — even around your garage door — and add a door sweep to stop drafts on uneven thresholds. If you don’t have a storm door, consider installing one as an extra layer of insulation that also protects your front door from the elements. If that’s outside of your budget, there are less costly ways to stop the heat loss. First, check for drafts with the flame test. Carefully move a lighter or candle flame around the edges of doors and windows, and if it flickers, you’ve got a draft. Remove old, cracked caulk and apply fresh product for a new seal. Larger gaps in unfinished construction may require expanding insulating foam. Don’t forget about window trim — it should be tight to your drywall, so add caulk if necessary.

do-it-yourself SEPTEMBER 2022 29

VISIT YOUR LOCAL DO IT BEST STORE OR DOITBEST.COM for thousands of the best home improvement products, including supplies for weatherproofing your home. by Brandon Juergens Brandon Juergens’ family owns Juergens Do it Best Hardware in Huntington. The Juergenses are member-owners of Do it Best, a Fort Wayne-based cooperative of thousands of hardware stores, home centers and lumberyards throughout the U.S. and around the world. (This article is for informational purposes only. Indiana Connection and Do it Best Corp. assume no liability for the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein, or for injuries, property damage, or the outcome of any project.)

In unused rooms, try a simple window insulating kit that uses a clear, plastic film tightly stretched over windows.

Autumn is a great time to prepare your home for the colder weather headed our way. Winterize your home with our easy DIY tips that will help keep your living spaces cozy and energy bills lower.

INSULATION Walls and ceilings are also big contributors to heat loss. We all know that heat rises, so make sure your attic spaces have sufficient insulation. Install just a few rolls of fiberglass insulation batting for a quick DIY fix. However, we’d suggest calling the pros for blownin wall insulation or vinyl siding replacement. Less permanent forms of wall insulation are fabric, vinyl, or cellular window shades. They trap and block cool air from exposed windows and similarly block the sun’s rays from heating up your home in the summer.

A 2019 survey of pet owners and veterinarians suggests about 60 percent of cats are overweight or obese, a statistic that hasn’t budged in recent years.

By most estimates, well over half of all cats in the United States are overweight.

“There are so many different diets available to pet owners that it can be overwhelming,” Pavlovsky notes. His broad advice is to choose a reputable brand that has veterinary nutritionists on staff. He also says the life stage of the food should be right for the age of the animal; for example, a kitten should be eating a specifically labeled “kitten food,” and an adult cat should eat a diet designed for adults.

As always, if you have any questions about your pet’s health, contact your veterinarian.

The problem of felinesoverweight

Though overweight pets are a very common problem, it’s one that can be resolved. Love and affection can be given in other ways than food, such as through interaction and training.


“Owners need to remember that any other food — human table scraps or treats — that their pet gets adds calories to the diet,” Pavlovsky says. It is important to use consistent treat brands vs. switching between brands to avoid stomach upset, and calories from treats should make up less than 10% of the diet.

Check the bag Owners should also look for an Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) statement on the bag. This ensures that the food follows the rules and is complete and Thebalanced.amount to feed listed on the pet food bag gives a good starting point, but is based on the pet’s ideal weight, not the weight it currently is.


“Itrecommendations.isvitaltonotjust reduce the amount of food that a pet is fed,” Pavlovsky says. Simply reducing the food may create problems for its internal organs.

Cat owners who see their pet every day may not notice kitty has gained weight says Dr. Gene Pavlovsky, a small animal veterinarian at the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine. But owners will often notice the cat is slowing down as it ages or that it is limping. Both of these signs can be exacerbated by weight gain, he says. “Increased weight gain often doesn’t allow them to groom themselves properly or use their litter box,” Pavlovsky adds. As a result, fat cats may have an unkempt coat and the owners may notice inappropriate urination and defecation just outside the litter box.

The cat could struggle going up and down steps to reach its food or litter box or to get outside. It may also struggle jumping into bed. If a pet owner notices any of these signs, it is important to seek the advice of a veterinarian on how to safely put the cat on a weight-loss program. The veterinarian will make sure that there aren’t any other health issues with the pet and make

To determine your cat’s body fat, during its annual physical exam the veterinarian will feel the ribs for how much fat is covering them. At an ideal weight, the ribs should be easily felt without pressing too firmly. The vet will also check the cat from the side, looking for an abdominal fat pad.

connectionWeight/health Pavlovsky explains that there are several proven connections between weight gain in pets and their health. Overweight pets are more likely to develop diabetes and orthopedic diseases. Mobility issues can also lead to reductions in both quality of life and life expectancy.