That red barn

Jared Ostrem said a barn in beautiful condition helped draw his family to this Stanhope-area farmstead.

“I appreciate barns a lot, so when we bought this place it was a big draw for me,” Jared Ostrem said, adding, “It’s got to be red.” He's pictured here with his Stanhope-area barn.

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in a publication called Barns, which was inserted into the Daily Freeman-Journal’s sister publication Farm News on November 24.

STANHOPE — Jared and Janie Ostrem were looking for a place to raise their family when they came upon a farmstead south of Stanhope that Jared seemed to quickly know was “the one.”

“I appreciate barns a lot, so when we bought this place it was a big draw for me,” Ostrem said.

Gary and Linda Erickson had owned the place for several years previously and used the barn for hog production. It was in good shape, and it was even the right color.

“It’s got to be red,” Ostrem said simply.

Ostrem grew up in the area and much of his family is still farming nearby. While he left the farm to work in ag business, the couple knew this was where they wanted to raise their family.

“That’s what brought us back here,” Ostrem said. “I wanted my kids to have the opportunity to grow up in the country and be exposed to agriculture.”

Indeed, this is a family that works together on this busy acreage. Son Mason and daughters Brynn and Amanda are active in 4-H and FFA, and Amanda was even crowned the 2023 Hamilton County Fair Queen.

Far from being an empty shell, this barn is a working facility. It is home to hogs and cats and even a miniature horse that wanders in when called.

“That’s our money-eater,” Ostrem said of Loki, the miniature horse. “It serves no purpose but to be friendly.”

And friendly it is, nosing its way in to be petted by a new visitor. Loki seems to be a good ambassador for the barn as a whole.

The barn had been well-maintained, with a pig grow-out area to the east.

“It still has the original wood in it and some original wood pieces, so we wanted to protect it as good as we could,” Ostrem explained.

There was new metal siding already on part of the barn, and he finished the remaining area with additional new siding. A steel roof keeps the barn dry so that it will continue to last for years to come.

“They must have redone the floor in the barn,” Ostrem explained. “Everything was stabilized for the grow-out area.”

Much of the barn’s interior had been opened up to allow space for more hogs. But since Ostrem only raises a few show pigs, he began closing it up a little more, creating smaller rooms, and adding insulation.

“We closed things in a little because we’re not growing pigs on a large scale and we wanted it a little warmer in here,” he said.

He is converting many of the areas and adding farrowing rooms to keep the sows comfortable. Buford’ is the boar who serves as eye candy for the sows that then receive AI. He’s a Yorkshire who is uncommonly friendly and tame as boars go.

Ostrem is expecting at least four sows to farrow early this winter, and is hoping for a fifth one, but remains concerned about the success of the AI for that one. Ostrem said it’s just a small operation for show pigs, but he would like to grow it a little bit.

The barn is just one of several busy outbuildings on the farmstead.

There are two old farrowing houses that date perhaps to the 1970s, but are still in good shape, each with a solid roof. Ostrem has three horses — including Loki, a pony and a quarter horse — in one barn, along with a few dog kennels and some ducks. The other old farrowing house he is converting into a workshop and storage area.

The barn was eye candy itself for Ostrem and helped draw this family to a place and a community that they love to call home. After all, it’s not really all about hogs or horses, it’s about family for the Ostrems.

“It’s a small community and it’s nice,” Ostrem said. “It’s a good place to grow kids.”


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