You guys, it turns out I can't restore that barn after all. I was all full of piss and vinegar yesterday so I called a local contractor to get a quote for my building restoration project. The guy came out and he was really friendly, but he repeated the same thing that our dads and everyone else has told us: tear it down. And here's the thing: I kind of already knew that was what we had to do. I guess I just needed to hear it from an expert to accept that answer.
The building has simply been neglected for so long that there's not enough left to save. It's a damned shame. The best we can do is start fresh and try to preserve the bricks for re-use on the new exterior. And we WILL rebuild it--some day--but my pygmy goat dreams have been deferred by several years.
Not to be stymied, I planted our modest kitchen garden this morning. The bushy plants and lone iris were already there and we left them alone when we pulled all the weeds. I put in Home Depot-brand tomato and bell pepper seedlings and the strawberries we kept from the old house. Then I spread seeds for cucumbers, pumpkins, and carrots. Yum... I'm already getting hungry!