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Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Sign of Skadeland History: New barn quilt is built with help from the past

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

This hand-painted barn quilt was recently added to the barn on the Skadeland family Century Farm south of Larrabee. Photo by Katie Carnes
On the Skadeland family farm, a few miles south of Larrabee, the barn was recently adorned with a bright new, beautifully painted barn quilt, a brand new addition to the building on the Century Farm.

But this is no ordinary barn quilt.

This hand-painted square was built based on the memories of the past. Each piece of the sign holds special meaning and is connected to the farm that has been a part of the Skadeland family since 1899.

The quilt is adorned with a big, bright sun rising over a sloping, lush green hillside. A large rooster stands proudly in front of the sun, and two ears of corn flank its sides, reaching toward the top of the square.

Like every piece of the quilt, the rooster holds a special family connection. First, some farm history is necessary to catch all the connections.

Ole and Annie Skadeland, from a strong Scandinavian heritage, planted the Skadeland family roots on the farm outside of Larrabee. Their grandson, Jim Nelson, currently works and lives on the family farm where the barn quilt is displayed.

The quilt square itself was painted primarily by Beverly Emert, a granddaughter of Ole and Annie, with the help of her siblings Marjie, Gary, Jim and Gail.

The group of grandchildren took their inspiration from Annie Skadeland for the most prominent part of the sign, the rooster. The striking symbol is a replica of a rooster pencil sketch drawn by Annie in the early 1900s. Enlarged and with a few added tail feathers, the Skadeland family tried to duplicate the rooster on the quilt square from the sketch.

Above the rooster are the words "Sunny Slope Farm" another connection to the family's past. The small slogan can now be found on two places on the farm, on the new barn quilt and also inscribed in the oldest building on the farm. The family believes that Victor Skadeland, a son of Ole and Annie, etched the words into that building sometime around 1911.

The bottom of the sign contains the words "Skadeland 1899" painted in bold letters, proudly displaying the name of the family who have worked the land for more than 110 years.

Although it may not be based on the traditional log cabin, postage stamp, or pinwheel quilting patterns, this barn quilt is surrounded by stories of history and family. It also makes a beautiful new addition to a farm full of tradition.

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