Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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There were barns

I started my trip ‘up north’ under slate grey, flat and uninteresting skies. Kind of sad actually, especially since I was going north to attend a photography workshop. November has arrived and we’re headed straight into winter.

But at a rest stop, about halfway to my destination the skies changed. To my west was sunshine and light clouds. To my east the dark sky remained. I was in farm country, and the barns and fields were glowing in the sunshine, still set against the dark skies.

I argued with myself. I have enough photos of barns. There are never enough photos of barns. I can take my time on my drive home Sunday, and there will be pretty things then. There’s no reason to rush today and the light will never ever be the same again.

I was hungry, my stomach growling and I had considered stopping at the next exit to look for food. But there was this barn just the other way up the road.

Guess you know which way I turned.

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Cee’s Black & White Challenge: All Things Farm Related

My mom grew up on a farm and I’ve been back to visit only a couple of times in many years.

Some of the barns on the farm where my mother grew up.

The farm remains in the family, and the current owner, my cousin, takes remarkable care of all the buildings.

Corn crib with tractors.

I remember spending time on the farm when I was a young kid. Exploring the barns, hanging out in the corn crib. Riding the tractors with my uncle.

Antique tractor.

Tools still hang in my grandfather’s shop. I never spent any time there, we were forbidden from exploring it, and it seemed kind of scary.

Tools hanging where grandpa or uncle left them decades ago.

The farm is a special place and I’m glad it’s still in the family, though it’s a huge responsibility and a lot of work to take care of it.

Time keeps rolling along.

I miss so many people that used to work or live on the farm. Sometimes I think I can see them just around that next barn corner.

Which way did they go?


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Cloud chaser

I was focused on something else, turned around and this was behind me.


Yesterday the sky was facinating; blue sky filled with huge black, white, navy and grey clouds. I thought about those yellow soybean fields I’d seen on my drive home from our latest camping adventure. I thought about housework that needed to be done.

I thought about it for approximately 2.4 seconds.

And then I picked up my camera, wrote a note to my husband and hit the road with no particular destination in mind. Well. I did think I might head right back toward the campground, but that was three hours away, and the clouds were moving fast. I was worried I’d miss the dramatic sky if I stuck to the freeway and drove for that long.

See that dark streak of clouds? When I first saw that it was right over the silos. Stunning!

So at my first opportunity I exited and began to wander those back country roads. It was a part of the state I’ve explored like this before, and I always figure I’ll end up with the same images over and over, but I never end up in exactly the same place.

Looks stormy, but it never rained.

I guess that’s the benefit of miles and miles of farmland and the big open spaces that I love.

Harvest time.

Good thing the car tells you which direction you’re going, because some of the time I could have sworn I was going east when I was going north. I’ve learned a long time ago to trust technology, but even so eventually I wasn’t sure where I was.

I ended up in a town with houses like this…

Pretty stupendous architecture.

…and this.

Summer flowers still going strong.

Pretty. I stopped to check my map (yes paper maps are still useful!) and to walk around a little. Then back on the road.

I was looking for that elusive soybean field. But instead of bright yellow I kept seeing acres of brown. The plants were about shin high, totally brown and I couldn’t tell what they were.

What IS this?

When I had a safe place to stop and look more closely I pulled over.

Looks like a bean pod…but???

I still don’t know what they are. Are they soy beans that have totally dried? Or something else? Does anyone know? I should ask my family. They live on farmland and will surely know what this is.

A little sway in that roof line.

Besides soybeans I was chasing the sun. I’d be driving along and the sun would pop out, striking the side of a barn off in the distance. It would be stunning, surrounded as it was with the dark stormy sky.

See that stripe of sun? It was right on that red barn when I pulled over, but by the time I got out of the car it had moved.

By the time I’d find a safe place to stop and get out of the car the sun had moved on. The clouds would shift, moving from their perfect placement, and though still pretty, the shot wouldn’t be as stunning as what I originally saw. The image that caused me to stop would have to remain only in my memory.

I got lucky. While I was standing there the sun struck the side of this barn’s metal roof.

I guess it’s kind of like trying to get that perfect shot of a baby playing, or a dog being cute. It takes some planning and a whole lot of luck.

Eventually I just stopped trying to catch that perfect moment, and enjoyed them as I saw them, driving cris cross along the country roads. I wished I had some sort of tracker on the car so I could see, later, what my route looked like.

A classic.

It would have been crazy. I turned around regularly to go back to a barn or a field. Sometimes just because. I know I went around several country blocks and at least once I wondered if I was driving on a road I had explored just minutes before.

Eventually I crossed a major road and checked the map again. I was all the way up toward Saginaw. It was getting late, so I wandered over to the freeway and headed home.

Did I ever find that red barn sitting in a soybean field? Well…

Red barn, yellow soybeans. Check.

…yes, yes I did. It was just a little field and a little barn, but it was pretty. I’ve found other more stunning examples in other years, and I’ll probably go out once again this year to try again, but I was happy to find this one.

And just look at all the other neat stuff I found while I was searching!

The sound of the dry corn rustling in the wind was special too.


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Stormy barns

I knew a weather front was coming through yesterday afternoon…

Sun still shining on the corn, but dark skies overhead.

…so I headed out to see if I could find some open sky to watch…

White barns glow under rain clouds.

…and if there happened to be some barns around….

Red, green and navy.

…well, so much the better.

An old homestead buried back there.

Guess I got lucky – to the South of me were puffy white clouds…

Still pretty to the south.

…to the North was the storm with brooding dark skies…

Still pretty

…and distant thunder.

Not a barn, but interesting anyway.

It was all oh so pretty.

Amazing sky.


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WordPress Photo Challenge: Earth

When the fields are being tilled, either at harvest or in preparation of spring planting, there are often layers of color and texture.

One of my favorite things to do is head out on a barn search. I’m lucky. No matter which direction I go there’s bound to be an interesting farm sitting in the middle of it’s own patch of earth.

Here, here and here are some pretty interesting interpretations of earth. Or you can go to the original link to see them all. So far. It’s early in the week, there will be more!


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Adventure – Day 5 – the long way home

I should have driven home on day 4; I was planning to go straight home after my two nights at Taquanamon Falls. I was out of food. The tent was wet. The holiday weekend, when campgrounds fill up and traffic gets crazy, was right around the corner.

But I was having too much fun.

So I searched for a State Forest campground to spend one more night, a campground that was sort of on the way. And I found one, situated along the Munuscong River near Pickford Michigan, still in the Upper Peninsula. After all the rain we’d had the river was wide and muddy.

The river mirrors the weather.

The river mirrors the weather.

There were several families settled into spots along the river. The mosquitoes were in residence there too, so I chose a large grassy site, further away from the river, which enjoyed a stiff breeze. In fact I didn’t slide my $13.00 payment into the secured payment pipe until I got the tent up because I wasn’t sure I’d be able to do that with the considerable wind. But it went up easily. I think it was glad for the opportunity to dry out.

Drying out in the evening sun.

Drying out.

I was glad myself. Everything got hung up and aired out. The site was huge and covered in grass. No mud. Towering pine trees. Perfect.

Even better, I was only two miles from an old barn. A photogenic old barn. So after camp was set up, on my way into town to find food, I stopped. Of course.

Maybe it's the barn.  Maybe it's the setting.  Maybe both.

Maybe it’s the barn. Maybe it’s the setting. Maybe both.

And the next day on my way home I lollygagged. Turns out there’s a lot of farm country between the Upper Peninsula and home. Lots of great barns. And that day there was a stunning sky filled with puffy white clouds that begged me to stop and attempt a capture.

Wheat field, clouds and a barn.

Wheat field, clouds and a barn.

So I did. In fact I stopped several times. Seems every exit I took there was something beautiful to enjoy.

Pretty spot on a pretty day.

Pretty spot on a pretty day.

Barns. Barns everywhere. Long, straight country roads crossing flat country with farms tucked in behind nearly every stand of trees.

Tucked way back there among the trees was a beautiful barn.

Tucked way back there among the trees was a beautiful barn.

Along one country road I met a couple of friends. They had come out of the woods and were walking down a lane.

This is OUR field lady!

This is OUR field lady!

They were not that excited to see me. After a long stare they turned and bounded back toward the woods.

Run!  She's got a CAMERA!

Run! She’s got a CAMERA!

Soon they were almost hidden from view.

I don't think she can see us now.

I don’t think she can see us now.

They made me smile.

But…back to barns.

Nice and square.  With hawk.

Nice and square. With hawk.

There were so many pretty places to stop.

Barns and clouds - winning combination.

Barns and clouds – winning combination.

I could have stayed out there all day. Wait. I did. What a gift retirement is! Time to play along the way home. Time to enjoy a beautiful sky and ripening wheat fields, meadows of wildflowers, soaring birds, bounding deer.

A fence can't contain the beauty.

A fence can’t contain the beauty.

And so ends this adventure. The camping gear is packed away. Katie the dog has forgiven me for leaving her behind. Husband has listened to the stories. The laundry is done, gardens weeded, groceries purchased, meals cooked. I’m going to visit Aunt V this afternoon.

Life has settled back into the familiar pattern. Adventures are, after all, only adventures if they are occasional. Sporadic.

Still…stay tuned.

Another pretty barn.

One last pretty barn.


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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Buildings

You know my favorite buildings to photograph are barns. So when Cee sent out a challenge for black and white photos of buildings I knew I needed to look at my barn archive. Especially since I have recent barn photos that you haven’t seen.

While I was up north I spent a day driving through the orchards and farmlands in the center of the peninsula. There were a lot of great barns, and someday I’ll do a post about them and show you more, but for right now enjoy this one. Tucked into the hill it was home to several cows that viewed me suspiciously when I stopped to take a photo.

Cow house.

Cow house.

And you might get a kick out of this barn which is located closer to where I live. There’s an organization here that is trying to preserve old barns. And Kid Rock does live around here. So I guess they were hoping for a donation.

Kid's house?

Kid’s house?

Just down the road is this relatively small horse barn. I always look over at it as I head into town. There are three really big horses that live here, and I look to see if they are out and about. The other day all three were lined up in front of their barn and today I was hoping they’d be doing that again. Not so lucky today. Still, it’s a cute little barn and at least a couple of the residents hung out for me long enough to snap this.

Horse house.

Horse house.

You can see other people’s interpretations of “buildings” over at Cee’s original post.

I think another fun way to approach this challenge would be to head into the city. There are some interesting buildings there, but time is fleeting and I don’t think I’ll get down there soon enough. What buildings do you have around you that would convert to black and white and retain their interest? Share them with us!

Thanks Cee!


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Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge: Faraway

I went on a photo hunt earlier this week, looking for my favorite things…barns. Turns out it was a rainy, misty, windy, cold day and I barely got out of the car. I wasn’t looking specifically for Cee’s ‘faraway’ challenge, but heading back home I realized many farms are photogenic from faraway.

So just before I hit the city freeway I snapped this farm, off across the field, in the misty faraway.

On a farm far, far away...

On a farm far, far away…

I like the black and white combined with farmland; it lends a vintage feel.

I’d go out and see what else I can find but it hasn’t stopped raining here. I guess that’s better than snow. Right? Because when it starts snowing everything turns black and white!

Thanks Cee, for the challenge!


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Sunday adventure. No dog involved.

Sunday my rambling genes took over and I left the house in early morning.   I took the camera,  not knowing where I was going or what I was looking for.  It wasn’t a pretty day; the skies were grey with low hanging clouds.  Not even interesting low hanging clouds.  Rain threatened.

As usual when my heart is tugging me toward the road I headed north for awhile.  After an hour or so I knew I was in farm country and headed west on a smaller highway.  I saw the soybean fields were turning yellow and then I knew what I’d be looking for.

You guessed it.

Red barn, green roof, yellow field.

Red barn, green roof, yellow field.

Barns in fields of yellow soybeans. (Make sure you click on the photos to get all the detail.)

Along the way I also saw other stuff, some of which I even stopped to photograph.  Those will have to be displayed in future blogs.  Because this one is about barns and yellow soybean fields.

Red barn...yellow field.

Red barn…yellow field.

Of course some of the best photos I have only in my mind as there was nowhere to stop.  I was usually out on a freeway thinking “DARN!  There’s another great shot!”  But when I got off the freeway and meandered down dirt roads I found plenty of picturesque stuff.

Yep.  It’s another barn in a soybean field.  Pretty, isn’t it!

Ummm...red barn...you got the rest...

Ummm…red barn…you’ve got the rest…

Obviously I thought so.

Not red barn, but yellow field.

Not a red barn, but still pretty.