Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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Escape to the lake side

Here it is Saturday already, and I’ve inadvertently left you hanging on my last two posts. Wednesday many of you wanted to know, “What IS that?”

What??

and in the post before that you wondered where I went on my little mini adventure.

From a crispy but beautiful morning.

Both posts were related to the same adventure I was inspired to take last weekend, on our one completely sunny day so far this year. After so much rain, snow and dark skies I eagerly set out early Saturday morning anticipating bright blue skies and endless sun, looking for something magnificent to photograph.

But, as those of you who have been reading know, I got tangled up in beautiful frost before I made it more than a couple miles away from the house. Not a bad thing, you understand, but it certainly slowed me down.

So nice to see sunlight!

My first stop was Katie’s park right in my own town, where the tall grasses were shining. The Wordless Wednesday post was in the parking lot there, a car had driven over the unplowed lot, probably the day before, and then deer had crossed that track. In the early morning light what was concave appeared to be convex and I couldn’t resist capturing the image.

As to where I went next? Well, I had no destination in mind, and even though the sky was bright blue and there was still a little snow on the ground, as I drove nothing in particular caught my eye. So I kept going.

Surely I can find pretty stuff on a day like this!

Eventually I found myself half way to my favorite lake, so I went for it and headed for Warren Dunes State Park, someplace I’ve always wanted to visit.

I’ve always liked images of sand and snow. Blue sky doesn’t hurt either.

It’s down near the Michigan/Indiana border, quite near Chicago. I didn’t know what to expect, but the first sight of the giant dune sure made me smile.

It’s a long way to the top.

I watched families as they trudged up the dune or ran back down. Everyone was having a lot of fun on a chilly but sunny Saturday afternoon.

A long line of trees led to the water.

Of course I couldn’t be at Lake Michigan and not walk on the beach, even though the sun was beginning to descend and the shadows were growing longer.

Pretty patterns.

So I headed down the beach, just for a bit, so that I could say hello to my lake. There weren’t many people out there, the wind was picking up and my fingers were chilled. But I know there’s always something pretty to photograph when you’re walking on a Great Lakes beach.

A chilly afternoon on a beautiful beach.

And of course there was.

Ripples in the sand, driftwood, and the brilliant sky.

Soon enough, though, I knew I should head for home. I hadn’t seen the St. Joseph lighthouse, something I really hoped I would have time for, but it was 30 minutes further south, the wrong direction. I checked to see what lighthouses might be north of me and found one near Saugatuck, not so far away. I put it in my phone and headed out.

Not real, but still pretty.

Turns out it was a replica of a lighthouse, tiny, being used for educational purposes. But it was still photogenic. As was the giant tug boat moored next to it.

All prettied up in festive holiday colors.

It wasn’t what I was hoping for, but what the heck, it was still an adventure, so after a couple shots I headed toward where I thought the freeway to home should be.

I was wrong, and ended up lost in Holland, which turns out to have several murals painted on the sides of it’s downtown businesses. I only stopped for one, because it had a parking lot where I could park and get my bearings, study the map, and set a true course for home.

One mural in Holland, there were more.

Early that morning I set out to find some barns, always a goal of mine on any adventure. I didn’t find any on the way over to the lake, not because they weren’t there, I suppose, but because my heart needed something more.

The last light of day made the barns glow.

Satisfied by a visit to my lake, I found several, all red, on my trip back home.

Worth stopping for.

Since last Saturday we haven’t had another day that was all sunny. No bright blue sky, no warming rays.

Just waiting for me to find it.

But I know we will again someday. And I hope, when the sun shines, I’ll be off on another adventure.

There’s always my lake.

You just never know where or when.

Every sunset promises a new tomorrow.


48 Comments

Comfort music

Christmas is right around the corner, and people are talking about how they’re not ready, have so much more to do, cooking, shopping, wrapping. I smile in sympathy but I don’t really get it. Especially this year.

This barn and other outbuildings are on land that is for sale, zoned commercial. So it won’t be here for much longer. I’m glad I got an image to preserve it.

Even without covid my family is small and doesn’t travel that much. We don’t do so much for Christmas anymore, though Thanksgiving is a big deal. I mailed the couple of boxes I needed to more than a week ago. I bought the ingredients for our simple Christmas supper last week.

The barns on this particular barn hunt came in many colors.

The thing I’m looking forward to most is a Christmas nap. I wonder if that shows my age? Still, it can get a little sad when the world seems hyped up and you aren’t. So yesterday I decided to go out looking for a few barns. Sort of a comfort photo hunt of sorts.

Not something you see every day, a blue barn.

And along the way I listened to XM radio, station 73, Traditional Holiday, humming along to music that my folks would have listened to back in the 50s, and some that we listed to in the 60s and 70s too.

I liked the red tractor in front of this red barn. I turned around to get it.

I remember my mom commenting that she wished they played Christmas music for awhile after the big day because she didn’t have time before it to listen. I feel lucky that I have all the time in the world to enjoy these oldies.

I want to go back when the light is better and see if I can figure out what was painted on this barn.

People like Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, Mel Torme, Dean Martin, Nat King Cole, Eartha Kitt, Perry Como, Bing Crosby, Peggy Lee, Rosemary Clooney and Jo Stafford, groups like The Four Seasons and The Supremes, instrumentals from the likes of The London Pops, Percy Faith and Oscar Peterson.

It was a gray and rainy day. This farm seemed to sit so naturally in the landscape.

I heard so many pieces that we’ve played at our own holiday concerts, and I could imagine, and remember what it felt like to play again. The music did what music is intended to do, lifted my spirts and I arrived home after a couple of hours of Christmas music and barns smiling.

My favorite capture. A photogenic green barn!

I hope you are all smiling too, no matter what your holidays will look like. Here’s to spending time together, in person if it’s safe, virtually if it’s not. And here’s to looking forward to 2021. May it bring us all more smiles than frowns.

Classic


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A little barn magic

A few weeks ago husband and I were over near Lansing Michigan picking up a leftover campaign sign and I noticed the area was full of beautiful barns. And me with no camera. So I vowed that one day I’d go back and see what I could gather for my collection.

Yesterday was sunny, and I didn’t have any commitments, so it seemed like the perfect barn collecting kind of day.

On the way over there I passed a barn I showed you last summer. It was so pretty in the morning light that I had to stop and grab another couple shots. I’m sure you won’t mind seeing it again either.

This is one of my favorite barns because it’s off by itself and it has this tree and photogenic fence. Plus there’s somewhere safe to park.

The hardest thing about hunting for barns is that you might see them, off across a field, or down a road, but there’s often no safe place to park. I love lonely dirt roads where you have time to park on the road, stand just outside your car and grab a shot before anyone else comes along.

Yesterday wasn’t like that.

No, yesterday almost all the roads were paved, and some of them were way too busy to be stopping. No shoulders either, though I generally don’t like parking on the shoulders of a busy road and will forgo the image if that’s the only parking option.

But some roads, though paved, were totally empty. And it helped that I was out there early, searching for the morning light, before too many people were up and about.

Sometimes the whole farm, shot from across their field, and on a side road, is pretty too.

I love farms. Even when I can’t get the shot I am always glad I saw it.

I caught the morning light glinting off this orange equipment out of the corner of my eye. I turned around and went back for it.

But I’m also aware these are people’s homes and maybe they wouldn’t be happy to have a barn stalker driving back and forth in front of their property. Not sure how they’d feel about me parking in their driveway and walking down their lane to get a better angle.

So I don’t do that.

Sometimes all I can get is a quick, crooked shot almost out of the frame, fixable once I get home.

I guess most people would be happy that someone found their barns, mostly old and sometimes falling down, beautiful. But I don’t know how I’d answer the question, “What are you going to do with the picture?” if they asked. Because the answer really is, ‘nothing, I just like looking at them.”

This was on a dirt road, with manicured lawn all around the outbuildings.

I do. Last night I made a slide show out of several images I’ve taken over the years and sat quite contentedly watching them go by. I can’t remember where some of them were, but I sure like looking at them.

Overgrown by trees, it was still a pretty barn.

Yesterday I could have used a few clouds in the sky to add interest. Some of my favorite barn shots are those with big fluffy white clouds hanging low over red or grey barns. But I had to settle for crystle clear blue sky yesterday.

My favorite barn from yesterday’s adventure, and the reason I went back after seeing it weeks ago.

Oh darn.

This one is hanging on, fighting gravity.

I had fun, spent a few hours driving around in the country, and grabbed a few beautiful barns for my collection.

Barns aren’t always red. This one glowed and I had to go back and forth a few times because it was on a busy road. By then the cows that were in the yard had moved off for breakfast. You’ll have to imagine them there.

Kind of a perfect morning.

All barns are beautiful


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I wish things were easy

Hmmmm…that title makes it seem like this is going to be a deep, heavy conversation about something important.

It’s not.

It’s just that with my new laptop I have a steep learning curve and here’s my latest problem.

A couple weeks ago I took some pictures of my birds (not a surprise) and in particular a juvinile rose breasted grossbeak that was adorable. (I think anyway). And when I went to download those pictures to a specific folder on my laptop I found that some of the numbered images had the same number as older things in that file (maybe a new card, I don’t know) and I panicked and somehow hit something and the new images I just took went somewhere and I have no idea where.

This laptop downloads pretty automatically, I insert the card and it pulls the most recent and not already downloaded images up, I can then cut and paste those into a file of my choice. But once they’ve been downloaded the laptop won’t access them again. It only ever shows me the stuff that’s new.

My old laptop would show me everything on the card regardless of whether it had already been uploaded. Sometimes that was a pain. But sometimes it was handy. Like now.

So I thought about just using the old laptop, finding the image I wanted, uploading that to the old computer and then emailing it to myself for download onto the new computer.

Brilliant, right?

Except the reason I have a new computer is that the hard drive is filled on the old one. And it won’t let me download anything.

So…unless someone has a good idea, and I’m sure there is one out there, I think I have to delete a bunch of stuff on the old computer and then download the picture I want to it.

What do you think? Of course the longer I stall and the more pictures I take, the harder it will be for me to find the one I would like to salvage. So I better get a move on.

If you read all the way to the bottom of this ramble, I’ve posted a picture of a pretty barn as a reward.


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What’s there to smile about?

I think we’re in week 5 of our stay-at-home executive order. Maybe it’s week 6. All the days run together into an endless week highlighted by a trip to the grocery store dolled up in mask and gloves. The order was set to expire at the end of April, but Friday the governor extended it until May 15th. I think that will make it 8 weeks total.

Isn’t this a beautiful barn?

But as she extended it she also loosened it a bit, allowing golf and boating, and letting people go to their up north cabins. Still no nonessential retail stores, though curbside delivery is OK, no sit down restaurants, no movie theaters, no dog groomers, no hair salons. But we can move around more as long as we continue to practice safe distancing.

This one is beautiful too, and there were a bunch of horses in the pasture next to it, but it was on a busy road and I took this through the windshield, no time to compose something better.

So I felt legit driving around in the country, by myself, looking for my favorite things – barns. Getting out and looking for interesting things to photograph isn’t exactly essential to most people. But it’s starting to feel that way to me.

All business on the front, derelict in the back.

I didn’t go far, just barely north and west, far enough to get out of town and into flat farmland, but not so far that I felt like I was taking advantage of any leniency in our guidelines. And not so far that I’d have to fill up at a gas station.

This one was cute.

The sky wasn’t very interesting, there was a storm headed our way and I had hoped for more, but at least it wasn’t raining. And since it was our first day of “freedom” the roads were busier than I’d hoped.

Old wagon compliments old barn.

It’s hard to get pictures of barns if there’s traffic. Finding a great barn that also has parking is nearly impossible. If I’m on empty dirt country roads I can just stop in the middle of the road and grab a shot. Not so easy to do on a paved busy road.

Almost interchangeable with the last one.

Still I got several interesting barns to add to my collection. And yea, I caught you smiling while you looked at these. Barns are almost guaranteed to produce smiles, unless you’re the one that has to muck out the stalls.

So I’ve been told.

I turned around to get this one, loved the patina on it.


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The last smile post of 2019 plus Nancy’s photo challenge: Clouds

You wouldn’t think heavy weather would be the underlying reason for smiles. And unless you have a camera and a habit of watching the sky it probably isn’t.

The first image I got this morning.

This week’s smile comes to you in conjunction with Nancy’s weekly photo challenge where she asked for images of clouds.

I loved the gold of the shorn corn field against the navy of the angry sky.

Today’s post also comes to you compliments of high winds and a cold front that blew through Michigan today. I couldn’t resist grabbing the camera and heading north.

Sentry poles stand against the storm.

I was looking for open fields so that I could highlight the sky. And if I got a barn in the shot – well – that would be even better.

A flash of red had me stopping on the empty rural road.

I was traveling on roads unfamiliar to me, and the land just wasn’t opening up. I traveled through small town after small town, feeling frustrated as the clouds I chased were blowing away faster than I could drive.

And just as I was turning around, heading home, the sun came out.

But I kept driving and eventually I found the country dirt roads lined with big empty fields that I’d been looking for. And lucky me, a whole new batch of clouds obliged by posing over barns and fields alike.

Love the sun on the field and the white clouds overtaking that navy sky.

You can’t keep me from smiling when I’m on the hunt for barns and weather.

Thank you Trent and Nancy, for coordinating challenges that get me out, usually with my camera, but always noticing the world around me. The world is a better place when we stay open to the beauty and the smiles that surround us daily.

Happy New Year everyone!

Farms and clouds, both guaranteed to make me smile!


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Walktober – epic fail

Looking at my calendar it was obvious that yesterday was the only available day between now and the 19th to get my Walktober in. Especially if I wanted to go anywhere further away than my own back yard. Which I do.

So yesterday morning I packed up the camera and headed out to the Shiawasee Nature Preserve, about an hour north of me.

Last year, on the way home from a camping trip without Katie (dogs aren’t allowed at the Preserve) I got there the day after they closed for the season. I’ve been wanting to go back ever since.

This year I figured there’d be few people out there in the middle of the week, but there might be better color in the trees since it was north of me. I was sort of excited about checking it out.

My GPS took me down a couple of wrong roads once I got close, all of them dead ends, but eventually I found the parking lot. And this:

Well darn it all.

So I wound my way home using backroads, getting turned around on detours for construction but not minding too much because that just put me on more back roads with more barns.

Turns out this was a barn photo shoot, more of a Drivetober than a Walktober.

But I have not given up! I am going to find somewhere new to visit, just closer to home as I only have partial days available between now and the deadline.

And I know if I really get backed up against the wall Robin will give me a few more days…just like she’ll give them to you if you haven’t scheduled your Walktober yet. But I hope you have, grab your camera and share something of what fall looks like where you live, then link to Robin’s blog!

I can’t wait to see where you all walk!


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Resolution, bucket list, or….??

As usual this January there’s been a lot of talk about resolutions, bucket lists, and goals. Some people are setting expectations while others are happier letting 2019 evolve organically.

It was 51degrees in January, the sheep were loving the sun.

I’m still contemplating the whole issue.

I definitely don’t like resolutions, have never kept one in my life. But I do think that I would like to have a written idea of things I want to do this year.

Not a cloud in the sky.

Not a ‘to-do’ list per se. But something in writing to remind me of good (or who knows, maybe not so good) ideas. Things that occur to me as I’m reading, or driving, or dreaming, that I might forget over time.

Nothing that I have to do. Just things that I think I’d like to do. Or maybe something I might like to explore. Or even something I just want to research while I decide if it’s bucket list worthy.

Winter can wear a barn down.

Some people object to the term bucket list, inferring it’s a list of things to get done prior to death. I can see that. Maybe I’ll rename it. Maybe it can be “My list of interesting, fun and stupendous stuff to try in 2019.’

Yea. That sounds better.

No snow protects these fields. Yet.

So, what’s going to be on this list of stupendous stuff? I’m still working that out, but it’s beginning to occur to me that it can be ever changing. After all, stupendous doesn’t reveal itself only in January.

Sweet little barn sits alone.

Photos for this post were done today as I was practicing with my new long lens. I didn’t find a lot of barns on this exploration, but enough to get the feel of it.

I’m pretty sure some of my stupendous list will revolve around learning more about what this new camera can do.

And to find more barns.

Sunshine, new camera and barns.


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Trent’s World, the Weekly Smile

Looks like a front is going through.


The day before the midterm elections feels stressful. I feel like I can’t turn the TV on, can’t check social media. Too much conflict, too much negativity.

On my way home from an early morning run to the grocery I noticed dramatic clouds. And me with no camera.

Barns and cloudy skies make me smile.

I hurried home, but the drama was gone by the time I unloaded and put away the groceries.

Still, the sky was interesting. And I was restless.

The seasons are changing, the crops have been harvested.

So off I went, camera in my lap, to see what I might see. Sure it would never be the extraordinary sky I saw earlier. But you never know what you’ll find.

At first I was disappointed, mostly muddy grey skies, not the dramatic navy blue ribbons I’d seen before.

Time to hunker down for winter.

But when I got out of the car on a dirt road to grab a shot of a barn I saw the whole sky above me and actually said out loud – “Wow!”

This was my ‘wow’ moment.

And that inspired me to keep looking. And you know me…

Everywhere you looked was something wonderful.

…looking for barns amid wild skies makes me smile.

Couldn’t resist this one.

What made you smile lately?

Well yes, she makes me smile too.


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The farm connection

The perfect campsite; shade but no mud!


Saturday, August 11 was supposed to be a perfect night to view the annual Perseid meteor shower. I debated where to go to watch the sky light up, while also being close enough to Ann Arbor, a city about an hour south of me, to attend a production of West Side Story with my aunt and out-of-town cousins.

But what was the perfect location?

Why, the farm where my mom grew up; the place I, as a kid, hung out in barns playing with the farm cats, or pretended to drive a tractor down the lane, while sitting on my uncle’s lap.

The backs of some of the barns, across a soybean field.

I have so many special memories of the farm and my grandparents, my aunt and uncle, my cousins.

Morning sun makes the barns glow.

So I was grateful to get permission to camp Saturday and Sunday nights near the back of the farm, in what used to be the orchard. Today it’s a beautiful mowed area with a mulberry tree, beautiful oak trees and a couple of very old pear trees, heavy with fruit. The whole area is surrounded by soybean fields, giving me long vistas to watch the sky.

Morning light on a misty soybean field.

If only the sky would cooperate. I had high hopes as I watched the sun set behind a neighboring barn.

Sunset on the first evening.

Saturday night I saw one meteor, just as I stuck my head out of the tent about 11:00 p.m. I set up the camera and messed with the settings for a bit.

There were more planes than meteors . There are two planes in this shot.

Behind me I could hear thunder. Above me the sky was rapidly becoming cloud covered, the weather front directly overhead.

Clouds begin to encroach on my night.

I ducked back into the tent moments before the first rain hit, and then listened as the storm wound up to pouring rain and gusty winds. At one point I considered running for the car, but figured I’d get soaked just getting out of the tent.

The storm pushed away around 1:30 in the morning and I settled in to sleep. No more sky watching for the rest of that night.

Sunday morning was damp with fog. Everything was dripping but the sunrise was pretty.

Sunrise, spectacular in a quiet sort of way.

I spent the day with visiting cousins, catching up, enjoying meals, and the production of West Side Story.

A pretty nice set for the story of the Jets and the Sharks.

By early evening I was heading back to my camp hoping for a re-do of the night before. It turns out they had rain while I was gone, and steam was rising up from the ground while water dripped from the trees. A little after 9 p.m. I could see ground fog coming my way across the soybean fields. Soon my entire campsite was surrounded in white mist.

Still, the sky seemed clear.

I tried again, but the fog and lights from the city made most of the stars disappear. Mostly what was visible was a planet to the south. So I worked with that for a little bit and then tucked myself into my tent and slept the rest of the night listening to the night noises.

See that planet up there above the tent? There’s a star or two too.

Monday morning arrived dripping wet. I wandered down the lane toward the barns I remember so well. It was early and I didn’t want to disturb the tenants living in the old farmhouse.

Lots of roof lines.

I quietly walked through the wet grass remembering playing in the corn crib, remembering the pigs streaming out of the barn doors, remembering where there once was a watering trough, a fence. A gate.

Ingenuity.

So many memories.

No I didn’t see a lot of meteors shooting across the sky, just three total over the two nights. But that’s alright. As I packed up the soggy tent and headed home, I was grateful for the connection to my mom on her birthday, and grateful for two nights on the farm.

A good couple of nights on the farm.

A big thanks to my cousin for graciously allowing me to camp in the old orchard of the farm he now owns. Thanks to him, too, for keeping the farm in the family and preserving so many memories for all of us.

The whole experience was priceless.

An original fence post.