Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


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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.


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Detouring

I drove over to Katie’s vet this morning to pick up some more flea and tick prevention medicine. She was glad she didn’t have to go with me. I did take my camera as I knew I’d be driving through the country and you just never know what you’ll see.

Almost feels like fall.

I was ambling down the road noticing that the corn here is just starting to tassel which always signals summer winding down to me. On the other hand it also signals the beginning of fresh corn season which is almost good enough to offset the heartache of summer’s demise.

And then suddenly there it was. The road ahead was closed. More road construction and me out in the middle of nowhere. No easy fixes here, I just took the last corner and headed west again when I needed to go east.

Turns out it wasn’t really such a bad deal. I got to see two barns I never would have found.

Time to start putting food away for winter.

This is what’s so fun, for me, about driving into unknown farm territory. You catch just a glimpse of a barn, sometimes a bit of red, or the tip of a roof line and if you’re lucky it turns into a great find.

Caught a glimpse of this one through the trees.

And on my way home I deliberately turned the wrong way…

What’s that way out there?

…and happened to come across a shorn wheat field full of Canadian geese and sandhill cranes.

I pulled over and stood in that field for a long time listening to them squabble over the best eating. The cranes were walking among the geese who were mostly napping. Different groups of cranes were flying at other groups.

This group of 5 was marching toward some sleeping geese.

I tiptoed away after awhile and continued home. What was just a trip to the vet to pick up some pills turned into a mini-adventure for me.

Don’t tell Katie, she’ll be mad she didn’t get to go.

Pretty big barn.


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The road leads to many barns

Poppies at one of many rest stops we visited today.


If you’ve been following us on Facebook you’ll know that Katie and I are headed South. Today we completed day 2 of our 3 day adventure. We spent last night in Indianapolis Indiana, and tonight we’re in Huntsville Alabama. It’s supposed to be a 6 hour trip between the two but of course Katie and I stop at every rest stop along the way.

Plus we were driving through barn country.

This was probably pretty once.

Katie enjoys her rest stops and I enjoy my barns. What can I say except that she’s a very patient sheltie-girl. And I try not to get off course for very long or very often. In fact I only allowed myself to get off the freeway twice today when I saw lovely barns dotting the countryside. And I only traveled 3 or 4 miles out of the way each time.

I saw so many beautiful barns that were not in a spot easily found once I exited the freeway, but I always found something else that was (almost) as photogenic as what enticed me off course in the first place.

Saw this one from the freeway and actually found it after we got on the back roads.

It’s hot in the South right now. The car said it was 97 out there this afternoon. Katie, in her crate in the back seat, slept a lot and I tried to keep the car cool for her.

Cow rests in the shade.

But as the day wore on, and about two hours away from our hotel, I noticed the air conditioning was almost negligible. I’m sure she felt nothing cool in the back seat. She seemed lethargic and I began to panic. I rolled the windows down and hoped that the breeze made up for the lack of cool. I began to talk to her loudly and often. I told her we were going to get her dinner soon. She perked up.

Jackpot! A whole bunch of barns in one shot!

I stopped for a minute to give her a long drink of water and feel her tummy. She didn’t feel too warm. Yet. I drove faster and skipped the last rest stop at the Alabama line. I figured we were only 30 minutes from an air conditioned room, and stopping would do nothing but heat us both up even more.

Barn on the back road.

So I sang to her, talked to her, and she watched me, thinking something good was coming. It was. Air conditioning! I even planned on filling the tub with cool water if I had to cool her down. Or looking for a vet if I thought she was in heat stroke.

Working the fields on this hot afternoon.

But she bounced out of the car when we got to the hotel and pulled me, prancing all the way, into the lobby. And then she wanted to play. And eat her supper. And drink a big long drink. And go outside for a walk. And play some more. And go back outside. And get a treat. Or two.

The colors in the barn go so nicely with the colors in the field.

So I guess all my worrying was for nothing.

But tomorrow we’ll be getting up early to drive the last 4 hours to the lake before the afternoon heats up. And next week we’ll be taking the car to a dealer to see what’s up with the air.

It’s always something.

Air conditioning is good mama!


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Barn hunting

I’ve been watching this barn as I come and go. Today there were horses so I had to stop.

Katie and I like to go exploring, mostly looking for good places to take a walk, but sometimes just to see what’s there. And along the way there have been a few barns.

You know me and barns.

I’ve driven by some of them because there was nowhere safe to park. That always breaks my heart. I imagine pulling in a driveway and asking whoever was there if it is OK to take a picture of their barn. “Why?” I imagine them asking me and I realize I have no real reason to need an image of their barn. I just want it. So I don’t stop unless I can do it anonymously and from a safe distance.

I could spend all day wandering country roads looking for barns.

This red barn was sitting right in front of me while I was stopped in construction traffic last week.

Can’t resist a red barn.

I shot it through my dirty windshield, just as traffic was beginning to move. At the time I thought maybe I’d drive back out that way to see if there was somewhere to park so that I could take a more studied shot. But tonight I decided that the through the windshield image wasn’t that bad.

And you’ve seen this last one before. A couple weeks ago I saw it, and turned around, parked on a side road and walked a country block to shoot it. Along the way a huge dog in someone’s back yard snarled and barked and I realized that probably walking along any country road was a stupid idea. Because down here hardly any dog is contained, and I was lucky this one couldn’t get over the fence.

Still…it’s a beautiful barn.

A hidden gem.