A Rural Life

“As much as I converse with sages and heroes, they have very little of my love and admiration.  I long for rural and domestic scene, for the warbling of birds and the prattling of my children.”

~John Adams (1735-1826), 2nd President of the United States of America

(Quote Source: quotegarden.com)

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I agree wholeheartedly with John Adams!

Patience

“Everything that slows us down and forces patience, everything that sets us back into the slow circles of nature, is a help. Gardening is an instrument of grace.”

~May Sarton (1912-1995), Poet

(Read more at: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/maysarton133734.html)

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Sunflowers reaching for the sky on a small Minnesota farm.

Is it time to unravel?

“Differences simply act as a yarn of curiosity unraveling until we get to the other side.”

~Ciore Taylor, The Conversation Starts Here: A Perspective of Self, Culture, and the American Society

 

(Quote Source: goodreads.com)

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A variety of sheep grazing peacefully together in a Minnesota country field.

Compassionate Viewpoint

“But, to love nature and to hate humanity is illogical. Humanity is part of the whole. To truly love the world is also to love human ingenuity and playfulness. Nature does not need to be cleansed of human artifacts to be beautiful or coherent. Yes, we should be less greedy, untidy, wasteful, and shortsighted. But let us not turn responsibility into self-hatred. Our biggest failing is, after all, lack of compassion for the world. Including ourselves.”

~ David George Haskell,  The Forest Unseen

(Quote Source: goodreads.com)

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I took this photo in 2014 of a ranch in Wyoming — a setting that seemed such a lovely representation of humans working with and for nature.

What’s in a Smell?

“Nothing is more memorable than a smell.  One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a childhood summer beside a lake in the mountains; another, a moonlit beach; a third, a family dinner of pot roast and sweet potatoes during a myrtle-mad August in a midwestern town.  Smells detonate softly in our memory like poignant land mines hidden under the weedy mass of years.  Hit a tripwire of smell and memories explode all at once.  A complex vision leaps out of the undergrowth.”

~Diane Ackerman (1948- ), A Natural History of the Senses

(Quote via quoteland.com)

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A lovely cow sniffing the fresh blooms of spring.

Contented Eagle

“We’re so busy watching out what’s just ahead of us that we don’t take time to enjoy where we are.”

~ Bill Watterson, (1958- ) American cartoonist and the author of the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes

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This bald eagle was sitting on a bundle of hay when I arrived and he was still there when I departed.

Almost time for planting…

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

~  Edward Giobbi  (1926- ) American artist and cookbook author

(quote via egreenway.com)

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Farming equipment awaiting the return of warmer weather.

Only One Hour Old!

“I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way.  But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture.”

~ David Hockney (1937- ) English painter, draughtsman, printmaker, stage designer and photographer

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The farmer told me that this sweet little calf was only one hour old!

I must agree with David Hockney.  There is no way that just one picture could ever hope to capture all of the amazing things that happen in the spring.

Guardian Donkey

“You can’t test courage cautiously.”

~ Anne Dillard (1945- ) American author and Pulitzer Prize winner

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Meet one of the defenders of this Minnesota cattle farm.  Donkeys are not fond of canines and this dislike extends to coyotes and wolves as well.  Western ranchers have used donkeys to guard herds and ward off predators for years, but this is a relatively new practice here in the midwest.  The Minnesota farmer who owns this handsome fellow has another donkey as well.  He shared that coyotes and wolves have become a greater problem for him in the last ten years and his pair of donkeys have been extremely beneficial to keeping his cows and calves safe.

Magic Moments

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

~William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), Irish Poet

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After a long day of traveling in the country looking for an intriguing subject to photograph I was headed home.  I had taken some interesting shots, but they all paled in comparison to the amazing pink clouds that appeared on the horizon for the evening sunset.  I was not in the best place for a typical sunset shot, but I am still grateful to this family of cows.

Bountiful Crops

“Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.

~Ovid (43BC – 17 AD), Roman Poet

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This is a field of corn yet to be harvested.  When do farm fields rest?  Seems like a simple question, right?  I tried googling this topic and was overwhelmed with the theories and practices on this subject!  While experts agree that it is important for soil to rest, how and when to proceed is a complex process involving weed control, soil testing, fertilizer assessment, potential for grazing, crop analysis…well, perhaps this gives you an idea of the complexity.  I suspect Ovid would be surprised at how much we have learned since back in the day.

I am grateful again for farmers and the work that they do for all of us!

Aging in Nature

Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art.

~Stanislaw Jerzy Lec, (1909-1966) Polish poet

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All across the United States there are beautiful old structures that have withstood the elements of nature and the test of time. Even in their various states of decay such architecture still provides interest to the landscape, protection to local wildlife, and a reason for pause and reflection regarding man’s use of our planet’s natural resources throughout history.

Highland Bull

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Highland cattle are a Scottish cattle breed. They have long horns and long wavy coats that are coloured black, brindle, red, yellow, white, silver or dun, and they are often raised primarily for their meat. (Source: Wikipedia)

I came across this fine gentleman while driving on a back road in northern Minnesota.  Look at the length of his horns!  He has only to turn his head slightly to scratch his haunches.  I watched him do it, but the angle did not allow for a very good photo.  Maybe next time I can catch him with my camera?

During this busy holiday season, be sure to purposely pause and take notice of the wonder that is around you each and every day!