Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Wandering Around My Favorite Things

Since we decided mortaring was out of the question for the rest of the year, on Sunday afternoon I started cleaning up the gardens, pulling out annuals and newly sprouted weeds and trimming back perennials.   Carl is still hard at work cutting stone for the castle, which is good; the more rock we have cut ahead of time, the better.

We were both working away on Sunday when it started to rain.  Well, that put a damper on things, we ran to put hammers, chisels, shovels and trowels away and then stood in the barn watching the water drip off the roof.  Carl said, "Do you want to go for a ride?"

 "I'm way ahead of you," I said as I ran for the house to get cleaned up.  

Since the rain was coming from the west, we decided to drive right into it and get to the other side since the storm wasn't supposed to be all that long-lived.  After about thirty miles, we were through the rain and back into brilliant sunshine.  Going on these rides has been one or our favorite things to do ever since we first met, well, ok, I should say since we both got our driver's licenses, since we weren't old enough to drive when we first met.  (Gads, we've been together a long time.)

I love old barns and farmsteads and even Carl has come to appreciate them over the years despite not being raised a farm kid.  I usually take pictures out of the car windows, not the best photos in the world, but we do enjoy looking back at all the things of interest and beauty seen on our little afternoon jaunts.

One of our favorites is this barn:

Isn't it a beauty?  I think it's my favorite barn of all.  The construction and design is perfection;  it's round, it has a stone basement and the roof is fantastic, complete with the awesome weather-vane.  I'd love to see the inside of the barn, I bet it's as stunning as the outside.
Looks like the owners like big rocks, too, I had to take a picture of the big granite rocks in their yard.  Usually there would be large draft horses in the pasture completing the perfect scene, but it had just rained, so maybe they were in the barn, out of the weather.  (Can you imagine how long it would take Carl and I to build that stone wall?)

Many of the farms are so well-kept; take this one for instance, even the silo is color-coordinated with the barn.
My hat is off to the people who own beautifully maintained farm buildings.  I know only too well what a lot of work it is and the huge expense involved in keeping a barn and silos and outbuildings in good repair, especially if the farm is no longer in operation.  I hate to see barns falling apart from neglect, but I fully understand why it happens.  The cost of putting a new roof on your house is one thing, but now think about multiplying that cost a dozen or more times. That's why we are losing so many barns across the state, it's just too expensive to keep them up.
 This was the barn on our farm before it was destroyed in the early 1980's.  
 Our barn was lost to a tornado. (If you'd like to read about the storm, here's a link: Our Barn  I wish I'd thought to take more pictures of our farm back in the day, but you know how it is, especially when you're young, you think you have plenty of time to take photos.  And why should anyone take pictures of the things you see every day?    But the sad part is, now I wish I had pictures of the inside of our long-gone barn, the haymow, the stanchions, the cows, silos, machinery, tractors we once had, heck, all of it, for remembrance.  It's gone now.

When I was younger, I'd taken hundreds of pictures of places we had visited and they are very nice to remember the trip, but I should have been taking pictures of the every day things I lived with, the things I treasured, the people and places I loved. I'm not as camera shy anymore, not because I look great, but because I figure it's only downhill from here on out; like many of the barns around here, without a new roof or a facelift, I might just fall down in a heap, too, so best to remember me the way I am, before it's too late.  Ha.
Beautiful brickwork on this old silo.  The windmill has seen better days, maybe it needs rescuing?
Can you spot three of my favorite things in this photo?
1. Rocks
2. A little hill with trees
3. Cows (Ok, so I don't get in trouble with any purists lurking amongst us, 'cows' are not the right term for this herd.   They look to be steers or beef cattle, not dairy cattle, but still, they are of the  bovine persuasion and therefore part of Karen's Favorite Things.)

This little shed (privy maybe?) caught my eye, the sun was just breaking through the low clouds after the rain.
We stopped at a few cemeteries on our little trip on Sunday, too.  Happily, we had met up with Joel in mid-afternoon and went along with him while he did some geocaching.  For those of you who do not know what that is, well, you're not alone.  I didn't know what it was either until Joel took it up.  Geocaching is a real-world outdoor treasure hunting game. Players try to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, using GPS-enabled devices and then share their experiences online. .....Here's a link to an explanation: Geocaching

(And you thought people gave you blank looks when you told them you were a Blogger??)   Carl will tell people we meet, "Karen is a Blogger," and some of them don't know if they should congratulate me or step back in case it's contagious.  My dear mother still pauses when I tell her I  wrote another blog post.  "Oh, you're still doing....that?  What's a 'blog' again?"  

Check out this gorgeous old cast iron urn in the graveyard, isn't that a beauty?  I'm surprised it hasn't been stolen from this rural cemetery.  (Sadly, there are people out there who will steal from gravesites.)
But the highlight of the drive for me was the abandoned granite quarry in Redgranite, WI.  We don't get here very often, but when we do, it is always a treat.  This is a gorgeous quarry right in town and very pretty, I can only imagine how beautiful it must have been a few weeks ago before the trees passed their autumn peak.  But there was still some leaves to appreciate anyway.

 Just look at all the gorgeous granite left behind from the 1920's.  Do you know how tempting this stuff is?  But we behaved and left it all behind.  That's me up on top the pile.

Outcroppings of the beautiful stone are all that show now since the water has filled in the vast hole in the ground.  This is a favorite quarry for teaching people how to scuba dive since it is very deep.
I had to go and stand by this monumental piece of granite; there were so many of these lovely slabs here, what a statement just one of them would make in a garden.  (I don't know what the arrow painted on the rock is for, but if it has anything to do with shipping this piece to our garden, I'm all for it.)  Carl and I could just picture a smaller version of Stonehenge (Granitehenge?) built out of these beauties.  Ok, dream sequence is over.

 All too soon, the sun was setting and it was time to go.  Even though the rain put us another coupla days behind on garden clean-up, this was a wonderful little trip.
And Joel found the geocaching to be fine, too.

Time to head back to our own quarry rocks. 
 They aren't granite, but they're ok. 
 Can you imagine Castle Aaargh done in red granite?   Time out while we all imagine this sight.......

Stone wall at the abandoned quarry
Ok, picture this round and with no graffiti....

Ok, I'll stop coveting my neighoring county's rocks now.  I will.

I promise.


Tufa Girl said...

That quarry is so beautiful and the fall color is pretty spectacular also. I should get you and Carl to create a touring map for our next trip up your way. Shawn growing up in LaCrosse knows along the Mississippi but would be interesting to see the rest of the state.

Anonymous said...

Nice stroll, Karen. I agree, that is the best looking barn. No beauties like that around here, but they do have special ones in PA where I am from. They make barn building an art there.

Cass @ That Old House said...

Karen, your pictures make me long to be able to paint. Paint art, I mean, not furniture or walls.

LOVE the field with the cows. Well, they are cows to me, what does this city girl know?

That round barn is amazing; I can see the care and love that is put into these picture-perfect farm outbuildings. What American treasures.


Debbie@Debbie-Dabble and A Debbie-Dabble Christmas said...

What an amazing post!! Filled with so much beauty!!

I love red barns and the round one you shared with us is just spectacular!! Near my in Laws, there is a round house! I really should get a picture of it someday.
I think you are right in saying that we should photograph every day things in our lives before they are gone. We have had so much construction in our area and I meant to take pics of how everything looks before a new Arena was built and 2 new shopping centers and tons of Eating Places!!

And I have not liked my photo taken since I gained 60 lbs. But you are right. This is me and what I look like now and may look like for the rest of my life , so why not have people remember me the way I was even if i , myself, are not happy about it!!

Great post!!


Patrick's Garden said...

I agree the round barn has to be one of the all time best ever. Have you thought about stopping by and asking for permission to photograph it. They probably be flattered. What do you think, Karen?

Rosemary said...

Karen I think I love all the things you do; that red round barn is very special, love the red granite quarry so picturesque, long rides,bovines even are lovely in the country setting of green fields...... tho over stone, and don't get me wrong, I like stone buildings and fences , stone homes and half finished Castle AAARGH but not to the rapture that captures you and brings a smile to me whenever you covet that special rock seen and the dreams it inspires. I am thinking you were a stone mason in another life... perhaps building a cathedral or massive castle in a far off land.
Hoping your weather improves !

Zoey said...

Hi Karen,
I loved joining you and
Carl on your Sunday trip. You took some great pics! I can imagine how gorgeous that quarry was when the color was at its peak. It is still beautiful.

I, too, would love to have that cemetery urn.

...some of them don't know if they should congratulate me or step back in case it's contagious.....I am still laughing!! It is amazing how many people still don't know what a blog is. How do they get through each day without posting to or reading a blog??????

Anonymous said...

Hi Karen. Those barns are lovely.
and the quarry was beautiful. Well done Joel! Have a good weekend.
Sueb x