Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

Wisconsin Interlude—1

September 27, 2021

David and I drove to Madison, Wisconsin, last week to visit my daughter, her wife, and their friends. We spent a fair amount of time outdoors (when we weren’t playing Rummikub indoors).

1 Two of the friends live on land surrounded by the University of Wisconsin–Madison Arboretum. They have enhanced their property in many ways, including by planting this Japanese maple.

2 We arrived there just as the sun began sinking.

3 The Buddha seems content on their land.

4 One day we drove to the driftless area.

5 Another day we visited some U–W-owned land being developed into a proper prairie. This view is looking from the prairie to the surrounding countryside.

6 The path we followed was lined with Big Bluestem grass (Andropogon gerardiiI).

7 But other grasses were present, including this unidentified kind.

8 And these.

9 The variety of prairie plant life was remarkable.

10 Some Goldenrod (Asteraceae) and New England Asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) were in flower.

11 Notice all the white objects in the previous photograph? This is what one looks like up close. They are seed heads of something that is not a Goldenrod, says David. But even he didn’t know what they were.

12 The prairie is on the fringes of Wisconsin’s driftless area, known for rock outcroppings . . .

13 . . . and caves.

14 Not far away is farmland owned by a cousin of another of my daughter’s friends.

15 Grazing dairy cows still conjure peaceful feelings in many of us.

16 With climate change—as Alexander Kunz reminds us in a recent blog post—those feelings may alter.

17 Rolling fields of corn—a sign for me that I have reached Wisconsin—once made me think of succulent corn on the cob. Now I know that most corn grown in the US goes to feed beef cattle. Do read Alex’s thoughtful post.

20 responses

  1. Sandy siebenschuh

    Wonderful. I’ve never been to Madison and wasn’t aware it is surrounded by lush countryside. The Buddha looks quite at home.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2021 at 10:58 AM

    • Thanks, Sandy. Yes, it doesn’t take long to go from, say, the capital building to farmland. I read online that a Buddha statue should always face east. This one may be facing west. I hope I haven’t offended anyone by showing this photo.


      September 28, 2021 at 12:21 PM

  2. Joe

    It’s always a pleasure to read your blog and see your photographs but what caught my eye this time was Rummikub! We learned of the game 2 years ago while visiting friends in Germany and have since played quite a bit. Fun to see something mentioned I once thought was rarely heard of.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2021 at 12:08 PM

    • So you play Rummikub, too, Joe! I think the game was responsible for my surviving many of the miseries of lock downs and isolations due to COVID. A (bubbled) friend and I have played three games a day during nearly all the pandemic.


      September 28, 2021 at 12:23 PM

  3. The boulder in #12 looks like an Olmec head:

    #10 is so representative of native plants in autumn. Similar scenes are just beginning to appear in Texas, with the peak still a month ahead.

    I’ve read that nuclear reactors in the latest generation are smaller, safer, and more efficient than the older ones. If that technology pans out, nuclear reactors might provide a way to desalinate large quantities of sea water and pipe it to areas with water shortages.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2021 at 12:51 PM

    • I didn’t walk close to the borders in #12, so I can’t say for sure, but it just may be an Olmec head. 😉 The Goldenrod where I live in Ohio is pretty much gone, but the New England Asters are now going full out. Yeah, I heard that, too, about the new nuclear reactors, but I don’t know. The thought of them still scares me. I also worry that this kind of work-around could blunt our work on stopping the climate change that is causing the water shortages. I guess we’ll see.


      September 28, 2021 at 12:24 PM

  4. Kathleen Faught

    Why “driftless”? Soil erosion, not? I am not familiar with the term when applied to land areas. Curious, K

    Liked by 1 person

    September 27, 2021 at 3:57 PM

    • Click on the words “driftless area” in the caption to #4, Kathy. You’ll see why it’s called that.


      September 28, 2021 at 12:25 PM

  5. Beautiful set, Linda! Nr.17 is great! 🙂


    September 28, 2021 at 3:07 AM

    • Thanks, Harrie. Even knowing what I do about the beef industry, I still love scenes like the one in #17.


      September 28, 2021 at 12:26 PM

  6. Many of these photos remind me of the arboretum in MN where I spent many hours wandering. I do miss it. I’m especially fond of the last photo, Linda. Just beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    September 28, 2021 at 2:54 PM

    • Thank you, Ken. My first plan for this post included only one photograph of the prairie. But the prairie was one of the high points of the trip, and it didn’t seem right to underrepresent it. So I fussed with a bunch of other prairie photos even though I didn’t think they were quite up to snuff and included them. The fussing is good for me; I always learn something.


      September 28, 2021 at 3:52 PM

  7. ag

    #17 gets my vote too.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 29, 2021 at 1:07 AM

    • Thanks, Alan. Even though I’ve taken several other photos similar to this one in Wisconsin, I’m sure it’s not the last.


      September 29, 2021 at 8:57 AM

  8. A really beautiful set of images that I am sure also have a special memory of your visit attached to them Linda. I really like the dappled lighting on the leaves, and the last photo of the corn field is really nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    September 30, 2021 at 11:02 AM

    • Thank you, Mark. That’s the challenging thing about vacation photographs: separating the ones that have intrinsic interest from those that merely attach to a pleasant memory (not that memory-triggers are “mere”). I rarely catch late-day light, dappled or not, so it was fun to be able to. If our northeast Ohio cornfields grew on rolling hills, I’d be photographing them a lot more. Guess I’ll just have to go back to Wisconsin.

      Liked by 1 person

      September 30, 2021 at 2:01 PM

  9. What a good collection – it seems like you really enjoyed the scenery (which I know is not unusual!). The darkness in the first two photos is very elegant. I love seeing the prairie view in #5 – it’s pure joy, all the gracefully rolling hills full of vegetation and that fabulous sky. Not the kind of view I see here, ever! I like what you did with the curly grass, too. It was that gold and purple time of year – that’s how I used to think of it when I would drive around NY-CT in autumn and see all the asters and goldenrod – so pretty. I haven’t a clue either about the seedheads but they’re very pretty. #12 is nicely framed – very satisfying. #14 is reminiscent of England. What glorious trees! The last photograph has a pleasing graphic quality, as if the landscape had been divvied up by an accountant. But one with a good color sense. 😉 Thanks for the vicarious pleasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    October 2, 2021 at 9:30 PM

    • I’m glad you like the darkness in the first two photos, Lynn. For the second one I courted that darkness in Lightroom. Originally you could see a bit of the house in the background. Ohio isn’t that far from Wisconsin, but we never see rolling hills near where I live, either. Pity. I love them. I rarely use a sepia tone, as I did in #8, but it just seemed the best option in Silver Efex for this photo. I think I know what you mean by calling the framing of #12 “satisfying.” It might be because of the L shape in the composition. Anyway, thanks. I didn’t see much of the English countryside when I was in that country for three days in the 1980s. So I’m glad I found some England in Wisconsin. I like the way Wisconsin farmers (or their accountants) parcel out their cornfields this way, interspersing it with alfalfa (?). Thanks for the pleasure of reading your comments, Lynn.

      Liked by 1 person

      October 3, 2021 at 8:58 PM

      • The “L” shape, that’s it. It’s grounding, it hews to the earth and reaches up at the same time. And our names start with it! 😉

        Liked by 1 person

        October 3, 2021 at 9:15 PM

        • Leave it to you to explain the L shape in such poetic terms. May you and I also hew to the earth and reach up at the same time.


          October 3, 2021 at 9:23 PM

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