Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

A Little Wandering in a Little Snow


December 26, 2021

There wasn’t much snow in Oberlin last Sunday morning, but driving south out of town, I began to see where it had fallen and stuck to trees. The day was cloudy, and I hoped the sun would stay away until I was able to photograph some of the outlined branches. I needn’t have worried.

1 Decorated with leaves, the directionality of these shrubs may not be noticeable.

2 The horizontal branches were best at holding on to the snow.

3

4 But some more-vertical branches did just fine.

5 Even tiny twigs were festooned.

6 I didn’t see the red berries until I looked at this photograph on the computer. This is a close crop of the original frame.

7 Miles and miles were dusted in snow.

8 And always the horizontal branches called to my camera.

9 The beech trees, with their orange leaves—those hangers-on—brought some brightness to the day.

10 Not far from the beeches were some oaks, displaying the same hanging-on behavior and color.

11 When I came to a long row of trees at the edge of a field, I was pretty sure they were osage oranges. In centuries past, farmers planted osage orange trees as a barrier—a living fence—to keep farm animals in and predators out. Accounting for their efficacy is their steely thorns and readily produced suckers. While the advent of barbed wire in the 1880s slowed the planting of osage orange fences, modern farmers and others can find much advice online for how to plant these fences today. I say that seeing the line of trees gave me the clue that these were osage oranges; seeing the (inedible to humans) fruit on the ground clinched the identification.

12 A sure sign that I had arrived in Amish country was this cornfield with traditional corn shocks.

13 The Amish also have a traditional way of stacking their hay in the fields. But this isn’t it. Hay gathered into giant-marshmallow bales is not as attractive but is “higher in protein and more palatable for livestock than dry hay,” according to the Iowa Agriculture Literacy Foundation.

14 Most of the windmills we see around here are broken and abandoned. This one looks intact, but I can’t tell for sure whether it’s working; I don’t see a pipe where the water would come out.

15 A closer look at the business end of this windmill reveals its manufacturer, the Aermotor Windmill Company, which sold its first windmills in 1888. The company still exists. A YouTube video shows how an Aermotor windmill is made.

16 This is a colorful farmyard mystery to me.

17 Some rural buildings just don’t make it.

18 And some show decided signs of life.

13 responses

  1. Fine set, Linda. Love the more graphical shots with the snowed branches. Enjoy the snow! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 26, 2021 at 3:52 AM

    • Thanks, Harrie. The snow is gone for now. Hope it comes back for more photographs.

      Like

      December 26, 2021 at 11:39 AM

  2. The first several views reveal the complexity of dense bare branches in winter. The shocks in #12 seem to be living sentinels. The row of triple-stacked bales in the following picture looks like the remains of an ancient Mayan temple. The osage oranges in #11 are unmistakable.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 26, 2021 at 7:53 AM

    • I enjoy all the associations you create to my photographs, Steve. I had never seen osage oranges in their orange coloration. I’d only seen green ones, so the color was a surprise.

      Like

      December 26, 2021 at 12:04 PM

  3. The horizontal branch studies and your comments about them are interesting – but I like seeing the bits of texture and different widths of the branches in #4. As in your last post, I like seeing the context photo (#7). Nice to see those familiar Beech leaves and the gray bark of the trees. And a nice narrative about Osage orange trees. I used to see them once in a while back east. The cornfield is one of my favorites here – the angle and composition are perfect. It’s a very pleasing picture. Thank you for explaining the advantages of the ugly plastic hay bales that have taken over out here, too. Such a visual disappointment compared to bare bales. I was exploring a mixed industrial use area near here and came across a big malting operation so I had to google it. Turns out that farmers plant barley as a rotation crop here and this malting company is giving them a reason to plant it more. The specialty brewers are getting into specialized malted barley products. Cool stuff. The fenceposts in the windmill photo look like they could have been Osage orange trees. I love that you linked to the Aermotor video – will check it out in a minute. Isn’t it nice to see the way they curved their name around the fin? Very mid-century or something like that. Vying for favorite images in this series are the cornfield and the porch with laundry. Does that wheel operate the laundry line? I hope you go back to this area – OK, I’m sure you will. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    December 26, 2021 at 12:07 PM

    • Oh, right; I was going to try to remember to take more context photographs. I forgot, though; #7 was just an accident. Or maybe I remembered but didn’t remember I remembered. It’s funny about my narratives. I never set out to do them; they just develop as I start to write a caption. I love how photography gives me such an opportunity to sprawl. Glad you like the corn shocks. It’s a pretty trite photograph, but having seen this field I couldn’t ignore it; it looks so different from all the others, which look like what’s behind the osage-orange trees in #11. The only crops grown commercially around here are corn and soybeans, for animal feed. Maybe the Amish corn is for people. Specialized malted barley: interesting. I saw the porch with the laundry while I was on a highway. Thank goodness it wasn’t busy. I kept checking my rearview mirror and the road ahead to make sure someone wasn’t coming. Grabbed one shot and sped away. Kept thinking all the way home that it wouldn’t turn out because I didn’t check the exposure. With all that white, surely it would have blasted highlights, of not a whole blasted photo. Imagine my surprise and glee when I had to do no special processing for that one! Yes, that’s what I think the wheel is for. And yes, I will go back. Thank you, Lynn.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 26, 2021 at 7:47 PM

      • That’s often the way my text evolves, too – when you have something to say, it just comes out. Photography gives you an opportunity to sprawl? Interesting – WP does, too, right? I do understand the idea that the cornfield has been done before. I don’t live in a place where I can ever see that so that’s one reason I like it, plus, the light, textures, and composition are really nice. Crops! The soil is very good here and winters aren’t harsh (except this week!!!) so many different things are grown. The top tulip bulb producer for the US is just minutes away, as are major sources of Brussels sprout seeds! 😉 (Not on the island – no crops here, too small.) Corn and soybeans are the midwest staples but I wonder if there are any people growing niche crops on farms near you that fly under the radar. You’re saying you stopped in the road to take the picture? I just did that the other day. 🙂 You do have to keep checking the rearview, but isn’t it nice to live where there are quiet roads that aren’t just suburban cul-de-sacs?

        Liked by 1 person

        December 26, 2021 at 8:10 PM

        • Yes, WP gives me an opportunity to sprawl, too, as does the Internet and a little ADD. Rabbit holes are my specialty. Hard to keep them in check. Isn’t that funny: I don’t think of brussel-sprout seeds as being concentrated in one location. Oberlin does support a farmers market, so there are niche farms around here, but not many. I never got out of the car at all that day, just shot through open car windows. I stopped on a lot of roads but the one where the house with laundry was was a serious highway. I was just lucky. That’s one of the reasons I like to go out with the camera on Sunday mornings. Not many people are on the roads then.

          Liked by 1 person

          December 26, 2021 at 8:46 PM

          • Yes, Sundays! We were going to go explore an industrial area today but the snow stopped us – the roads aren’t good and it’s way below freezing. Another day. Sometimes my car window photos are a little out of focus, which must be because of engine vibration. Got to turn it off, don’t always remember. 😉

            Liked by 1 person

            December 26, 2021 at 8:51 PM

  4. Beautiful little portfolio, Linda. The first 11 photos look like they could have been taken around this area. I don’t recall seeing anything like #12. Beautiful shot! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 26, 2021 at 12:21 PM

    • Thank you, Ken. Well, if both you and Lynn think my #12 is a good photograph, I should probably not apologize for it. It was just so easy: roll down passenger-side window, point camera, press shutter.

      Liked by 1 person

      December 26, 2021 at 7:58 PM

  5. These are a pleasure. I love the way trees take on that etched look when layered with snow. Lovely set!

    Like

    December 27, 2021 at 12:41 PM

  6. Thanks, Joe. Yes, “etched” is the word.

    Like

    December 28, 2021 at 9:27 PM

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