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Another Valley Shot. June 8, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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…of a field in Hadley.  The support structure for the tobacco shading is in place, though I’m not sure what’s been planted here.

Still, the skies are dramatic, so I pull over and take this shot:

Thanks to Elliot, with perhaps 1-1/2 degrees of tilt, a hand-held 3-stop reverse ND grad by Singh-Ray, and a foreground boost from Photoshop’s camera raw fill-light function.

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Stormy Weather. May 15, 2012

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We’re having a run of “inclement weather” here in the Northeast, which is to say, we’re getting some much needed rain.

I’m not complaining, even if I have to time my garden activities to coincide with the breaks.  No rain, no garden, no business for the rafting companies which constitute a significant part of the tax base in my little town.  And most disturbingly, lower reservoirs, drier swamps and wetlands and reduced levels in our water wells.

Anyway, life is good when it rains.  And during the breaks, I find views of tumultuous skies over a bucolic countryside:

Late-day cumulobimbos  wading across the sky yesterday afternoon.

More to come, if the forecast can be believed.  🙂

Sheepies. May 14, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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I do believe that’s the collective term for sheep and lambs.

Anyway, here they are – a Momma:

…grazing contentedly among Mother Nature’s other creatures:

And, of course, their lambs:

They’re cute, those little scamps:

They’re like kids.   Here’s one who seemed to be driving his feed trough around the pasture, like a child in a Christmas toy box:

Others, like their human counterparts, were only interested in one thing:

Also like people, there were some who might qualify as the “black sheep” of the family:

…though, of course, they’re not actually black:

Spring is a lovely time to be out here in the country, surrounded by all this new life.

For this, I’m grateful.

 

Fading Away. July 9, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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Our old barns took quite a hit this winter, with greater than average snowfalls collapsing many of the weaker ones, and plenty more seeing significant damage.  If these winters keep coming on like this, we’ll soon be seeing a substantially changed rural landscape from what we now have.

So it seems an appropriate time to pay attention and catalog The Way It Was before the opportunity is lost.

A big old barn in Conway took a hit this winter, and may not stand another:

This is a working farm, and it hurts to see them lose assets as they’re struggling to stay afloat.

The best of luck to them, and to all of the farmers out there working long and hard to keep us fed and provide for their families.

Spring On The Farm. April 12, 2011

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Springtime is busy on our local farms.  Maple sugaring is winding down, and attention turns to livestock:

Dim-witted sheep stand around shorn and shivering in their barnyard Johnnies, having just been swindled out of their warm winter coats:

…yeah, I’m talkin ’bout you!

…while their distant cousins remain aloof and above it all:

Most of the farm ponds have iced out, though the grass is still just vaguely green:

…and somebody has been using the barbed wire fence for a scratching spot:

…perhaps this Scottish Highlander and her calf?

I mean, I’m totally ok with that, Yes Ma’am, no problems here…

All in all, a nice time of year in these parts:

I’m still in JPEG mode, so pardon any appreciable lack of photo quality.

They’re calling for rain the next few days, so I was glad to snag these shots today.

An Inexpensive Date! March 21, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, Love and Death.
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On Friday it was $2 apiece to get into the bulb show, and Susan was in heaven.

On Saturday it was a walk up a dirt road and through unsigned pastures and farm lots, which undercut Friday’s extravagance by, um, $2 apiece, and Susan was again ecstatic.

I am such a lucky guy!

Behind an old metal-roofed barn we found an extremely roughly hewn three inch “washer,” torch-cut from plate steel, and an old rusted cotter pin, both of which will likely find their way into Susan’s collages of Found Object Art.  Then, rounding a corner, we came face to face with The Locals, who seemed baffled by our presence, giving us the “Whatchoo Lookin’ At” eye:

We were, in fact, looking at an old International Harvester farm truck, dazed by a konk on the noggin from a falling tree but, judging by her tires, far from dead:

I thought the black and white rendition afforded the old gal the dignity she deserved.

Susan, bless her impish heart, seemed to think this was great fun!

Farther up in the pastures, while enjoying a spectacular view, she found a large bone.  It was a sun-bleached bovine scapula, a gift which had her all but dancing in the fields.

Did I mention that I’m a lucky guy?

🙂

In The Snow. February 26, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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Late winter is frequently a bluster here in the Berkshires, and this past week has proven to be true to form.  Storm upon storm has dumped feet of heavy, wet snow on us, denying us power, heat, light and water, and in cases like mine, even access to our homes; the berm of slop thrown across my driveway by plows plying Route 2 was a yard deep, fifteen feet wide and as heavy as lead.  Plus, there was no place to pull over and try to shovel, with the plows constantly rounding the bend on which I live.

But still, despite a growth of stubble and an unhygienic aire, I found the storms to be cleansing, healing, and beautiful.

A home up in the hills of Cheshire:

A nearby rural lane:

Stone monuments on a knoll above Ashfield Lake:

…and a barn in the farmlands of Shelburne:

I wandered long past dark, waiting for the plowman to come and let me into my driveway.  I got there in time to snap this shot of yet more snow descending from the heavens:

…that last one taken through my windshield.

I love winter, despite its tribulations.

When This Was A Farm… January 28, 2010

Posted by littlebangtheory in Love and Death, Politics and Society.
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…I was a barn.

Yeah, really.  Tall and proud, straight and true.  Full of dairy cows, surrounded by pastures, not this scraggly forest you see here.

But that was then, and this is now.  My people spent long hours trying to patch things up with wishes and prayers and sweat, and when the sun went down, more hours around the kitchen table, scratching at pads with short pencils, cipherin’, and always coming up short.  There were arguments and tears, and lectures from the young’uns about government subsidies and Archer Danniels Midland, whoever that is.

And then the bankers came, and I closed my barn doors in an effort to shut out the pleading, but it didn’t help, and the bankers won, and my people left.

I’ve wondered what happened to them for some time now, but as far as I know, they just sort of disappeared.

I miss the old days.

An Agrarian Interlude. June 1, 2009

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Down in the Connecticut River Valley, it’s a whole ‘nother world, a place of open spaces and farm machinery bigger than what works up here in the hills.

Here are a few shots from the Flatlands.

A tobacco barn in Hatfield:

tobacco barn

Daisies along that same road witness the sowing of the fields:

daisies

…and in Easthampton, a farm snuggles into the generous flanks of Mt. Tom:

Mt Tom

It’s a pretty place to visit, but come nightfall?

I’m headin’ for the hills!

Up In The Farms. April 13, 2009

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Up in the hills, where the farms were, there’s less farms now, and less farmin’.

They ain’t all left yet, but they’re workin’ on it.

leyden barn