Recycled life history

I came across this old building this fall, after being drawn near it by the sight of a very large old willow tree. The building was obviously an old store, and at some time in its life it resided in a town.

KODAK Digital Still Camera

Old buildings are of particular interest to me, as like people, they also have a history. Regrettably the store front lacks a sign of any kind and the interior has been stripped of all clues as to its origin or occupation.

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Sad to say, its last use was as a cattle shed. It sits far out of sight on the edge of a field far from a road, where is slowly sinks into oblivion. It seems it has been here for at least the last twenty years ago, protecting cattle from the cold winds of a northern Minnesota winter. If you look closely you will notice the faded front where a store sign originally proclaimed its identity.

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It appears some attempt was made to board up the door and windows to keep out the snow and the cattle in. A large hole was ripped in the side to allow entry for the cattle, but this in turn has weakened the side wall and hastened the collapse of the structure.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

A feeble effort was made to close up windows that were swollen open by countless rains. Most of the panes of glass gave up from the weather and the winds of time. This is a structure that is giving up,  inch by inch.

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The side view of the cattle entrance shows where it has separated from the top wall plate and suffers from the effect of gravity. The original cedar shakes roofing was up graded to asphalt shingles at some point in its long life.

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This is an interior window view of the large pasture and big old willow tree, as enjoyed by many a cow.  It is also a window that countless customers  looked out at a different view in some small unknown town.

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An examination of the field around the store showed that a large corral once controlled animals in a restricted space, but all but a few sections remain, struggling to hold their heads above the tall grass.

My enquires to date have suggested this building originally came from the town of Lake Bronson. Other avenues of search suggest it once was a restaurant in Lancaster. The search for facts continues. I have purposely not revealed where the building sits as the present owners are reluctant to have people on the property.


Two Rivers – middle branch

Normally in late November we find our local rivers frozen over and covered in six inches to a foot in fluffy white snow.  This year is an exception.

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Two Rivers – middle branch

The temperature has been hovering in the thirties and a considerable quantity of water is on the move in the river. This has prevented the river from freezing over completely so the ice is thin and limited to  along the banks.

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

This scene is unusual because of the flowing and open water and the limited amount of snow. These photos were taken south of Hwy #175 and west of Hwy #5, other wise referred to as Hawkyard’s Corner.

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Fox tracks

The pleasant conditions have affected the wildlife so animal tracks are numerous on the ice along the edge of the running water and through out the woods on either side.

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A bend in the river.

It is hard to believe that this peaceful scene is within sight of a busy highway, but hidden away.

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Burbling rapids

The water flowing over the rapids can be heard long before it comes into view. The shallow water makes a great location for the deer and other wildlife to drink or ford the river.

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At the edge of the little rapids.

As the water level drops along with the temperature, this spot will soon be frozen over and covered deeply in snow. This is the last view until spring.


Turn here! Turn here!

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Yesterday as the snow storm was winding down I jumped in my little truck, camera in hand, and took off to look for things to photograph.  I try real hard to go in new directions or places. I have learned good photos can appear in the strangest places.

The highway was icy  and the wind was cold and it would not be wise to stop on the road under these conditions.  I took a few photos through the windshield and they show the driving conditions at the time but they were not what I call a “keeper” photo.

Eventually I turned around and headed for home a little disappointed by the lack of keepers.  Then suddenly a little voice in my head said, Turn here! Turn here!

I slowed on the icy highway and carefully turned down an old gravel road that sees little traffic during the course of the day. After a short drive nothing interesting was in view so I decided to turn around and head back to the highway.  I stopped in a driveway to make the turn and suddenly saw the mail box.  It was perfect, so I jumped out and faced the driving wind and snapped the above photo.

The mail box is weathered and rusted from countless years in the prairie weather.  it is tired and leaning and has been braced and propped in an effort to extend it’s life.

The old license plates are the reflective kind and were nailed up to help the motorists avoid the mailbox hanging over the edge of the road in the dark.

I do not know what you think, but I like it.  Its a keeper. I find it pays to listen to the little voices that say “turn here!”



Waiting for the snow.

It’s almost the main topic of discussion. When is it going to snow? Most of my life it snowed Halloween night or a day or two later. This is a very usual. I’ve experienced big snow storms before this date!


We are seeing some frost during the night and that results in a white coating on small trees and things close to the ground where it is colder.


The frost can become quite creative on dried weeds, but it does not last long.


A few tough leaves appear very colorful amongst the dead grass and weeds


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Could this be the calm be for the storm?  A big fat snowstorm!


Serious storms deprive us of power, followed by transportation, (no school, no mail, no food, and peace of mind.  Let us enjoy our present peace and tranquility. A late winter provides us with a longer fall and a  shorter winter.  Definitely a win/win situation.   Stay tuned for…………


Tattered curtains – poignant

I recently (Oct 23rd) created a post called “Tattered curtains” and posted it on my blog It was well accepted and almost a hundred individuals read it. One reader left a comment and called it poignant. Thanks Ann htt://

Now poignant was in my word vocabulary but I had not used it in some time, so I Googled it to refresh my memory. This is what I found.

Poignant – Adjective.  “Evoking a keen sense of sadness or regret.”

“A poignant reminder of the passing of time.”

Synonyms – touching, moving, sad, affecting, pitiful, piteous, pathetic, sorrowful, mournful, wretched, miserable, distressing, heart rendering, tear jerking, plaintive, tragic.

I now appreciate that poignant was the perfect word to express what I was attempting to create when I wrote “Tattered curtains.”  It is a great word and I plan to express it in a couple of more posts in the near future.


The Silence in the Fog.

The fog has returned again this morning and the temperature is 31 F. but the snow has not appeared….yet.

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The world seems to disappear at the end of my driveway.

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As the sun rises it slowly burns off the fog and our distant vision grows.


It is a magic time of day that city folk never get to experience. The silence is absolute.


The dark night clouds are moving off and the pond reflects the blue sky and the beginning of sunrise.


The sun is now above the horizon and a brand new day lies before us.

Snow – It’s a fleeting thing.

The first snow fall on the prairie has a tendency to arrive in the middle of the night so transformation from fall to winter is a rather abrupt event. You awake in the morning and your whole world has been painted entirely white in every direction.  My first reaction to new snow is to walk around the yard, looking for odd shapes that will signify where I left something outside, for one day too long. There have been times where various items were never seen again for many long months. The spring melt usually results in the comment, “So that’s where that’s been hiding!”
 When you live in the country and own a driveway you learn to leave the first two or three inches of snow in place and drive on it. This packed snow makes it easier to scrape, shovel or plow new snow, without throwing gravel all over the place. A long narrow driveway through the woods presents some difficulty in getting rid of the snow.  Just pushing it aside works for the first few storms but then the woods and trees restrict the movement of snow. In time the road narrows until the final storm, at which point passage ceases. Living in a snowy area demands that you think ahead otherwise your world will continually grow smaller.
The perfect answer to snow removal is a snow blower. Small or large the results are the same. The snow is flung aside in a high fluffy arc, deep into the woods, never to be more than a distant snow drift.
Our house sits some two hundred feet from the main road. A major snow event means the first priority is to dig out the vehicles in the parking area, by broom and shovel. Once the snow blower has enlarged the parking area the vehicles can be moved and the original location can be cleaned. When a  snow storm is forecast we always park vehicles in a sensible location.
While I would never say we live in a windy place, I will admit that at times it can get windy.  A blizzard occurs when we have a heavy snowfall with winds about forty miles an hour. During this type of winter event two things take place. First, the snow can be stripped off the open fields right down to the dirt, and at the same time almost any object will cause a drift of snow to form. A single fence post can cause a long  thin drift.  A row of evergreen trees can create a drift twelve to fifteen feet high during the night.
After a blizzard, when the roads and driveways have been opened, a drive around the country side will reveal some spectacular drifts of snow. This drift is fifteen feet high and runs for a quarter of a mile. It is never wise to leave home when a blizzard is forecast and when you get stuck, you never leave your vehicle. All this talk of snow makes me want to find my shovel and set it close at hand.

A sensible distraction

I just started a course on blogging and today is my third day. So far I have learned something each day. The course is provided by Word Press and it will run for the first three weeks of November.  Once the course starts it is closed to any newcomers.  It does reappear regularly so you could get on board next time.  There is no charge. Go visit Word

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Very foggy again the other morning. I appreciate fog because it helps provide unusual photographs. However I think we have had enough gray, dull, and boring days for this fall.  It is also cutting into our winter weather. (I hope I don’t regret saying that.)