January 20th

Sunday, January 20th, 2019

Back in the saddle again! 🎶 

Made myself pick up my camera today (I’ve been feeling uninspired if you can’t tell), and I’m sooo glad I did!

If I’ve learned anything through this project, it’s that inspiration can spark anywhere.

I mean anywhere.

Where there is light, one can find inspiration. After all of the practice this project has brought me, I’m at the point now where light motivates me instead of frustrates me. I used to know what I wanted to do in my head but not know how to execute it, but now it comes much easier. I definitely don’t nail it everytime, but I walk away frustrated a lot less often than I used to.

Today the issue was the fact that my subjects refused to cooperate. Paul was a big help positioning -and then repositioning, and repositioning, and repositioning – chickens until one stood still long enough to get the shot I was looking for.

Chicken breath.

I don’t know about you, but I know all creatures breath so by nature you can see their breath when it’s cold, but I never thought about it with chickens until I saw it today.

I knew I wanted to photograph our chickens today because we’ve had a lot of people ask how they’ve been doing with the cold, and I wanted to give an update, but the breath lends perfectly to the topic.

So anyway, the chickens are doing great! We did put a small radiating heater in their coop which keeps it about 20 degrees warmer than outside the coop, so that’s helped a lot overnight. We have it hooked up to a thermocube which is set to switch on at zero degrees, so it only comes on when the girls really need it.

We had read a lot about what temperatures chickens can take, and most of what we read said they’re great down to zero, and then you have to start watching them (hence our thermocube setting).

So far in our experience that’s proven to be exactly true. On days where it’s really windy and cold (below zero) they don’t come out of their coop and huddle by the heater, but on days like today, plentiful sunshine and no wind, they were out all day ranging despite the temperature hovering around zero.

It’s remarkable in my opinion. My fingers are about to fall off and they’re napping in the sun or happily clucking as they forage. No complaints from them.

Also, who knew chickens were so beautiful?


October 18th

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

This would be a shot that other artists may mark as one that has an unsuccessful composition.

Usually, images with focus points too far to one side or another causes imbalance within the image; it causes tension and it’s not pleasing to the eye. Normally, I follow that rule and don’t compose for my only point of focus to be so far to the side.

However, this image feels like the exception to the rule for me.

I absolutely love the way my eyes move through this image. The focus point and texture on the left side invites my eyes into the image, and the beautiful blend of color and texture, highlights and shadows, warm and cool, pull me all the way through to the right and out the other side. I feel like I’m slowly dancing through the image.

…and language like that is why people don’t understand art, haha! Sorry all, I’ll rein myself back in.

I think I enjoy the background because it reminds me of an impressionist painting, and I’ve always wanted to be able to paint like that. Suggestions of shape, texture, and muted color. It’s soothing to me. Something like a lovely dream that you’re floating through.

What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

October 17th

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

Golden waves (of beans).

During the day, these soybeans just look dead and brown. However, wait for the warm evening light, and things turn magical.

Although I grew up on a farm, we never experienced harvest as a family. We grew and baled our own hay, but rented out all of our fields to local farmers who did corn and soybeans. To this day, that’s still how we operate; the soybeans surrounding our house right now is a crop that will be harvested by our neighbor.

We get the farm feel without the crazy harvest hours and hard work.

Man, do I respect the farmers.

So many variables out of their control; so many things you couldn’t even begin to forecast, but you go into the season with faith. Field conditions, soil PH balance, fertilizer ratios, germination percentages, rain totals, drought, hail, strong winds, disease, pests, weeds. We deal with all of those things on a minor scale with our pumpkins, so to think of all of those things impacting hundreds of acres, hundreds of thousands of dollars of investment, you’ve either got to have nerves of steel or strong faith (ok, maybe a bit of both).

Paul and I have been following MN Millennial Farmer on YouTube (and I’ve been following along on Facebook too), and we’ve loved watching his videos. We jumped in right at the right time too, just about a month and a half ago, so lots of harvest prep and actual harvest time. Because he lives in Minnesota, it makes us feel even more connected; the weather we get is very similar to what they get, meaning we get to live it just a little. Paul and I had said to each other multiple times last week when it was raining “I wonder how Zach’s doing?” or “I wonder what Zach’s going to have to say about all this rain.”

Technology can be a really cool thing sometimes – in this instance, I’m glad we live in a world that has it! Makes us all feel just a little more connected in a positive way.

April 5th

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

Last year’s weeds.

Who would’ve known that the giant weed that I tried to pull and get rid of all summer would make the blog the following April.

The hoar frost sure was gorgeous this morning though. I drove along the Crow River on my way to one of my small groups, and the frost with the open, flowing (sometimes steamy) water was like eye candy.

I took this next one early this morning before the sun had really started to come up, when the fog was still visible, and the Bald Eagle was in the tree! He’s a small speck, but he’s there!


I just loved how you could see the line of fog. Everything underneath the line was so clear and crisp, but things in it were hazy and distorted.

A beautiful visual treat for sure.

February 1st

Thursday, February 1st, 2018

It may be past Christmas, but baby it’s cold outside!

While cleaning stalls this afternoon, Paul stepped into the sunlight streaming through a window and his breath lit up.

During the last cold snap, I wanted to do a “breath shot,” but I never got around to doing one. So the one thing good about it being cold again? This picture!

September 6th

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

One of my favorite moments of each day is this one.

Each morning, I drive up to the barn and am greeted by Bandit and both boys. Bandit barks, follows my car to make sure she’s the first to get love. The boys with their heads hung over the fence, ears tipped forward, low rumbling nickers encourage me to step out of the car.

This summer, you can add in kittens running from the barn to be right behind Bandit, ready for kisses and to tell me all about their night.

Animals have been an integral part of who I am for all of my life. Each one has their own personality, loyalty, understanding. So often more than humans. They understand taking time for the small moments, the routine, taking everything one day at a time. Never in a rush, always ready for a quiet moment of reminding me to soak in the blessings.

Each day starts with barks, kitten kisses, and nickers. I cannot think of a life I’d rather live.

June 15th

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

Happy and content buns make for relieved moms.

We’re eating almost completely back to normal and content enough to enjoy the sunshine, so I’m hoping we’ve officially turned the corner. One thing’s for sure: he takes his meds like a champ! I don’t even have to pick him up – he’ll just take the suringe on his own. Every little bit helps 🙂