Posts Tagged ‘photography’

Sunday Scenes

June 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Quiet for months, I know, I know. Blogging < crazy planting season. Bear with me. Until then, some scenes from my Sunday.

Good Morning!

Mixing Loads


My interesting choice of reading material for the day

At the end of the day, this robin in the tree above my house.


On a More Personal Note

March 7, 2011 2 comments

Lots of ag, not much life on the blog, lately. It’s been a long, sometimes difficult winter. I’m never in the best of moods during winter; it’s decidedly my least favorite season. Just ask Jenne about putting up with me through most of January. So I’m really, really looking forward to putting winter behind me, and moving into the part of the year where I actually accomplish things. That said, this winter wasn’t a complete letdown, I tried to lay the groundwork for a couple of things I really want to accomplish this year.

First, I started actually working on my personal fitness. It’s always been something I basically ignored, and tried to convince myself that walking around corn fields and throwing seed bags for a few months out of the year would keep me ‘in shape’. The fact is, that my weight has been creeping up over the last couple of years, and tossing 20 bags of seed got me winded a lot faster than it used to. My cholesterol levels in the blood test I took for life insurance last year showed the ‘bad’ stuff somewhat higher than it should be. When I go to meetings for work, many of my older colleagues are decidedly round, overweight, and look like they’d have trouble walking to their truck outside, much less a mile across a field of corn stubble. I don’t want to be that guy. So, I started to think about what to do to NOT be that guy.

I got lucky, and ended up with an unused elliptical machine from a couple of friends who were moving cross country, and didn’t want to take it with them. I’ve kept up a pretty regular schedule 3-4 times a week since mid-January on the machine. Aside from a brief flirtation with a gym membership a few years ago, I’ve never exercised regularly, so this is something of a breakthrough. I don’t know what I weighed when I started (didn’t own a scale until recently), but I currently weigh in at 185…I’ve been as high as 210 in the past, so anything under 190 makes me pretty happy. My endurance has increased a lot, and I think I just generally feel a bit better…I almost look forward to coming home from work and running. I should probably figure out something to do upper body-wise, but for getting the heart rate up, this has worked well.

I have a Trek 7300 bicycle on reserve as soon as I bother to get down to the bike store in Woodstock and pick it up. As soon as the weather warms up, I’ll be out on the bike path near my house, seeing if I can put on some mileage. I’ve set myself a few goals. I want to bike to work, occasionally. That’s 7 miles one way, all on the path except for the trip through town at the end. Once I can manage that, I want to make it to McHenry for coffee via The Prairie Trail. That’s 17 miles one way, and I’d have to do the return trip for a total of 34…maybe be a bit much to bite off right away. If that goes well, I might try the 50 mile route of the Harmon Hundred in September. Maybe. I know me…I sometimes have wild-eyed, lofty ideas that never quite get followed through on…but I think I’d like to do this.

Speaking of wild-eyed, crazy ideas, Jenne and I are still thinking about the jam-making business. I haven’t been as pro-active about this as I probably should have, I’ve been a bit despondent about actually finding a commercial kitchen to rent, and if I can’t find that, there’s little point in doing any of the other prep work. Jenne has continued to fiddle with recipes (we need to give away more jam. Anyone?), and I finally got the idea to talk to the county health inspector. We had a phone conversation last Friday, and he seemed to know where I was going with things. We have a meeting this coming Thursday, and I’m hoping he can help me make sense out of the confusing morass of regulations and statutes that I’ve been reading. And maybe give us a lead on kitchens.

And in the ‘oops’ category, I’ve blown my attempt at a 365 photo project. I made it almost all the way through February, which is actually farther than I thought I would make it. And although I can’t claim to have taken a picture every day this year, anymore, I’m still going to take a lot of photos on a lot of days. Here’s one of my favorite shots from the month, to close out with.

February 5

Categories: Personal Tags: , , ,


January 9, 2011 2 comments

I was out in the country on Saturday with the camera, looking for some interesting scenery when I saw this tiny, ancient graveyard in the middle of a field. You see these from time to time in the country, and they’re usually really old, and the headstones often leave you wondering. This one was no exception.

I was on Vanderkaar road, so of course there are Vanderkaars buried in the cemetery.


Stewart Road is the north-south road just to the west, and there are Stewarts, too. Joseph was born in 1795! Lived a long life, too. He was almost certainly a farmer; there wasn’t much else in this area in the mid-1800s.


These next two photos struck me. Mr. and Mrs. Lumley’s baby died at 6 months, apparently without a name? The 1800s were harsh. The modern toys at the gravestone are interesting. Maybe whoever mows the site left them.


Jennie E. was only 23 when she passed. Maybe in childbirth? Tragic. This may be one of the older gravestones in the cemetery.


On the other hand, there are also some modern burials. I saw a couple of dates from the early 2000s. There’s also at least one WWI veteran, with a nicely kept up wreath and flag by his side.


My fingers were getting numb at this point, so I packed it in. I was fascinated by the age of some of these stones; I’ll probably go back on a warmer day and take another look. I’d like to see if there are any older than 1866.

There are just a few more pictures in this set up on Flickr

Categories: Photography Tags: ,


December 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I had a very busy Christmas schedule this past weekend that capped off with hosting my in-laws for a Sunday evening dinner (for which I baked a pie). They departed late in the evening, and then promptly returned with a nearly flat tire. The aluminum rim was stuck tightly to the steel hub, and after hammering at it with a lightweight rubber mallet and prying at it with an inadequate crowbar, we finally gave up and dad-in-law called AAA. The truck driver brought a very hefty mallet with him, and had the tire off in no time. It was later still when they left for the second time. Jenne and I went to bed shortly afterwards, leaving mounds of dishes in the kitchen, and none of our usual weekend chores and rituals completed.

I woke up with absolutely no desire to go to work. So, I didn’t. I had vacation time to burn, no appointments scheduled, and my boss is really good about letting me run my own schedule within reason. It was definitely the right decision. I mentioned on Twitter earlier that I’m in a much better state of mind to deal with work tomorrow than I was this morning. Every now and then, you just need to take a sanity day. It does leave me with just a three day work week this week. Next week as well, since I’m taking Monday and Tuesday off to go to the Wisconsin Small Fruit and Vegetable Conference with Jenne.

I will mention one gift I received, as it will impact this blog. My parents were extremely generous this year, as they often are, and gifted me with a Panasonic Lumix G2 camera. Somewhat smaller and lighter than a full-on Nikon or Canon DSLR, this is still an extremely capable interchangeable lens camera with configuration settings for its configurations. It’s a pretty sweet piece of tech. I’m really looking forward to getting out and shooting with this and seeing what I can come up with. I’m already saving up to buy a 20mm fast prime lens.

So, definitely more photoblogging of an ag-related flavor to come, although we’ve got the winter to get through, first. We delivered 85 tons of starter fertilizer (fertilizer that farmers apply to the field at the same time they are planting seed) to a customer’s fertilizer storage last week; he joked that spring must be right around the corner. It’s a corner down a really long street, but I think I see it…

Speaking of future plans, I’m looking for content ideas for On the Stateline over the winter, when I can’t talk about the latest bug infestation or crop progress. I’ll be taking some notes at the winter agriculture conferences I’ll be attending over the next few weeks, and will continue to update the progress Jenne and I make (or don’t make!) in starting up a jam business. What else do you want to see?

Categories: Personal Tags: ,

Best of 2010

December 23, 2010 1 comment

I promised some photoblogging when I started this, and since I haven’t been taking many photos lately, let’s take a look back at some of my favorite shots from 2010.


We took a trip to Montreal, Canada in September. This shot is from the top of Mont Royal at the Chalet du Mont Royal. The Chalet itself was pretty boring, but the view of downtown Montreal was spectacular.


We visited a yarn store while we were in Montreal. Jenne couldn’t resist this ball of multicolored yarn. This was taken in one of the many cafes in downtown Montreal, near the waterfront.

Barn and Silo

This beautiful old barn and silo is in the middle of a subdivision, next to a 20 acre field a customer of mine farms. The field and the barn are surrounded either by houses or a swamp and a lake. I have no idea why it is still farmed, by all rights it should have been houses years ago. This was an iPhone shot, I’ll be going back next spring with a better camera. There aren’t many silos like this in existence in this area, anymore.


My father, on the ladder to his Gleaner R52 combine.


A stitched together landscape view of the farm I grew up on, as viewed from our south pastures. I shot the farm from three or four different directions at different times this fall, and this was the only view that really worked for me. I need to go a little nuts taking pictures around the farm next year, as I’m starting to doubt how long it will still be there, and I’m really, really going to miss it if it goes away.

Possibly my favorite shot of the year. Our friends Misti and Joe got married in November, this is Joe dancing with his mother. Something about the song they were playing was especially meaningful to mom…and I got this shot.

I think I’ll leave it there; that’s a good sampling. No more blog entries until after Christmas, I hope all of you have a great one!


December 18, 2010 1 comment

December 18 – Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

I’ve already talked about my big idea for 2011. Jenne and I will be looking into how we can move forward on the jam production portion of that idea this next year. That’s something that will certainly take time and energy, and there are a lot of challenges in the way. Check back next year to see how I fared.

Aside from that, I have some modest personal things to try out. One is exercise more. Well, start exercising, to be honest. When I left college, where I did a fair amount of biking around campus, I weighed around 165. Now, I fluctuate between 190 and 210. Spring and summer I’m more active walking fields and moving seed bags and chemical jugs. In the winter I tend to sit around and attend lots of meetings with donuts and fattening lunches. I tried the gym thing a couple of years ago; that worked for maybe two months. So I’ve been debating buying a bike or a used elliptical trainer. The elliptical has the advantage of being usable year round, the bike has the advantage of being actually fun to use.  I live right on a bike trail, and it goes in such a direction that I could even amuse my coworkers by biking to work a few times a week.

The bike, though, doesn’t help me fight my winter weight gain. Maybe I should just buy a couple months worth of gym membership for the winter, use a little self discipline, and GO. And then get the bike in March.

On the completely frivolous side of things, I want to dabble a bit more seriously with photography. I carry an older point and shoot camera with me at work a lot, and have built up a few years’ worth of photos over at Flickr. Having an iPhone all last season was fun; anytime I wanted a camera I had one in my pocket, albeit a rather limited one. This was fun for use with Twitter, and even for getting second opinions on diagnosing crop problems .

I’m thinking of  getting a more serious camera, and actually paying attention to what I shoot. Half the fun would be figuring out camera jargon; f-stops, shutter speeds, aperture, depth of field, ect. ect. I’ve never done much beyond hit the shutter button on my current camera. I want to continue to shoot a lot of agriculture-related subjects, especially around the home farm. Chicago is a massively photo-rich environment, and I have a long day trip I want to do via Metra and the South Shore Line to the Indiana Dunes that would be fun to use a high-powered camera on.

I think these two things, combined with business research, plus all the normal challenges of my job, is plenty to bite off for next year.