Found… The long lost album. Over a year old, I still remember this album well; coming across this one was a fun find which brought back wonderful memories. We ran across a few faces, and a couple of properties left behind on this day. Both of the furry girls pictured are not with us today, but are still missed, and what we think is a 2-story schoolhouse was a chance find. Driving down the country roads in Wisconsin, I happened to spot the bell tower of this magnificent building; we stopped and captured what we could. Unfortuately, both Dan and I could not find much information on this building, but I know there is history here. Someday, it would be interesting to find out more about this property, but then again, we would have to find it again 🙂
Tag Archives: Backroading
Watching the leaves float on the wind as they drop one by one to the ground and viewing the beautiful colors that dot the landscape, is just a couple reasons why Autumn is one of my favorite seasons in Minnesota. It was a beautiful Fall day that pulled us both outside; breathing in the crisp cool air that this season brings is what we both needed. The vibrant colors, the personality of “Mr. Ed”, and the travels to and from Minneapolis was just another day to add in the banks of my mind. Take a journey with us as we show you some highlights of the day.
Off the Beaten Path
When Dan and I travel, we rarely take the direct route. Venturing off the beaten path is where the fun is. On this particular trip, the end goal was Pipestone, MN which is located at the very Southwestern corner of MN. There were many towns along the way that we made a mental note to stop back and explore further at a later date and time. A few mentionable towns we decided, for some reason or another, to stop in were Gibbon and Walnut Grove MN.
As we traveled through Gibbon, MN a few of the business caught our eye and seemed to bring us back to another point in time. Gibbon Village Hall is an extremely interesting building; the unusual building was built in 1895 with medieval-themed Romanesque Revival architecture. We also took some time out of our travels to walk into Bad Dog Antiques and Other Attractions and were pleasantly surprised. What a very interesting and unique store… I am still kicking myself for not purchasing the complete antique set of alphabet wooden blocks! If ever in the area, stop in and chat with the friendly staff. To see more images from Gibbon, MN take the time to view Dan’s blog, “Gibbon, MN/MN South Central”.
Located in the Southwest corner of Redwood County, Lies a small town called Walnut Grove. Walnut Grove is known nationwide today as the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Every year, the town holds a Wilder Pageant which is an outdoor drama based of the life of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although there are no pictures of the historical site in this blog, I remember visiting the banks of Plum creek often as a child since my grandmother lived and taught school in a small town located east of this area in Lamberton.
The Horse Knows the Way
The beautiful rolling hills and bluffs that overlook the Wisconsin River Valley are breath-taking. Dan and I started and ended a weekend photographing Southeastern MN and Southwestern WI and experiencing the artist community in and around Spring Green, WI. This land is part of the Driftless area, which was left untouched by the glaciers of the Ice Age millions of years ago.
Driving the backroads and taking in the country air will forever be a favorite of mine. With every turn of the road, you may find an old barn, an abandoned farmstead, the Amish towns, interesting livestock, wildlife galore, or River valleys with breath-taking views… Wonders for a photographer’s eye.
Some of the main attractions of this area today include Taliesin, which after 1937, was the estate of architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, and House on the Rock. We did not make it to Taliesin but we did visit House of the Rock. As a child, I remember walking these halls and seeing the many collections that reside here. As an adult, I was astonished and amazed that one man had this eccentric vision to create what we see today… The world’s most bizarre and immense collection of stuff.
According to Wikipedia,
The song, Winter Wonderland, was originally written in 1934 by Felix Bernard (music) and Richard B. Smith (lyrics). Throughout the years, it has been recorded by over 150 different artist!
When it snows, ain’t it thrillin’?
Tho’ your nose, gets a chillin’
We’ll frolic and play, the Eskimo way,
Walkin’ in a Winter Wonderland.
Please enjoy some of the frolicking we have done in our little Winter Wonderland.
When the School Bell Rang
The first time seeing this one room schoolhouse along side a country road near the small town of Elgin, in southern Minnesota, was exciting to say the least. As we got out of the car and walked closer to the shell of this former schoolhouse, I could almost hear the chalk as it slid across the black board or the children that used to learn under her roof. The images in this post are from the two times we have visited this little gem at two very different times of the year.
This old schoolhouse reminded me not only of the children that walked through the door, but also of the teachers that encouraged these students daily to learn and grow.
I would like to take the time to thank every teacher I have had the privilege of learning from. My fourth grade math teacher that pushed me to apply myself to the schoolwork when I didn’t want to because he knew that I could… and I did. To my Chemistry teacher in college that made learning the subject so fun that I completely understood, without even trying. Math and Science is now one of my strong points, Thank you.
To all the teachers out there, I thank you for your time and dedication you put forth on a day-to-day basis… Keep believing in all of your students and they will believe in themselves.
A Grandmother and the Peacock.
This post is dedicated to my grandmother who left this world back in 2013, her smile and knowledge is missed to this day.
I have always admired my grandmother who raised 3 children on her own after losing her husband back in 1963. A strong, intelligent woman who pushed through thick and thin with her head held high.
I remember the “candy drawer” and the excitement of pulling the drawer open the moment we would arrive at Grandmother’s house. I remember the games played, the stories told, her quilting, and the smile she had on her face whenever family was around. I do wish that I had learned the art of hand sewn quilting from the master 🙂
Her knowledge and support throughout my childhood will remain part of me until the end of time.
It was a beautiful winter day, cold, but not too cold, and the sun was shining bright causing a vivid blue sky. Dan was by my side as we made our way down to Lamberton, in the southwestern portion of Minnesota. A drive that I had not made since my grandmother moved closer to my mother in early 2003.
We stopped in New Ulm, and toured the August Schell Brewing Company, a place full of history and beautiful old buildings; I would imagine that we will head back that way in the near future. We were surprised to see peacocks roaming the grounds and managed to photograph them. I have always been drawn to the jewel toned colors that these amazing birds display.
Only after working through this album, and researching this magnificent bird, did I learn of the symbolism it represents. I was shocked to find that in many cultures, this bird has played a significant role. I found this symbolism fitting not only for the situation, but also as a reminder of who my grandmother was.
- In Christianity, the peacock represents resurrection, renewal, and immortality within its teachings.
- In Buddhism they symbolize wisdom.
- In Hinduism, the peacock is associated with Lakshmi who represents patience, kindness, and luck.
The following legend struck a cord was one of my favorites:
The peacock has been linked to Kuan Yin and it is this deity that is supposedly the creator of the beautiful colors of the peacock’s signature tail feathers. The myth tells us Kuan Yin could have been immortal but stayed because she wished to aid humanity in their spiritual evolution. Kuan Yin taught people, through her own compassionate spirit, to lie together as friends. When she decided to go to the heavens, she appointed a guardian to keep the earth peaceful. She called a bird, with dull brown feathers to her. She rubbed her face and brushed her hands down the length of its feathers, which created a kaleidoscope of colors and beautiful eyes on the end of each long feather. Therefore, the Peacock’s feathers remind us that Kuan Yin is compassionately watching over us.
I would like to thank my husband, Dan, for standing by my side. For the support (and the Kleenex) you gave me each time I needed it… I love you dearly.
In Memory of
Esther Marie (Lee) Redman was born on August 15, 1917 in Emmet County, Iowa. She was the daughter of George and Dena Lee. She graduated from Sanborn High School in 1937. She was united in marriage to Willis G. Redman on July 25, 1942 in Sanborn, MN. Esther attended and graduated from Mankato State University with a Bachelors of Science Degree in Elementary Education. She taught in one room country schools until 1960 when she began teaching in Lamberton and was employed there until her retirement in 1980. She was a member of the United Methodist Church in Lamberton, MN.
Esther died on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 at Farmstead (Presbyterian Homes) in Andover, MN at the age of 95 years.
We miss you and know you are there still watching over us.
Please enjoy the images from that trip.
The Architect of the Snow Flake
He who marvels at the beauty of the world in summer will find equal cause for wonder and admiration in winter…. In winter the stars seem to have rekindled their fires, the moon achieves a fuller triumph, and the heavens wear a look of a more exalted simplicity.
~John Burroughs, “The Snow-Walkers,” 1866
It is the life of the crystal, the architect of the flake, the fire of the frost, the soul of the sunbeam. This crisp winter air is full of it.
~John Burroughs, “Winter Sunshine”
Following the Rails of North Dakota
The Dakota Territory was settled sparsely until the late 19th century, when the railroads entered the region and vigorously marketed the land.
According to Wikipedia:
“The success of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Great Northern Railroad was based on the abundant crops and rapidly increasing settlement in the Red River Valley along the Minnesota border between 1871 and 1890.”
“The railroad was the engine of settlement for the state. The Northern Pacific Railroad was given land grants by the federal government so that it could borrow money to build its system. The federal government kept every other section of land and gave it away to homesteaders. Meanwhile, the Great Northern Railroad energetically promoted settlement along its lines in the northern portion of the state. The Great Northern Railroad bought its lands from the federal government, as it received no land grants, and resold the land to farmers one by one. It operated agencies in Germany and Scandinavia that promoted its lands and brought families over at low cost.”
“The battle between The Great northern Railway and Soo line Railroad to control access across northern North Dakota resulted in 500 miles of new track and more than 50 new town sites just in one year. Many of the towns sites were never settled and were abandoned”
Towns began to dot the countryside as growth followed the rails. As the population of North Dakota declined, the buildings were left under the care of Mother Nature. Follow the old railway lines and you may just find yourself in the presence of a ghost town yourself. Many of these abandoned towns and the land that these debilitated buildings reside on, are now privately owned. Stories of the old inhabitants that once lived in these homes or worked in the buildings flowed though my mind as we drove through the empty streets.
The back roads of North Dakota were unlike any other that we have encountered. Some roads would end in a marshland full of migrating birds others would just end… Road Closed.
Abandoned outside of Forbes, North Dakota
The only song we heard walking through fields of tall grass as we approached this abandoned farmstead, was the North Dakota wind as it howled through the branches of the old Maple trees. The excitement grew as we came closer to the house. The wonder of what you may find as the old rickety door is pushed open, is like reading the first pages of a novel. Sometimes it grabs you and pulls you in, other times it just holds your attention. There wasn’t much left as the plaster of the walls started disintegrating long, long ago. The trusty Hoover is still waiting to clean up the mess time has left behind.
Each of these properties hide a plot line (with or without clues) and the fun part for me is to create the characters and scenario played out in times past.