We started our 4th of July 2012 with a photography trip through Porcupine – an unincorporated community in Pepin County, WI. Air temperatures were expected to approach records, and the heat index was near 110 degrees in some areas, but the sweltering heat did not stop us as we ventured out that day. Our plan was to photograph the beautiful rolling hills of this area and to visit an old, abandoned farmhouse that Dan had photographed in the winter of 2011.
Instantly, sweat started forming on our brows as we stepped out of the air-conditioned car. The light caught my eye as it danced across the roof of the old farmhouse and I thought to myself “This place is worth the sweltering heat” and stepped inside. With any abandoned building there comes a story – one you may know while others are fabricated in your mind as you view what was left behind. As I walk the floors of these abandoned buildings sometimes my mind does wander and I become lost behind my camera’s viewfinder. Dan is usually right there bringing me back into reality when the dangers of walking into these buildings become apparent. However, on this particular day the roles were somewhat reversed only I didn’t see the threat coming… neither did Dan. All I heard was a crack, bang, and a rustle, followed by air escaping from Dan’s mouth. As I turned around, I saw Dan pulling his leg out of the old floorboards. After making sure he was okay (seeing only a few scraps and a large bruise forming on his upper thigh), I turned to hide a smile that was forming on my lips. Sometimes, I have this problem of seeing the humor in events at the wrong time (only after making sure no one is hurt of course). A smile did form on Dan’s face as well after the realization that he too can become engrossed in what he is trying to photograph. Among the rickety floorboards was the sight of bird nests constructed on the old walls and the intense sound of humming from within the walls and ceilings… Yes, the vibration caused by the movement of thousands of tiny little wings was heard and felt. We left with the appreciation of Mother Nature in how it can adapt by turning the ruins of man into a shelter or temporary home.
In the winter of 2013, we again took the trip out to Porcupine Valley to visit this old farmstead only to see the ruins of its’ foundation.
We had learned later that this home was burnt to the ground in December of 2012. To make way for new, old structures are demolished and a little piece of history is gone forever.
This is why we do what we do.
To see Dan’s work from this site, please click on the following links:
Porcupine Valley Farmstead