Saturday, July 14, 2012

Travels and ponderings

For a long time now, I have been fascinated by old barns, and saddened as I watch them fall, one by one.  Now that I am a woman of (ahem) leisure, I have decided one of my side projects is to try to make a photo record of some of them before they are gone.  As I do this, I plan to share some of the better ones in this space from time to time.  So far, I don't have any better ones, so I'll share the "not so better" ones. : )

This barn is at 46th Street and 44th Avenue in Van Buren County
view of the sky through the roof of the old barn
 My car doesn't know how to drive past 44th Avenue, so we turned down the road. Some years, throughout the summer, I can meander down 44th Avenue on foot or with the car idling its way at 10 or 15 miles per hour, all the windows down and the swamp chorus filling the car. Today the only thing filling the car was deer fly.  They pace the car in flocks, flinging themselves against the car windows in a chorus of tiny thumps.

I leaped out of the car briefly to take this photo of what I call the Swamp Road.

After the bridge crosses the Paw Paw River, the forest becomes drier, although this year, who can tell? But there is a channel a little farther on that is one of my regular stops when I come here. 

Just moments after I took this picture a Belted Kingfisher dived into the water in this very spot.

Today, when I stopped here, a Wood Duck hen with about 5 well grown ducklings swam hurriedly down the channel before I could get out my camera. In the past I have seen both Wood Ducks and Hooded Mergansers with their downy young here.  An enormous Snapping Turtle was hauled out on the road another time at this spot, and when the water level is high, Great Blue Herons and Common Egrets fish in the middle of the road. The icing on the cake is that there is also usually a singing Cerulean Warbler here in the spring and early summer. 

After you leave the Swamp Road, you get back into the agricultural lands, and the barns. Mourning Doves and Barn Swallows are everywhere, as are these wildflowers. While they are certainly not rare, they are some of my favorites.  They have come to mean summer to me, like the voice of the yellow-billed cuckoo that was calling behind me when I took these pictures. 


Queen Anne's Lace

Until next time, enjoy the summer in your own amazing place.

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