We were in Rice Lake at a 60th birthday celebration last weekend. I very much enjoy that area of Wisconsin and the areas surrounding Hwy 48 West of Rice Lake (which I have photographed a few times now). We took the opportunity this trip to further investigate the abandoned site with the wooden silo. The farm/greenhouse that used old rusty cars as flower planters was interesting as well.
True to form and with almost every experience we have out on the country back roads - we found another site; this one was in the middle of a cornfield. Cyndie spotted the lone silo in the middle of the cornfield and noticed the road leading to it. I’ve come to recognize the non-audible signals she offers – there wasn’t any mistaking the signal at this moment and a minute later we were in the middle of a cornfield in the high grass. The number of grasshoppers were amazing as we took a little break in our new-found solitude from the already calming country road. It seemed as good a time as any to let the wiener’s stretch their little legs and perhaps fire up the Tootsie roll machine.
There was only one outbuilding and a small barn left of this farmstead. The small barn was barely visible through the overgrowth of trees and tall grass. Its contents were typical – old window frames, a stove and a plethora of various animal droppings. What I love most about these buildings is the character of the wood and the interesting light that seeps in through windows, doorways and the cracks in the wood along the sides and ceiling.
We actually ran into some real and very alive swans. On an outing this past April we thought we had spotted some swans on a small pond until after several frames and closer proximity revealed to us that they were decoys. That was a hilarious realization. I can’t seem to locate the photos of that blunder; perhaps I deleted them out of embarrassment.
This last weekend Cyndie and I took advantage of the continued beautiful weather and shoot our way to Rice Lake, WI via Isanti, MN (that is the long, long way for those not familiar with the area). Small communication glitch as to our final destination; it’s was all good though. We had a pretty long and varied path full of interesting things to shoot along the way.
We started the day hopeful for a beautiful sunrise, but instead we were met with glorious fog. An acceptable alternative indeed. Fog is an interesting animal; the way it creates layers and softens object in the distance is quite fun to shoot. After a few hours of playing with fog we headed North on back roads towards Isanti via Hudson, WI; up through Lake Elmo and onto Mahtomedi. We also drove around Hugo, Forrest Lake and Wyoming before we hit Interstate 35 and eventually our first stop in Isanti. Beautiful country all around. At one point we were going down a road and we spotted two swans in a pond just off the road. We quickly turned off to take a closer look. Upon arrival at the water’s edge it wasn’t completely apparent that the swans were in fact decoys, but it became very clear rather quickly. We had a good laugh and got on our way before the locals laughed themselves silly at the sight of us photographing their swan decoy’s.
After a stop in Isanti we meandered a considerable distance East to St. Croix Falls, WI. With DQ Crunch cones in hand, we headed North on 87 towards Grantsburg and to a location of a barn I had shot before on a previous outing; specifically this barn/photo. While we were shooting and older gentleman pulled over to stop and chat. He stated that this barn was actually a creamery back in the day (1940-1950′s) and supported the war effort with dairy products. I am still in the process of researching this and will hopefully have a post out soon.
We did manage to stumble upon an abandoned house as we headed West. It wasn’t really that old of a structure and was more of a slightly tattered home full of messes, but abandoned none-the-less.
After a bit we found ourselves on Hwy 48 heading towards our final destination – Rice Lake, WI. Anyone that has traveled this stretch of roads know that this is a little piece of barn-shooter paradise. We did stumble upon an all-wood silo; I have never seen one before this day. It was in good shape, full of texture and ripe with color. The day was getting on and dinner awaited our arrival at 6 p.m. in Rice Lake. It was time to hasten the pace towards our final destination and pass up shiny and interesting things along the final stretch. Hwy 48 is full of interesting thing; we’ll be back. 230+ miles and a 12 hr. day. Life is good.
While all of the Turkey Day eats were baking and grilling, I took the opportunity to meander around the Rice Lake, WI area. I had no trouble finding great scenery just outside of town to the South and West. There are several back roads just outside of the Blue Hills. A truly beautiful area; I plan on spending some additional time in this area as I barely scratched the surface.