Thursday, March 25, 2021



The calendar says spring has arrived, and there are many signs of it out and about.  The reality is that it’s still March in the North Country, and who knows what weather we might get in the future.  Still, there are some signs of spring out in farm country.


 The ponds were finally free of ice, and it was great to see waterfowl returning, such as this pair of mallards.


 In a second pond, I saw a couple of geese.  I wondered whether they were passing through or looking for a spot in the deep grass to nest.


 The sounds of spring are different too.  I’ve been hearing lots of Red-winged Blackbirds at home and also near the wetlands on this photoshoot.


 I love it when these birds get all puffed out when they give out their down-slurring trills.  These birds fill the air with their songs.


 The fields were also mostly free of snow, and their golden grasses highlighted this stand-alone tree.  Can leaves be far behind?


 But the biggest surprise came last, when I rounded the corner and found these two Sandhill Cranes pecking away in the field, as they foraged for grains and insects.


 I have a theory about these two.  In the years since I’ve lived in Traverse City, I’ve seen two cranes in the early spring near this farm every year.  I believe it’s where they live.


 I’d hoped to catch them in a mating dance, but that’ll have to wait for another time.  Now that I know this pair is back, I’ll be watching for that to happen.

 I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed the afternoon drive.  Gracie had her head out the window most of the time, watching all the new critters that Spring had brought us.



Thursday, March 18, 2021



I’d been waiting all winter for the sun to come far enough north to photograph a sunset.  According to my Photographer's Ephemeris app, that time had arrived.  I headed out to Old Mission Peninsula Saturday evening to catch the last sunset before the change to Daylight Saving Time would make them later in the evening.  There were some low clouds, but they made the sunset interesting as the sun sank lower in the sky.  Turned out to be a pretty good one, too. 

Thursday, March 11, 2021



Sunday afternoon was gorgeous, and Gracie and I headed out into the countryside.  We passed the area where we’d often seen Bald Eagles, but the ground was quite bare of roadkill, and we only saw a few eagles in distant trees.  


 We weren’t far from a small horse farm and saw some riders saddling up.  Looks like they were intending to enjoy the sunshine and warm temperatures too.


 There were four horseback riders in all.  We also saw plenty of people out walking that afternoon.


 As we reached the horse farm, there was a lone horse in the fenced area.  It wasn’t happy and was circling around its yard.  Perhaps it didn’t like being left behind.


 The horse went to the hill at the back of the property and surveyed the hillsides.  Where did they go?


 The whole time the horse was running around the corral, it was neighing as it threw his head up and down.  I felt bad for him.


 The horse finally calmed down, and it came over to the fence to visit Gracie and me.  He was a beauty!  I realized this was a horse I’d photographed a few years back at another property and had nicknamed Blondie.


 I went back to my old blog from September of 2018, named Camouflage Artist, and was pretty sure it was the same horse.  I was surprised at how different the environment was at its former farm.  

I remember having difficulty getting the horse to look at me, but I can see it has the same blaze on its head as this horse.

I enjoyed re-visiting Blondie at the new farm and hoped his buddies would return soon.  After all, most of us enjoy having a little company as we go about our lives.


Thursday, March 4, 2021



We were returning from a photoshoot in farm country when we passed Oleson’s Buffalo Farm on Kyselka Road, off U.S. 31 heading into Traverse City.


 The herd was out grazing on the hillsides.  Abundant blocks of hay were spread around giving the critters plenty of food for the winter.


 As I drove on, I saw the half-empty storage barn where the hay bales were stored.  Buffalo eat a LOT!


 Although commonly known as buffalo, this species is officially known as the American Bison.  Can you imagine feeding this herd where each critter weighs between 800-2800 pounds?


 Gracie’s nose started wiggling as soon as we drove onto Kyselka Road.  She immediately popped up from her seat to my lap, hanging out the window as I tried to shoot.  She didn’t bark, but was immensely curious about these critters.


 While these bison appeared unconcerned with our presence, their behavior can be unpredictable.  I imagined what damage those massive heads could do if used as battering rams.  Add in the horns as weapons, and, well, you get the gory picture.


 We watched a couple of young bison race up a hill in their lumbering gallop, kicking up snow as they moved.  They can reach speeds of 35 mph.


 The photography was a challenge due to the hilly topography.  Fences and scrub trees surrounded the whole area too.  I was able to get a young bison following its mother up the hill to a feed area.



Through the fence holes, I photographed these two watching us intently.  I couldn't help but wonder how strong the fence was that held these critters in.


 As we turned around to head for home, I noticed the operational farm sitting idyllically in a valley.  While I wasn't shooting in black and white, the scene certainly looked that way.