Life in My Neighborhood

12 Nov


Of the five states and two countries I’ve lived in throughout my life, only one location has been deprived of noticeable seasonal changes, and I’m thankful I only lived there long enough to learn to sit up and eat solid foods. I’m sure that people living in Miami, as I did when I was born, get used to recognizing the seasons by what decorations are up in the stores, but I would miss the more obvious signs terribly if forced to give them up.

I would miss digging sweaters out of the depths of my closet, searching for matching snow boots, and wearing scarves as more than just accessories.

After the harvest.

After the harvest.

Here in southwest Minnesota the seasons can come in with a bang. I guess, if I had my druthers, I’d rather have the calmer, less brutal seasonal changes of Oregon or Washington than the IN YOUR FACE seasonal changes around here, but there is no denying that I get a lot of pleasure from watching the seasons through the palate of the farmer’s fields.

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In spring I love the daily changes in the fields, the minute corn and soybean plants beginning to poke their leaves above the soil, turning the brown earth into mint-green fields of promise. I adore spring, and all the more so since living through the Minnesota winters.

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But I also love watching the progress of harvest every autumn. I love seeing the combines sweeping back and forth across the fields. I especially love watching them at night when their headlights rise like the sun above the gentle folds and ridges of the countryside. Living as I do out in the country, it makes for an interesting time in the neighborhood – as opposed to the usual excitement of pheasants and feral cats.


I thought I’d leave you today with a few photos of harvest in SW Minnesota. Some of these shots are from this year, and some from previous autumns. This is life in my neighborhood.

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A few years ago Boo was given in a ride in a combine as they harvested corn.  She was thrilled!

A few years ago Boo was given in a ride in a combine as they harvested corn. She was thrilled!

The view from inside the cab as we dumped corn from the combine into the gravity wagon.

The view from inside the cab as we dumped corn from the combine into the gravity wagon.


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Literally the view from my window...

Literally the view from my window…





15 Responses to “Life in My Neighborhood”

  1. Minnesota Prairie Roots November 12, 2013 at 7:12 am #

    Oh, how viewing these images and reading your words makes me miss harvest time on the farm. But my camera still takes me there.

    I, too, love watching combines sweep across the fields. There’s something about harvest and something about the change of seasons that embraces the heart, although I am not much of a fan of long Minnesota winters anymore.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 12, 2013 at 8:46 am #

      Harvest is late this year. It always intrigues me how that varies year to year. It was 4 degrees this morning when we got into the car, but with no wind it was bearable! it’s that darn prairie wind that kills a person!!

      • Minnesota Prairie Roots November 14, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        Oh, I am laughing. The prairie wind, indeed. When Caleb was at NDSU in Fargo, he complained about the wind, the endless wind.

        • Gretchen O'Donnell November 17, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

          Yep. I always thought that coastal wind was the worst…but it’s not.

  2. treadlemusic November 12, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    That last photo is breathtaking!!! The corn harvest is in full swing here, also, although our topography doesn’t allow for such expansive views, the hum of the machines can be heard through the days on into the evenings. Here, in the Driftless Region of rugged ridge tops and shadowed valleys/coulees, there is the remnant of yesterday’s snowfall brightening the higher elevations. Minnesota is a state of great diversity! The seasonal changes are beautiful but, as the years progress, the cold is less and less tolerated well. Even at that, I can’t bring myself to join the “snowbird” category and flow with the Southward migration. The sun is shining, it’s 17F, with the promise of 40’s in a couple of days. What was considered “cold” a couple of months ago is now longed for!!!!!! LOL! Hugs……

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 12, 2013 at 8:45 am #

      This morning I was so thankful that there was no wind, because it was 4 degrees when I was pumping my gas and I actually felt ok! Wind would have made that awful! (Yes, I always wear a hat and mittens – I am a stickler for such things!) Yes, Minnesota has great diversity and I love that about it.

  3. francisguenette November 12, 2013 at 11:21 am #

    Exquisite photos – thanks. Embracing seasonal change – my thought for the day.

  4. cravesadventure November 12, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

    Beautiful Captures:) Thanks so much for sharing – Happy Tuesday!

  5. Jackie November 12, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

    I would get nothing done if I lived in your neighborhood. I’d be sitting in the window watching or in the combine bringing in the crops myself, we live close enough to the country that I do get to see some of that but I have to drive myself to it, and sometimes I do.

  6. Gwen Stephens November 12, 2013 at 7:45 pm #

    I’ll admit I’m appreciating the change of seasons much more in my middle age. I always say I’d love to live someplace that’s warm year round, but if I really think about it, I’m not so sure that’s true. I don’t know any other way of life. I’m sure you know we have the same IN YOUR FACE change of seasons here in Chicago, too. Our first snowfall of the season was yesterday, November 11, while 2 months earlier (Sept. 8), schools closed due to extreme heat. Extremes that can cause whiplash in the uninitiated!

    Gorgeous photos. Some of those prairie shots make me think of Laura Ingalls 🙂

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 14, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Yeah, we’ve had snow several times now, too. But today is supposed to be 50ish. Makes it hard to know what coat to grab. Walnut Grove (and Laura Ingalls) is about 1.5 hours from here!!

  7. Gemma Hawdon November 14, 2013 at 2:47 am #

    Your photos are stunning Gretchen – especially the last one, I love the colours. Like you, I love seasons too – although Melbourne appears to be a little lost at present as we seem to have gone backwards into Winter again!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 14, 2013 at 7:08 am #

      That’s not good! We’re alternating between snow and then 50 degrees (f) the next day! Gets hard to know what to wear. That last photo – I saw the trees and had to take it!

  8. November 26, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    Oh, wow…is that where we get our corn now-days? That is a *ton* of corn! Down here in Alabama, we see some farms with corn, but not that much. We do get some nice changes of seasons, but no snow. How we wish for snow…every. single. year. We’ve only heard about people having to shovel their drive ways. Sometimes we get snow, here around the Huntsville, AL area, but it’s usually all gone by noon. We watch the tv–my husband, dau, and I– hoping. Just hoping for snow. Some of the other grown-ups around here don’t like it b/c everything gets shut down. We don’t have equipment to deal w/ it b/c we just don’t get much. But not my fam. Bring! It! On! 😉

    • Gretchen O'Donnell November 27, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      Yes, I laugh at my nieces out in Washington where their schools shut down at two inches…but you’re right, if you don’t have the equipment/salt/etc. to deal with it, there’s no other safe option! I wish that someone would invent self-thawing roads. That would be perfection.

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