Skip navigation

Monthly Archives: July 2012

Lots of hills, and occasionally some trees are what make up the landscape of the Palouse.  In late Spring, the newly planted crops are just beginning to sprout.  They are an intense, vibrant yellow-green and seem to almost grow right before your eyes.  The new growth on the trees echoes the green hills, and some of the trees are almost camouflaged against the sprouts surrounding them.

I love how the one big tree with the dark green foliage stands out amid all the lighter greens.  It anchors the image and provides a place for your eyes to come to rest after they slide down the smooth curve of the hill in the foreground.

 

If there’s a company that’s synonymous with farm machinery, it would have to be John Deere.  Founded in 1837, they are “the leading manufacturer of agricultural machinery in the world” according to Wikipedia.

As I was driving through the Palouse backroads, I came upon this tractor mailbox which was completely in its element in this farming region of eastern Washington state.

“It’s okay, guys.  Go ahead and sleep.  I’ll take the first watch.”

In my imagination, that’s what the horse that’s sitting up seems to be saying to his sleeping companions.  This was taken early on a drizzly morning in the Palouse, and I guess the equine buddies were feeling lazy.  Horse people will tell you, it’s rare to see these guys completely sacked out like this.  And they were unconcerned about me pulling over on the road to photograph them.

I also got a kick out of the fact that just as in the “Seeing Double” post from July 26, 2012, the two horses on either end are in the same position.

I hope they had a good nap.  I had a lot more shooting to do that day, so I left them to their slumber and continued on down the highway.  As you know, it’s always best to let sleeping horses lie.

Another “Sea of Green” view, this one more monochromatic than the post on 07.19.12.  This shot reminds me of huge swells on the ocean.  And like the swells on the ocean, these green hills roll on as far as the eye can see.

The Palouse is a dry-farming region, so I’m sure rain clouds are welcome most of the time.

 

This house appears to be abandoned, but the property isn’t, as evidenced by the recently-erected silo behind it, and the fact that the field are planted.  My guess is that the family that owns this property built a newer house and let this one go.  The brick foundation and both chimneys are crumbling.  The roof is mossy and probably leaks.  Several windows are broken out, and have only half-heartedly been boarded up.

But as I was driving by this charming old farmhouse, she caught my eye, and I had to stop and take a closer look.  First of all, I’m a sucker for dormers.  I know they’re a dead giveaway that there’s no headroom on the second floor, but I think they add a lot of character to the roofline of a building.  I like the stained glass border on the bay window, and the dainty trim between the first and second floor.  I mentioned in another post that I grew up in a house with double-hung windows, so of course they scream “Home!” to me.  And finally, did you notice the little curlicue flourishes at the end of every ridge on the roof?  I have no idea what they’re called in architecture-speak, but I think they’re cute-as-can-be.

Like so many of the abandoned houses and barns I saw travelling through the Palouse region, this one will most likely never be fixed up and lived in again.  Everything from the foundation to the roof and chimneys would need a complete overhaul to make it habitable.   And yet, it will probably stand for many more years, and see many more Springtimes and harvests before it finally collapses or is torn down.  And hopefully, during that time, a few more people will stop on a gravel country back-road and admire this pretty house that once sheltered a family during many harsh eastern Washington winters.

No, this isn’t the amazing two-headed horse from the local carnival…but it sure looks like it, doesn’t it?

I found these two horses sharing a corral in the Palouse, and I was struck by not only how similar they look to each other, but even more by how they do everything together. They stand together…

They walk together…

And they even graze together!

Is this one side of a building, or two?  What can you guess about it?  It’s old, yes.  Hasn’t been painted in a while, yes.  Bad foundation and/or issues with ground settling, yes.  What about harsh winters and/or strong winds?  That would be my guess, judging from the small windows.  Anything else?  There’s traces of red paint tenaciously hanging on to the harshly weathered wood siding, and white paint still clinging to most of the window trim.  What types of buildings tend to be painted red with white trim (at least in the US)?  Did you guess barns?

Here she is in all her (faded) glory.  Besides those fabulous windows, I love…oh, everything about her!  Her mossy roof slowly rotting away, her foundation cracking and settling, her walls buckling and shifting, and the beautiful soft rose color that her red paint has faded to over the decades…

Yes, it’s the same barn.  Look closely at the image above this one and you can see that the roof slopes further down on the far side of the building than on the near side.  Not a typical symmetrical barn design, which is one of the things that makes her so sweet.  Another is the diamond window just under the peak of the roof.  And the sliding door that came off its tracks, and is leaning against the back wall waiting for someone to repair and rehang it.

Will this beautiful, graceful old barn ever be lovingly restored and preserved so that future generations can use it and admire it?  I honestly don’t know, but if I had to make a guess, I would say probably not.  At this point she’s probably too far gone, and the cost would be prohibitive.  It’s no doubt faster, easier and cheaper to build a new barn.  She’ll probably be allowed to continue to weather and decay, and eventually she’ll collapse, like so many other barns I saw in the Palouse region.  So enjoy her while she lasts.  She won’t be around forever…

Boundaries, edges, borders, lines of demarcation…I was struck by the variety of ways that sections of land used differently butted up against each other, usually without fences or other formal dividers, while driving through the Palouse.

The above image, for example, shows the edge of a field of wheat that’s green and growing bordering a field that’s mature and ready for harvest.  This boundary is color-coded for easy identification…

Here we have two green areas side by side, but I think you can readily tell them apart.  Besides the obvious height difference between the forest and the wheat field, the key here is texture, and I really like the contrast of the spiky, pointy evergreen limbs and needles with the (relatively) smooth surface of the wheat field.  If you look closely, you may be able to spot little hints of a fence dwarfed by the overhanging bottom branches of the pines, but the fence is really redundant in this situation, don’t you think?  It’s pretty easy to tell where the forest ends and the farmland begins.

And here we have a boundary that’s marked by both color and texture:  the plowed field butting up against the pasture.  Pretty obvious which section the horses prefer!

Color and texture again define the edges of the plowed and planted fields.  I like how this image divides neatly into (almost) perfectly level bands.  Six different sections of land, three plowed and three growing, alternate from the foreground to the distant ridge.

Finally, here’s a fence, barb wire no less, which also defines an edge, a property line, and a boundary (both real and metaphorical) that the property owner has posted.  Whether you’re dealing with property or people, it’s good to have clear boundaries to prevent misunderstandings.

A “no hunting” sign posted on a fence…it just doesn’t get any clearer than that.

Okay, so they aren’t exactly crop circles, but I like the lines and patterns in the fields of the Palouse.  The hillsides create the templates, and the machinery follows the curves of the land.  It’s rare to find straight furrows;  rather, the plantings follow the gentle undulations of the topography, swooping to the right, then the left, then back again…

Then, as more machinery drives over the fields, different patterns are made again.  This time, wider and deeper impressions are made in the crops, sometimes paralleling the planting rows, and sometimes making their own random patterns.

I look forward to returning and seeing the patterns created during the harvest…

This is the Dahmen Barn that is surrounded by the wheel fence featured in the July 18, 2012 post titled “What A Set Of Wheels!”  The barn was built in 1935 on a dairy farm in Uniontown, WA.  It has since been restored and converted to an art studio and shop that houses dozens of artists on three floors.  The barn looks the same as it did from the exterior, except that (I’m guessing) some windows have been added and/or moved.

I love the contrast of the straight lines and right angles with the curves in this image, and the multi-sided roof on the adjoining silo.  And the little window dormer in the roof is very sweet.

Notice how the overhang on the roof mimics the roof overhang in the first image.  Details like this just tickle me.  Also notice that the wheel on the weather vane echoes the wheel fence down below.  Which is understandable, since Steve Dahmen, who constructed the wheel fence, also fashioned the weather vane.  I would wager that the weather vane does double-duty as a lightning rod.

This is the rear of the above image (notice Mr. Rooster has done a 180), so you don’t get to see the roof overhang that’s on the front, but you do get a more pleasing perspective of the weather vane silhouetted against the stormy sky.

The above image shows the back of the barn and the adjoining silo. Notice that all three doors (#3 is partially hidden, to the right of the silo) are constructed the same.  How cool is that?

I guess these are the doors that got locked after the proverbial horse–or in this case, dairy cow–got out.