Saturday, November 21, 2015

A Church, Barns, and Fields

The fields have been harvested, and the traffic of combines, tractors, and grain carts has dissipated.  Early November was extraordinarily beautiful.  November 2nd I had my windows open and was outside in shirtsleeves--quite the contrast with two years ago, when it snowed in October.  It has finally cooled down, and we had our first snow yesterday.
There are at least three country churches within reasonable walking distance of my home.  This one, East Friesland Presbyterian Church, recently celebrated its 150th anniversary.  A few miles away there is another church, West Friesland Presbyterian.  West Friesland church is actually northeast of the East Friesland church: they were not named for their locations, but for the part of Friesland [Frisia], Germany each congregation immigrated from.  
Cattle at a neighbor's creek, September 25th.
It seems many years we either have flooding, a drought, a hail storm, or something of the sort that sends grain prices up for the farmers that survive, and causes a lot of worry for those who don't.  This year weather conditions were pretty much perfect.  The only unfortunate excitement in the area was when a field of standing corn caught fire.  
October 22nd
A few years ago there was a drought and grain prices went up to over 8 dollars a bushel.  Some of the Hardin County farmers had crop failure since their soil is not as rich, but insurance covered most of them.  Grundy County farmers had a decent harvest in spite of the drought because Grundy has some of the richest soil in the state.  Since the price of grain was so high, they did well.  This year everyone is having a decent harvest, so grain prices are normal, and farmers seem to be more or less breaking even.  
November 2nd
My family started farming in Hardin County back in the 1850s and 60s, but my branch lost their farm in the 1920s and moved to cities.  In the 1990s, my grandparents decided to move out of Waterloo to an acreage in Hardin County.  Soon after, my uncle Rick (see his & my cousin Keith's photography website here) moved back from Florida, and finally my immediate family and I moved from Oregon to another acreage only a few miles away.  Although none of us are farmers, it's very nice to live in the area where our forefathers lived, plowed their fields, harvested, and are buried.  
Top photos: October 14th.  Bottom left: Sunrise, October 26th.  Bottom right: November 21st.
"I would rather be on my farm, than be emperor of the world."  --George Washington
"The meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace."  --Psalm 37:11
Many thanks to those who have participated in my survey and giveaway!  Kit-Kat candy bars are currently leading over last year's incumbent favorite, Snickers, by a very small margin.  The survey closes tonight at midnight.  If you have strong feelings about which candy bar should win (and have not yet voted), there's still time to vote here.  

Linking with:
 The Barn CollectiveInspired SundayOur World TuesdayWordless Wednesday, and Good Fences.

76 comments:

  1. What a beautiful part of the world to live in! I really enjoyed your photos as I was brought up on a small farm & love living in the countryside.
    I'm off to vote in your survey & hope I know them all!

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    1. Thanks for voting in the survey, Christine! There is something special and peaceful about the countryside.

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  2. I grew up on a farm, that was also the farm my Dad grew up on. I think it's the best place to grow up - lots of room to run and play, plus you learn the value of hard work.
    Near my town is a town called Vriesland. The original Vriesland is in the Netherlands, very near Friesland in Germany. There is a church in my Vriesland, which began as the Vriesland Reformed Church, that looks very similar to your East Friesland Presbyterian Church.
    I really enjoyed your photos!

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    1. Indeed. I am very happy my parents decided to move to the Iowa countryside from Portland when I was young. Country life is very different from city existance, and it helps instill some good values.

      Neat that you have a similar church in town near you named for a place near Friesland! A lot of towns northeast of us are named for places in Europe, though around my immediate area folks seemed to prefer naming their towns and counties for people.

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  3. Bethany you ive in a beautiful, green and spacious area. It is completely different from mine. The barns are completely different from Polish ones. As I can see you r barns are veryt often brown which is not common in Europe. Great idea to live on the the land of your forefathers. Nowadays in Poland the weather is typically rainy but it is going to snow but in the mountains. Happy Thanksgiving for your family from Poland

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    1. Most of the barns around here that are brown are that way because they're old and the paint has worn off--that's the case for a couple of the barns in my photos. Originally they were probably red. There are a lot of white ones too, and some are brown/red brick. As I remember you had a drought this summer, so the rain must be good (I hope). Thank you for the Thanksgiving wishes, and if you celebrate it, a happy Thanksgiving to you as well.

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  4. Fabulous photographs. Looks very much like Illinois, too. We aren't farmers either, but I love the farms. Your cow photo is especially charming!

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    1. Thank you! Yes, it's nice to live in the Midwest--the land of corn and soybeans!

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  5. love the midwestern farming country. but it is a hard life, for sure. as you said - weather, prices, so much intertwines to make it or break it.

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    1. Farmers do have plenty to worry about, if they choose to worry. The younger ones who rent land have it tough. I know other older farmers who take their corn to the elevator for storage every year, and still haven't technically sold their corn from years ago, simply because they don't need to. Iowa farmers have it good compared with farmers in say, Kansas.

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  6. That is a heartwarming share here, Bethany. I am so glad that your family is reunited on their "homeland" so to speak. Farming is not for the faint of heart. So much depends on weather conditions and the health of your animals. I loved growing up on a dairy farm but there were hard years as well as good ones. xo Diana

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    1. I imagine. Dairy farmers really have it tough I think. As you know, cows have to be milked maybe three times every single day, so unless you have some good hands, dairy farming can tie you down. Awesome that you were raised on a farm...I think it must have helped you develop your wonderful sense of humor. ;)

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  7. Beautiful photos Bethany! The first snow looks so pretty (though you may soon tire of it!). Iowa looks so peaceful and well, American. ;)

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    1. Well said. Iowa is as American as apple pie. I wouldn't mind if the snow lasted a week and that was all we had all winter, but chances are we're going to have this beautiful (em...well, I'll call it beautiful for now) white ground cover on and off perhaps through March...and it can still snow in May!

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  8. These are lovely photos. We had our first snow awhile back now but more is due this weekend, we are told.

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    1. Looks like you're prepared with that stocking cap! Stay warm!

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    2. I am. Burr. Though today, it's a lovely crisp morning. About to make dough soon.

      Cheers and boogie boogie.

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    3. Sounds good! You have a beautiful day...and awesome Thanksgiving!

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  9. I know I'd make a terrible farmer. I have no green thumbs

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    1. I manage to grow a flower garden every year, but taking a house plant inside and putting it under my care is basically like giving it a death sentence. Farming/gardening is not for everyone

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  10. Really nice pictures Bethany and you have an enviable lifestyle to be sure!

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    1. I enjoy it. It's very nice to live in the country.

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  11. Love the country! Glad all the farmers did OK this year--well except for the one field fire. Love the historical church photo too--I am always drawn to old churches, schoolhouses, cemeteries and the like. Never get enough of them:)
    Blessings, Aimee

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    1. I love visiting cemeteries as well, and any churches that have interesting architecture. Neat to see the occasional schoolhouse beside the road as well. It's good to have landmarks that remind us of years gone by.

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  12. Beautiful bucolic images. A peaceful tone is set through each one.
    Thank you for sharing at image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2015/11/sunset-on-bay.html

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  13. Wow, what a great assortment you are sharing this week Bethany! Starting with the lovely country church and grave yard, which appears to have an arched sign. Wherever you go in this beautiful country farms are to be found, often different, but each one special. Thanks so much and I hope that you return again with another installment of rural Iowa life.

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    1. Actually my father helped make or repair (I don't recall) that arched sign, since he is the local welder. And a dear old friend is buried in that cemetery, so it is a special place.

      Thank you for hosting the Barn Collective! There are barns everywhere in this part of the countryside.

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  14. Gorgeous rural scenes and farms. The first snow is always pretty. I love the cows too. Great post and barn collection. Happy Sunday, enjoy your new week ahead!

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    1. Thanks Eileen! Have an awesome week as well!

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  15. These images are fantastic. You live in such a beautiful area, Bethany. And it must be very peaceful, too. We moved out of the big city in 2009 to an area that's a fraction of the size. Best decision we ever made.

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    1. Glad you found a more peaceful place to live as well!

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  16. Such beautiful photos my Dear! I don't know if there's anything prettier to the soul than a little country church covered in snow. ;)

    God bless our farmers! They work so hard, for the benefit of all, and often for such little gain. Loved this - thank for sharing. xoxo

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    1. I'd have to agree on country churches being pretty...snow, not so much...at least after a week or so, but that was the first snow, so it's not all that bad, yet. ;) It may make pretty pictures, but for some reason it's hard for me to appreciate it as much as I should.

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  17. I'm glad the farmers had a good harvest this year.

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  18. Wonderful window into the farm world. Thank you.

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  19. What a great collection! Love the shot of the church with the graveyard adjacent.

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    1. Thanks Ellen! There are many similar beautiful little churches in my neck of the woods.

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  20. Your area is so quintessentially American. Just beautiful.

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  21. I really like the photo of the church! <3 ~Lisa

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  22. Love the little church with the dusting of snow! The barns are great subjects, too.

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    1. Indeed they are! They always cooperate...unlike birds and wildlife!

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  23. Cold here but no snow. The area looks like a real farming one. Church looks cold in it's blanket of snow

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    1. Yep, it's the heart of farming country. Keep warm!

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  24. Nice set of pictures - love that hint of snow.

    When I was a kid in the UK 'Snickers' bars were called 'Marathons' - nowhere else in the world had 'Marathons" - there was actually a bit of a protest (that changed nothing!) when they morphed into Snickers overnight!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: my slowness to comment and visit has been caused by a trip to an island in the Pacific!

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    1. Enjoyed your bit of trivia on Snickers/Marathon bars! I'm sure a sudden name change like that would cause a protest! Sounds like you have been keeping busy! I'll have to hop on over to your blog to find out about your island visit--sounds interesting!

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  25. i love rural areas. enjoy the cow shot. oh, so sad i miss the survey. ... i love surveys ... my fave is 1st a whatchamacallit, 2nd is a snickers, 3rd probably a payday, 4th 3 musketeers candy bar, 5th york peppermint patty, now the ? is which one have i forgotten? i love chocolate & love candy ... but i am always doing my best to now eat too many sweets. i love those wedding mints at really dissolve in your mouth quickly. found some of those recently & eat them for a treat. have a great week. thank you for linking up with us. i will try to keep up with your blog to not miss these surveys. i am one who loves them often. do you do that too? have a happy Thanksgiving. i am reading Stewart message above & that is news to me. it is cool what you read, you always learn something. it is freezing here. no snow, just lots of wind and coldness. ( :

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    1. Sounds like you have good tastes on candy bars! It's hard to beat chocolate. We went to a wedding last weekend and were able to enjoy some of those mints. They did have Kisses chocolate candy at each table though, and I thought that was even better than the mints. My next official reader survey should be in October or November 2016, Lord willing.

      Here in Iowa we get a lot of surveys since we're the first state to caucus. I enjoy surveys if real people give them, but I do get tired of the automated survey calls.

      Ah, yes, I enjoy reading other people's comments when I visit blogs...some have pretty interesting things to say. And, of course, I enjoy reading the comments left here on my blog. Thank you for visiting and leaving a thoughtful comment. Stay warm!

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    1. Glad you did! Thanks for visiting, Marcia!

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  27. I love that you are able to at least live right near your ancestral lands, so to speak. I think the closest I have to a family home would be the place my grandparents raised my uncle/dad (twins) in Chappaqua, NY. My mother lived in the house behind theirs so they were neighbours across lots. My cousins grew up there and in our travels I even got to live there for a time. But prices being what they are, not a place you just camp out and live. The family home recently sold - local property taxes annually alone on the place are just under $18,000 a year. Can't swing it. :)

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    1. Oooh wow those taxes are steep! New York is expensive. I guess you'll just have to make your home now the new "home-place" for all your children to always come back to. Missouri is a seemingly much more wholesome conservative place than liberal New York anyway. ;)

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  28. I have really enjoyed this post, but don't have time to go to the links...however, hopefully I will remember to come back because a lot of them sounded interesting to me.

    Loved all the scenes...

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  29. I love these beautiful country scenes...wonderful photos, Bethany!

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  30. Love seeing the farm pictures! Two of my great-grandfathers were small farmers and I have very distant memories from early childhood of their way of life. I'll always love the sight of red barns and peaceful corn fields.

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    1. Glad you have good memories! It's hard to beat red barns, corn fields, and green tractors! :)

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  31. Beautiful pictures Bethany! They made me miss my home state, Kansas! But please, stop with all the snowy pictures. You're making me cold and I'm not ready for that yet! ;)

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    1. If I'm going to suffer, I need someone to suffer with me...

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  32. Lovely photos! You do nice work.

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  33. Lovely looking and well kept farms. Liked the cows and their reflection in the pond

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  34. Hi Bethany, I enjoyed your pictures in this post and all the info on how you and the family ended up there in Iowa. Sometimes I see some rough weather in the Midwest on the news and wonder if it is affecting your part of the world. Iowa and the country around it is certainly, in my opinion, the kind of place that could grow on a person. By the way, my favorite photo in this post is the corn cropper at dawn. You had to be up early for that one! Thanks for sharing this interesting post.

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    1. These days the sun has been rising pretty late. The photo was taken at 7:13 A.M. We do have some harsh weather sometimes, but this year has been pretty nice so far actually.

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  35. I love the sentence of George Washington. The pictures are very nice and the place looks great, although sometimes should be hard to live in the field, especially when the floods and droughts threat the harvest. However I think that life is healthy there.

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    1. Farmers here in Iowa have it a lot better than, say, farmers in Kansas who have to irrigate, and seem to face droughts almost every year. There are some tough years here, but it's very good farming country. Thanks for stopping by!

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