Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A Minnesota winter day in photos December 7, 2010

This refurbished barn overlooks the Minnesota River near Belle Plaine. The owners installed new windows, resided the barn and added a small deck off the hayloft, which has been remodeled into a party room. It was the site of a family member's July wedding.

YOU ARE IN FOR A TREAT today as I’m going to feature some guest photos by Harriet Traxler of Carver. I’ve never met Harriet and only recently began corresponding with her via e-mail.

But she has a wonderful little hobby that is near and dear to my heart. Harriet is a self-taught photographer who enjoys photographing everything from children to nature, animals and barns. Like me, she pretty much “wears” her Nikon D40 camera.

Next to photographing barns, Harriet most enjoys taking pictures of birds. Several years ago she took a photo that included 24 cardinals. Cardinals seem to especially like feeding on black oil sunflower seeds, she says.

It is her barn photos that first caught my attention. She has photographed more than 1,000 barns in Sibley County and compiled those images in 19 books which she prints and binds. If you’ve followed Minnesota Prairie Roots for awhile, you know that I also enjoy photographing old barns. In fact, right now, my camera is filled with barn (and other) images from a weekend trip to eastern Wisconsin.

But back to Harriet, if you’re interested in old barns and/or enjoy the photos posted here, stop by her website at barnsofsibleycounty.com. You may even want to consider purchasing one (or two or more) of Harriet’s barn books as a Christmas gift/gifts.

Even if you’re not from Sibley County where these barns were photographed, I promise you will enjoy these barn and other rural photos. One of my favorite images in Harriet’s books shows a herd of Holsteins gazing at her from behind a barbed wire fence with a farm site, including a red barn, in the background.

I’ll bring you some of Harriet’s stunning barn photos in the future.

But for today, this photographer is graciously allowing me to showcase several images taken on Saturday, after a major winter storm dumped up to a foot of snow on some parts of Minnesota. Harriet truly captures the beauty of this snowfall. And that is what we Minnesotans sometimes need—to see the beauty rather than all the hard work and inconveniences a major snowfall creates in our lives.

Enjoy and thank you, Harriet, for allowing me to share your photos on Minnesota Prairie Roots.

Farm equipment engulfed in snow makes for a scenic image.

St. John's Catholic Church in Faxon Township, Sibley County, dates back to the 1870s. It is often called "St. John's in the cornfield," Harriet says, because cornfields typically surround the church during the growing season.

Harriet didn't tell me where she shot this outdoor Christmas tree. But isn't it beautiful?

Text © Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Photos © Copyright 2010 Harriet Traxler

 

Photographing barns November 19, 2010

 


A barn between Morristown and Waseca in a photo I shot last Sunday.

 

HARRIET TRAXLER OF CARVER has done exactly what I would someday like to accomplish. She has photographed a county full of barns and self-published 19 books, including two versions of Barns of Sibley County and books for each of the county’s 17 townships. She’s also created a 2011 barn calendar.

Traxler photographed 1,100-plus barns.

I’ll write more about Traxler’s barn project in a future post because I’ve only skimmed two of her books. The pair just arrived in my mailbox yesterday.

But I’m so giddy about what I’ve seen that I couldn’t wait to tell you. Anyone who loves old barns will absolutely appreciate Traxler’s books and her efforts to preserve barns through photography.

Now that I’ve shared my excitement over those barn books, I’ll show you a few more barn photos that I shot last Sunday along Rice County Highway 16 and Waseca County Highway 7 between Morristown and Waseca. These were taken through car windows—no waiting for the right lighting, no stopping to compose them. They are what they are and I think worthy of sharing with you. Enjoy.

 

 

Barn along Waseca County Highway 7

 

 

The driver's side rear car window frames this barn scene in a quick shot.

 

 

A machine shed with a barn-like appearance. Love the roof line.

 

 

Near the intersection of Waseca County Highway 7 and Minnesota Highway 13.

 

© Copyright 2010 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

 
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