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


14 Responses to “A Minnesota winter day in photos”

  1. sartenada Says:

    Wonderful photos. Especially I love those two last photos. I have never in my life seen so beautiful Christmas tree! Unbelievable.

    Have a wonderful day.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      There, Harriet, this comment comes from a reader in Finland. I agree with him on the photos, especially that Christmas tree image.

  2. The Christmas tree is located in Henderson and they put this one up annually around Thanksgiving. They have a tree lighting ceremony about a week after they put it up. It is next to a small park and the brick building in the background is the old Sibley County courthouse which is now the community center. I really like this photo too; in fact I have turned it into my Christmas card for this year.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Harriet, after I published the post, I figured out that the building is in Henderson. I love that historic river town and, several years ago wrote a travel feature about it for Minnesota Moments magazine.

      The Christmas tree is beyond gorgeous. Other communities should consider decking out evergreens like this for the holidays.

      Your photo is stunning. You should consider selling the image to a greeting card company.

  3. Micki Butler Says:

    Harriet is very talented for sure. The pics are wonderful, and it was nice to see her highlighted.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Micki, I agree that Harriet is very talented. You ought to see her barn books.

      Harriet, Micki’s applause come all the way from Ireland.

  4. Bernie (Rohlik) Bowman Says:

    So pretty..so peaceful!

  5. I have been in contact with Micki for the last month or so. I love her website,Irish Muses, and I am envious of the fact that she retired to County Donegal Ireland and married her true love, Joe, who lived there. It is a fairy tale story. My sisters and I had vacationed in the land of our roots, County Kerry Ireland, in September 2009 and I put together a book about our journey and the wonderful time we enjoyed using the more than 6,000 photos that we had from the trip. I will have to send you one of those books to review Audrey.
    Thank you everyone for all your kind words about my photos and thank you Audrey for featuring them.

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Harriet, you deserve the praise for your excellent photos. I’ll post some of your other images in the near future. So, Minnesota Prairie Roots readers, check back for more of Harriet’s rural photos.

  6. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by MNHistoricalSociety, exploreminn and Maianne Preble, suzy m / sita-ji. suzy m / sita-ji said: RT @mnhs: RT @exploreminn: Beautiful winter photos of s central MN http://bit.ly/gPYDKn Add yr MN pics to our flickr photostream! http:/ … […]

  7. Jim Schwecke Says:

    Is this web site still active? I am interested in obtaining Harriet’s 1000 barns in Sibley County? My Grandfather, Heinrich (Henry) Schweckie farmed in Moltke Township and I am attempting to locate a farm photo to add to my genealogy project. Thanks, Jim Schwecke

    • Jim, the author/photographer, Harriet Traxler, passed away several years ago. Your best option would be to contact someone at the Sibley County Historical Society in Henderson, MN. Harriet was active in this organization and someone there may be able to help you.

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