Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A photographic connection to my rural roots April 12, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 9:30 AM
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Rural Minnesota, farm site


I INFORMED MY HUSBAND that I would focus on photographing houses, rather than barns, on a recent 600-mile round trip from Faribault, Minnesota, to Appleton, Wisconsin.

He didn’t believe me. And he was right not to believe.


Rural Minnesota, red barn and red building


Yes, I snapped images of houses. But I could not, no matter how I tried, keep from lifting my Canon DSLR to capture photos of farm sites as we traveled.


Rural Minnesota, turquoise barn


They are like a magnet for someone such as myself with rural roots. Having left the farm 40 years ago upon my graduation from high school, I rely today on memories and visual connectedness to fulfill my longing for the land. That and my writing, especially my poetry.


Rural Minnesota, machine shed and bin


Few people I know farm anymore. No one in my immediate extended family farms, although two brothers remain rooted to agriculture, one via co-ownership in a farm implement dealership and the other as CEO of an ethanol plant, both in my native southwestern Minnesota.


Rural Minnesota, farm behind hill


The farm where I grew up near Vesta is rented out. Thus I have lost that touch of feet on the farm, familiar creak of the barn door—that direct connection to the place of my youth.

My natural instinct now is to seek out, with my eyes and camera, that which is no longer mine.

(All photos were taken while traveling three weeks ago along Interstate 90 between Rochester and the Wisconsin border. Yes, the snow has since melted. Yeah!)

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


32 Responses to “A photographic connection to my rural roots”

  1. I love the old barns. There was a fabulous stone one downstate from me. I never stopped to take a photo. Last time I drove through, I saw it had been torn down. It was an almost physical pain to see that gorgeous barn missing.

  2. Jackie Says:

    You can take the girl away from the farm…but you cant take the farm out of the girl, am I right Audrey? Love the farm photo’s, there’s just something refreshing about them! Speaking of refreshing, Rick and I were out a few weeks ago and some of the farmers were spreading manure…ha ha. There’s just something about that smell 🙂

  3. Lisa C. Says:

    Ahh, there is something comforting about barns. Must be the country girl in me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Great pictures. Although I’m just a Jersey Girl, I love looking at pictures of farms too. And old houses. They take me back to books I’ve read and make me wonder about the lives of farmers then and now.

  5. Thread crazy Says:

    Love your photos; our childhood memories are the ones we seem to hold dear in our hearts. Love the farms and silos – grew up with seeing them all around. I so remember my grandfather’s farm and the animals.

  6. treadlemusic Says:

    I always love your farm/barn photos but you will have to get out there and take some w/o the snow!!!!!! LOL!!!

  7. ryanware Says:

    About a year ago, I started to make sure I shot the houses in addition to the barn, assuming it was an interesting house and built in the same era as the barn. The four square is one of my favorites but also love ones that are “L” shaped where they were once a rectangle and then added onto perpendicular to the first structure. This summer I’m going to try to get on some properties and get a different perspective.

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    It’s sad that fewer and fewer people are living on the land. It’s such a wonderful way to live and probably the most natural way for us to live and whenever I visit people in the country I always come away thinking farming communities are the most friendly and caring. I wish it was possible for farming to be more viable. Your images are lovely xx

  9. Beth Ann Says:

    It is understandable that you are drawn to farms and barns and all things that remind you of your childhood. That is a very good thing and we all get to share in your memories as you click away. I agree with Doreen–now we need to see some without the snow!

  10. Beautiful Captures – makes me want to escape to the country:)

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