Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Working the land May 20, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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A farmer in the field Sunday evening along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Zumbrota and Faribault.

A farmer in the field Sunday evening along Minnesota State Highway 60 between Zumbrota and Faribault.

THE EARTHY SCENT of freshly-turned soil wafted through the vents of the van Sunday afternoon as my husband and I traveled through southeastern Minnesota after a weekend trek to eastern Wisconsin.

A field along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

A ribbon of grass runs through a field along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

I love that smell of spring, of cold earth warming to the sun after a long winter.

Heading to or from the field on a frontage road along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

Heading to or from the field on a frontage road along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.

Planting’s been delayed because of excessive rainfall, as noted by muddy fields, water in road ditches, and by high water in streams, rivers and lakes in many areas. We drove 600 miles round trip along Minnesota State Highway 60, US Highway 52, a lengthy stretch of Interstate 90, onto a few miles of Interstate 94 and then across central Wisconsin on State Highway 21 from Tomah to Oshkosh and finally onto US Highway 41 north on Saturday and then back the next day.

Doing field work the old fashioned way in Amish country near Coloma, Wisconsin.

Doing field work the old fashioned way in Amish country near Coloma, Wisconsin.

On Saturday morning, except for a team of horses working the land in central Wisconsin, in the heart of Amish country, we noticed little movement in fields. In extreme southeastern Minnesota, though, farmers had already been out working the ground.

Working the land somewhere along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

In the field somewhere along Interstate 90 in southeastern Minnesota.

By Sunday, with a day of sunshine and warmer temps, we noticed more earth turned, the blackness distinguishable from soil exposed to harsh winter weather.

Working the land in southeastern Minnesota.

In the field in southeastern Minnesota on Sunday.

Our farmer fathers would be proud of my husband and me for, after all these years away from the farm, still noticing the progress, or lack thereof, of field work.

Ā© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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16 Responses to “Working the land”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    The sun is out today so I think the farmers will be in the fields doing all that they need to do. šŸ™‚ House painting is on the docket for us but I have a thing all afternoon so Chris will be on his own. Hopefully we can get this job done in the next couple of days.

  2. treadlemusic Says:

    The rains keep coming over in this area and that ole river just won’t recede! Much of the ridge land is planted around us but the lower pieces are, for the most part, very slow to be tilled. Rain amounts of .50″ to 2.25″ around us over to Neilsville,WI. Keeps things so soggy!!!! Love the photos. You’re right about those Springtime smells……”freshness” personified!!!

    • We noticed the Mississippi was pretty high as we crossed the bridge into LaCrosse.

      We did note, though, that a lot more field work seemed to be done along Interstate 90 near the Houston exit than around here. Also, trees are much more leafed out, especially in the river valley area.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        The temps/weather along the river are very different than elsewhere and can be much ahead………more air moisture and temps in the river valley seem to give “shelter” to the heating of the day so the nights are moderate during the radical springtime fluctuations. It’s interesting……………………

      • That’s what my smart husband told me. I felt like we were in the heart of spring while traveling through that river valley. It was beautiful while it lasted.

      • treadlemusic Says:

        Yes, it is an interesting weather/climate phenom!

  3. Dan Traun Says:

    The Mrs. and I are a bit behind with our planting too. This Spring weather has not been cooperative at all (much like last year). We hope to get caught up this week/weekend so we can get on with more leisurely things like backroading, kayaking, biking and camping; photographing it all along the way. Love the Amish photo!

    • I haven’t seeded or planted anything yet either, except spinach. With the threat of frost last week, which became reality several evenings, it simply was not wise to plant.

      This week the weather is warming and you should be able to get in the “field,” right?

      The Amish photo isn’t the best, because I snapped it through the driver’s side window from the passenger side of the van. I’m lucky I managed anything. We can’t stop every time I want to take a photo, or we would never get to our destination when we need to be there. Sigh. Therefore I’ve missed many opportunities to shoot much better photos of subjects.

  4. Right up there with barns is tractors – love your captures šŸ™‚ Happy Day!

  5. rachaelhanel Says:

    My favorite time of year! I drove to New Ulm a couple of weeks ago and was pleased to see some farmers working the fields. I think if you’ve grown up with the farm, even if you no longer live on one, you will always notice the rite of spring.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Ahhhh, I can almost smell the country air šŸ™‚ Loved the photo of the Amish man and his team of horses.


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