Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Southern Minnesota harvest, in images and words October 14, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Unharvested cornfields line a gravel road in western Rice County, Minnesota.

Unharvested cornfields line a gravel road in western Rice County, Minnesota.

DRIVING A GRAVEL ROAD on an October afternoon draws you into the intimacy of the country. Cornfield close. See the harvest close.

A grain truck awaits the harvest in a field.

Grain trucks like this hold the harvest.

Here, where the dust flies and combines roar and grain trucks idle, you understand a farmer’s work. He is of the land. Hands on the steering wheel. Eyes on rows. Working long days, often into the darkness of a country night, to bring in the crop.

Farmers race against time to harvest the crop.

Harvest has started in this cornfield.

Weariness weighs. Weather forecasts bring relief or worry as the farmer races against time and the elements. Sunshine and grey skies. Too wet or too dry. Yields up, prices down.

A farmer pauses to check his grain truck during harvesting.

A farmer pauses to check his grain truck during harvesting.

It is the life of the farmer, of my heritage.

Driving through the hilly terrain of western Rice County to view the harvest and the land.

Driving through the hilly terrain of western Rice County to view the harvest and the land.

Although I left the farm more than four decades ago, I remain rooted to the land in memory. Every autumn I need to follow gravel roads, to connect with that which shaped me. I need cornfield close, harvest close.

BONUS PHOTOS (A drive in the country is about more than the harvest. It’s also about noticing the land, the animals, the sky, the everything rural):

My eyes are drawn to the clear blue sky, the leaves changing color and the muted tones of the harvested cornfield.

My eyes are drawn to the clear blue sky, the leaves changing color and the muted tones of the harvested field.

Occasionally waterways slice through the land. This seems a popular fishing spot given the bobbers and hooks snared on utility lines.

Occasionally waterways slice through the land. This seems a popular fishing spot given the bobbers and hooks snared on utility lines.

I always wonder at the abandonment of buildings. Why? And by whom?

I always wonder at the abandonment of buildings. Why? And by whom?

A beautiful surprise of oaks and water.

A beautiful surprise of oaks and water.

And then, the pastoral scene of cattle in pasture.

And then, the pastoral scene of grazing cattle.

FYI: These rural scenes were photographed Sunday afternoon in western Rice County, Minnesota.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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21 Responses to “Southern Minnesota harvest, in images and words”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Harvest is going on everywhere and I love to see all the fields even in NC that are in the throes of harvest. I even noticed some trees in your pictures which is my favorite part of the fall landscape.

  2. Thread crazy Says:

    In our area, most if not all of the farmers have harvested their grain. In fact the fields around us were harvested and they have been worked and turned twice. It’s time to plant cotton here for fall, now all we need is some RAIN! Someone needs to rescue these old buildings and homesteads left in the pastures…oh if walls could talk the stories they’d tell.

  3. Almost Iowa Says:

    “Yields up, yields down.”

    More like yields up, prices down. That is the story this year… Still you captured the essence of Minnesota farming at harvest time. Couldn’t ask for better weather.

  4. Great pictures. I love the trees at the back of the harvested field. It reminds me of attempts at building a fort with my cousins back in the day.

  5. Bucolic is a little used word today, but seems quite fitting here..

  6. Littlesundog Says:

    These images remind me of this past week when I traveled up north to visit family. Harvest was in full swing from southern Kansas all the way up to Nebraska. Kansas was soybean harvest, where Nebraska was corn, milo and soybean. I love traveling this time of year… so much beauty in the harvest of fields – colors and patterns… but oh the terrible dust and debris in the air! My allergies kicked up several notches!

  7. Jackie Says:

    Your photo’s remind me of my afternoon today spent with my dad, driving the gravel roads, exploring abandoned buildings, walking in the rows of unharvested corn and chatting about him growing up on the farm, It’s fun for me to have a friend who enjoys these same things! Sounds like you had a lovely drive, loved all the photo’s. I’m hoping to share mine soon, 🙂

  8. Mike Says:

    This looks just as how I picture heaven. Coming from a rural area and now being stuck in the midst of a suburban spread, I am reminded of who I am each time I go visit my relatives. The same can be said by your images and the emotion in your writing. You do wonderful work, thank you.

  9. Sue Ready Says:

    One of the things I enjoy about your postings is the appreciation you show for the area you live in. Your roots run deep for the people and the landscape. Your prose is sparse but always captures the beauty of the land and kinship of the people. Such a gift you have for writing and photography.


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