Farm Country

Country Road Pan a Ahh, Western Michigan. My yearly escape from the pavement, smog and traffic of suburbia. Here I find relief in sparkling lakes, sandy beaches, deep green forests, and spectacular sunsets – with nary a traffic jam in sight.

MI Sleeping Bear Dunes_6989aAnd then there are the farms. Lots of farms. Lots of farms with fields of green and gold dusted with purple.

MI Sleeping Bear Dunes_6897aAnd the barns! Red barns, white barns, beautifully weathered old barns.

DSC_0288 aThe area near the coast is a hot bed of fruit production, thanks to Lake Michigan’s warming influence and a longer growing season. Fruits grown include peaches, pears and plums, apples and apricots. But what Mason County is famous for is its tart cherries. Wonderful, dark, juicy cherries.

Guilty confession: this is a stock photo, not one of mine. There sat a bowl of beautiful cherries in Betsey’s kitchen, and it never occurred to me to take a photo. Stupid me – I ate them instead.

MI Farm Country_7577a MI Farm Country_7573aMI Farm Country_7597a Of course, there are other things raised here besides fruit. Like asparagus and snap beans. Corn and wheat. Dairy cows and other livestock. Christmas trees!

MI Sleeping Bear Dunes_6985a MI Farm Country_7623aMoo cow.

MI Farm Country_7610a MI Nordhouse Dunes_5952aOn a corner in the middle of nowhere, a country store. Well, to a suburban girl like me it seems like the middle of nowhere. No doubt the locals consider it a congested intersection. In fact, you can find it on Google Maps – at the corner of West Nurnberg and North Quarterline Roads. Reckon that’s progress for you.

MI Farm Country_7594a MI Farm Country_7618a

Mennonite girl working in a roadside field. Farming is a way of life for the sizable population of Mennonites and Amish in Michigan, as it is for communities in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and other locales.

Country Roads Collage b The dirt and gravel roads I traveled on in Michigan had me wishing for my trusty Forester SUV instead of a rental sedan. I wouldn’t have tried the road at bottom left even if it wasn’t a private road.

MI Sleeping Bear Dunes_7043aMI Farm Country_7566aThe End.

Coming up: Sleeping Bear Dunes