Sunday, July 29, 2012

Of Barns and Breakfast

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Cloud-dappled pale blue summer morning sky
Goldfinches flashing yellow and black
Dew-jewelled corn silk curly and red

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On Saturday morning I gave myself the treat of riding to Madison for breakfast with Mr. M at one of our favourite cafés. (He followed in the car, timing his departure so as to arrive at the restaurant soon after me.)

My route ran along a major highway for the first 25 miles or so, which meant more traffic - and fewer wildflowers. But barns there were a-plenty (and I do love a wooden barn), so I decided for once to shoot as many as I could.

We've had a week of thunderstorms accompanied by some very welcome rain. Although the drought is still in effect across the state, the land is less desperately dry than before. Grass has begun to sprout, like little green shoots of hope.

At 7:30 the air is damp but still in the comfortable 60s. The sky is a clear pale blue, dotted with adorable white clouds like baby footprints.

The sun is still low enough in the sky for a good shadow shot:

There are miles to go and many barns to pass. Neat and tidy barns...

Barns beautifully maintained...

...with charming details:

Here and there a white barn makes a change from the usual red:

I like the large decorative star on this barn, and the lacy shadow of leaves.

Some barns are weathered to a lovely mottled finish (though missing bits here and there)...

...and some stand guard over the long straight stretch of road.

This barn features a very common arched window at its peak:

I pass plain barns...

...and falling-to-pieces barns (this one still holding hay)...

...skyscrapers of the prairie (not really barns, but still fun to photograph)...

...and barns screened by trees:

I couldn't resist slipping in a picture of my new stainless-steel water bottle (in my favourite shade of violet):

Some barns are far away, and harder to photograph with the sun behind them:

This barn is now used as a garage:

A scene of classic Americana, with spacious skies and nearly-amber waves of grain:

Here's a cheerful little corn crib, still in use by the looks of it:

Even the unpainted barns have a certain charm, I think.

Here is a very well-kept horse barn (with the horses unfortunately out of view):

I stop at a gas station to call Mr. M and let him know I've reached the halfway point. This barn is on view between the pumps:

There are tiny barns...

...and very long barns.

Some barns can just be glimpsed over a corn-covered hill...

and some are tottering with age, but still bravely red against the green fields:

The barn above is the last I see on my ride. I've reached the outskirts of Madison and am approaching the airport.

In keeping with the aeronautical theme, the local VFW post has an old Air National Guard jet on permanent display:

A glimpse of the Capitol building in the distance:

A passenger jet takes off right over my head, and I just manage to catch it on camera.

I pass a lush cornfield right on the city border (I must say the corn looks much better here than in my county)...

...with corn in the ear, sporting beautiful curly red silk...

 ...each strand jewelled with tiny drops of dew.

A few miles later, and I reach my destination:

They make a wonderful breakfast here, and the bakery case is a sight to behold. Cakes, pies, cookies, bars, buttery croissants, scones, muffins, sticky buns, rugelach, gluten-free goodies...I'm making myself hungry just thinking about it.

I ordered quiche (broccoli, cheddar, and sun-dried tomato)...

...while Mr. M enjoyed a Mediterranean Scramble, with sausage and a poppy-seed onion bialy on the side...

...and blueberry-raspberry pie for afters. Mmmmmm.

A very good ride indeed. : )

31.0 miles
Calorie count not available

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  1. All I can say is, "Oh". The barns, as always, are so beautiful and I love your words. Such a special time with Mr. M., but I suspect each day is special with him.

  2. We are probably better off without that calorie count anyway. :) The barns are beautiful, but I was surprised to see the corn about all looking so well! Yay! The rain has done a little good! Looks like quite an awesome place for breakfast. Aptly named, of course. :) That didn't go unnoticed. :)

    1. Yes, a very good name for it. And the food is definitely heavenly.

  3. Wow...I love this post and love the idea that you went for a bike ride...that is something I haven't done in a long time and when I see someone or hear of someone who is puts me in the mood. Seriously thinking about buying bikes for all in the family so we can make it a family thing! Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful pictures of the barns..I love them all. We have one really big barn about 16 miles outside of town and they keep it up really well...beautiful! ")

  4. Love all the barns, again, so different to the ones around here, especially the little details of decoration...we put up a shed around 18months ago and it's just plain old concrete shuttering and corrugated roof, no quilts or stars, or even paint for that matter!

    Your bike ride was certainly well rewarded with such a scrummy breakfast, yours and Mr. M's sounded and looked tasty....I take it you you didn't cycle home? I think I wouldn't have wanted to!

    (btw the joined edges in that twist are done by slipping th last stitch, picking a stitch off the spiral edge and then passing th slipped stitch over the picked up ends or seams....perfect!)

    1. Thanks for the technical details Faith! And no, I didn't cycle home. :) We put the bike in the car and I took the lazy way out. I'm not up to 60 miles yet!

  5. A fantastic collection of barns, all very American looking to my eyes. That is one long straight section of road, no wonder you like bends when you see them. And as to your breakfast, well, I think it even beats raspberry muffins, and it's well deserved after all those miles.

  6. What a ride! I love the barns, all of them. Interesting how different they all look. I don't think we have greened up as much as you did, but we did get some rain.

    1. We're pretty green to begin with - it would take a very long drought to wipe it all out. But things do look better after the rain.

  7. What a fun destination and reward awaiting you after your ride...that breakfast - yum!

    Thank you for sharing the barns.

    Were you in motion when you took the water bottle pic? What balance!

    1. Yes on the photo - but I wasn't looking through the viewfinder. Just pointed the camera in what I thought was the right direction. :)

  8. Love all the barns, your corn looks to be in pretty good shape, drought and all. Love going out for breakfast!

    1. I think they've gotten more rain in the Madison area than we have in my area. We love going out for breakfast too - more than dinner I think.

  9. A delicious looking breakfast well earned. Your shadow is looking super slim so I think you could have had a pastry too :-)

    1. Thanks, Joanne - but you know how deceptive shadows can be. :)

  10. Barntastic! A beautiful set of pictures :-).

    And who care about calories when you've cycled that far? :-D.

    1. Exactly. :)

      P.S. I know you like barn pictures so I was hoping you'd enjoy this post.

  11. I love the barns!!! I've never seen so many!! :) Or at least I've not been paying attention when we go visit my in-laws in nor. Cal!! I realize how suggestible I am when upon finishing this post the strongest feeling I have is...I want a barn!! :D

    But, over all of that, I'm so impressed with your ride!!! I have no doubt that if I knew a car was headed to the same place as me, I would ditch the bike and hop in the car!! I sure love how you take us all along with you on your rides!! Such beauty!!!

    1. Thanks Laura - the breakfast was really an incentive for the ride (which I would have taken anyway).

      I never paid attention to barns in Northern Cal either - now I'm trying to think back to childhood visits and remember if I ever saw very many.

  12. That's a whole bunch of barns! There's nothing like that in the UK, our barns are basically ugly metal affairs, unless very old and timbered, and most of those have been converted into fancy pants homes. I so enjoy these insights you give us into a world that's different to mine in so many ways :D

    I could just eat a slice of that pie!

    1. Thanks Annie - we have the uninspired metal barns too but somehow I never get the urge to immortalize them online. :)

      P.S. The pie does look particularly luscious, doesn't it?

  13. I agree, after 31 miles, you deserve pie, or at least a bite. :) I think it's neat you take notice of the barns. I'll have to do that next time I take a ride through what might be barn country. Be neat to see how our barns compare...

    1. Thanks Deb! I did have a bite of the pie (also an entire decadent cookie called a Chocolate Mint Meltaway, of which I forgot to take a photo).

      I would love to see some Colorado barns. :)

  14. A lovely post all the barns, you certainly passed alot of them on your ride.
    I love all the 'differences' between the countries. Over here we have hay sheds or dairies.....weatherbeaten timber, rusting corrugated iron, bricks, typically Australian andquite different from your big, red barns.
    A well deserved breakfast, must've headed off early for the dew to still be on the corn silk!!

    Claire :}

    1. Thanks so much, Claire! I too love to see photos from other countries.

  15. Mrs Micawber you are a keeper.


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