A thick bank of cloud was approaching from the west while rain showers passed to the northeast over the flat farmlands of Northwestern Ohio. I watched as intense spots of sunlight swept across the landscape — a dramatic contest between light and shadow.
On Saturday we visited the Lake Metroparks’ Farmpark in Kirtland, Ohio. This rather unique park is dedicated to giving visitors a taste of farm life not far from their city and suburban homes. The farm has sheep, milk cows, horses, and other typical farm animals. They demonstrate the care and feeding of those animals and maintain a milk production facility. This weekend the park hosted their annual Maple Sugaring event.
Typically, visitors can see how maple sap is collected (the traditional buckets and a newer hose-fed system), and boiled down into syrup and sugar. Maple products made at Farmpark are available for purchase. It also happens to be nearly spring. A family favorite was the barn where young livestock were housed with their mothers: kids and lambs only days old, and young piglets. We spent a good long time in that barn and, after shooting many photographs and succumbing to cuteness overload, left pleased to have seen the kids (human and goat) interacting with such joy.
Back on Monday the morning was foggy, lending a wonderful soft mood to the landscape. I took a little drive that day hoping to find interesting scenes and wound up in a Cleveland Metroparks area. I continued my travels that day and headed south and into the rolling countryside. One of my favorite areas presented itself in a wholly different way from how I am accustomed to seeing it. A farmer’s grazing field showed off a pair of naked trees silhouetted against a featureless sky, foreground of colorful weeds and grasses and background veiled in fog. A weathered barn I love to look at was also set off by deep red-brown dead weeds made more colorful by heavy dew. It was a good morning to slow down and look around.
We crossed the state of Ohio twice today, visiting family. It was today that a cold weather front collided with the northeastern-most edge of Hurricane Sandy. The hurricane is a large storm which, during the day, has taken the form of an open pinwheel. Clouds over the region were oriented north and south and took on strange, drawn-out shapes and dark colors as they rapidly evolved overhead. I felt compelled to step outside, at one point, to capture some images of the sky-show! As we headed westbound on the Ohio Turnpike this morning, across the median we saw scores of electrical utility and tree service trucks eastbound; they were, no doubt, headed to the Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. to assist with power outages and downed trees.
The winds grew stronger as the day wore on: cold and dry in Northwestern Ohio, cold and wet in the Northeastern parts of the state. Heading back this evening, most of our journey was inside the storm — not a hurricane for us, but a tense and unpleasant trip nonetheless. The next few days promise to be cold, dark, and wet around here as we deal with the outskirts of a big storm heralded by today’s dramatic October sky.
We traveled to Garrettsville, Ohio just to get out and decompress a bit. Whereas yesterday was overcast and gray (though beautiful in its own way), today sun-spotted autumn landscape views were all around. The breeze was brisk and colored leaves rained from the trees. Autumn was well-along. It was that kind of a day.