It's so good to be back in the swing of things!
Now that winter is officially over and we're heading straight into summer, PbB has had a wicked case of white line fever traveling from session to session across western Wisconsin. We've got a lot of ground to cover so buckle up, buttercups.
April started off slow, but ended with an absolute bang. My friend, Hannah Nelson, her mom, Tracy Mitchell, and Hannah's boyfriend, Jasenko Gavranovic, pulled off bringing Hannah's show heifer, Miracle, to UW-River Falls to celebrate Hannah graduating summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in agricultural business. Hannah and her family have been instrumental in helping me grow this shebang from a hobby into a business, and we decided her cap and gown session had to be epic.
Taking a heifer for a walk on a college campus was nothing short of a team effort with all the moving parts involved: getting Miracle washed and fitted, asking professors if it was kosher to even do this, following Hannah and Miracle around with muck tubs in the event that Miracle would need to move her bowels on campus (she didn't), and managing for all of the other little things that could possibly go wrong. Thankfully, everything went off without a hitch and I still can't believe we pulled it off. Here are a few of my favorites from that day.
Then, a few days later, I dipped my toes into real estate photography. I headed down by Pepin, Wisconsin to take photos of an Airbnb for Paul and Angie Bocksell. The Bocksells did a beautiful job renovating the farmhouse on the farm where their beef cattle, hogs, and goats reside to accommodate guests looking for a quintessentially Wisconsin getaway. In addition to remodeling the farmhouse, they also turned the garage/hired man's quarters into a sweet little apartment for cozier accommodations. From a crystal chandelier in the dining room looking out over the barn and sheds to color coordinated bedrooms and all the delicate touches in between, not one detail was overlooked. Learn more about their farm here!
After we wrapped things up in Pepin County, I shoobedooped up the river to Bay City to have some fun in the water with Shelby Pichler. It was sunny and 75 that afternoon, a rare gift in Wisconsin in April, but the creek that Shelby and I had in mind was quite chilly and even more so when Shelby was wearing a dress. She did tell me that she got used to the water after being in it for some time, but I still felt kind of bad asking her to wade through a creek. The key word there is kind of because the following photos turned out absolutely amazing.
On to May!
May is always busy for me even if I wasn't a photographer. All of our corn is planted as of 5/26 and we wrapped up our new hay seeding a couple of weeks prior to that. Somewhere in that time frame we also put the cows out on pasture for the first time this year, took our pregnant heifers over to our friends at Springhill Heritage Farm to graze, and observed our 5th wedding anniversary. I also went back to my hometown for a few days in the beginning of the month to be with my dad while he had a heart procedure done at UW-Madison. It's just one of those months that seems to pass in the blink of an eye because if the weather is good, you're running like a chicken with your head cut off.
I spent a brisk morning with Ashly Steinke at Sedge Wood Farms south of Cornell, Wisconsin as he turned his beautiful herd of British White cattle out on grass for the first time this year. The cows, while clearly very ready to start grazing, wasted no time getting to work on eating grass, sequestering carbon, improving soil health, and doing more for the environment than PETA. Ashly and I bullshitted and nerded out over grazing and cattle before grabbing lunch with our pal and fellow farmer Danielle Endvick*.
*Danielle, we ARE going to go kayaking this summer and we ARE going to get you some British Whites.
The end of May was an all-out banger. I got to see Erin Link of EB Ranch again and hang out with her goats before the filming crew from Wisconsin Public Television's Around The Farm Table stopped by later in the week. As a refresher, Erin and her partner, Bob, raise heritage livestock such as San Clemente Island goats and Cayuga ducks using regenerative farming practices. In addition to selling meat from the goats and various winged beings that call EB Ranch home, Erin also makes amazeballs goat milk soap and sells goat hides and skulls for home decor. I tagged along and followed Erin around while she did morning chores, and went home even more in awe of her badassery.
The next day, I was getting ready to head out for my first maternity session at Blue Ox Farm (I'm not having a baby, but Caleb and Lauren Langworthy are - just wanting to clarify) when I noticed a heifer named Glitter (obviously not named by my husband) was calving out in the lot east of the barn. I had just wrapped up chores a little earlier than usual and I knew Caleb and Lauren would be understanding if I was late, so I kept an eye on Glitter. Once the head was out, I pulled the calf out - a big, bouncing bull calf - the rest of the way and washed the amniotic fluid and blood from my hands and arms before I left. Did I need to pull the calf? Probably not. Did I have to get going? Yes. Did Glitter appreciate the assistance? Also yes.
Anyway, Caleb and Lauren's excitement over becoming parents and their love for each other seeps and weaves its way through each and every photo from their session. We hiked up to the tallest hill of their farm to showcase who they are and everything they stand for - livestock, land, and love.
My last session for May closed out the month in celebratory fashion with balloons, glitter, pretty dresses, and rubber boots and coveralls. Jacey Benzing, DVM, is a friend and fellow UWRF AGR wife. She reached out to me about doing a photo shoot to commemorate her graduation from the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine. A couple of things about vets: 1) I can't be a dairy farmer without my cattle receiving regular veterinary care and 2) vet school is harder to get into than med school. Therefore, since I have a special place in my heart for veterinarians, I was going to give Jacey one humdinger of a cap and gown (and glittery coverall) session.
We met at Hale Picking Co., an antique and home decor resale shop, in Northfield, Wisconsin, tucked in the coulees and creekbeds of western Jackson County. Hale Picking Co. was formerly a feed mill, so our location for the day was full of nods to agriculture - the tie that bonds me and so many of my clients. We also parked Jacey's vet truck in the side road in front of the mill to get some photos of her sitting in the back since her vet box hadn't been put in yet. In addition to those, we also went for a walk down by the creek that behind the mill. After this session, I am absolutely convinced that glitter should be part of every cap and gown session I will do in the future. Congratulations, Dr. Benzing, and thank you for ending my May on an incredibly high note!
Now it's on to June. With the beginning of both senior season and wedding season on the docket in addition to several more sessions and first crop hay looming, we're going to have just as much ground to cover if not more. Thank you all for being so awesome!