There's a little boy I'd like to tell you about.
His name is Ryker and he just turned one! He lives on a farm tucked in the hills and valleys of Pepin County, Wisconsin. He loves anything with wheels and four legs, and his first word wasn't 'mama' or 'dada', but 'skidsteer'. No lie. His mama told me that Ryker is a little boy with big emotions, and she's right! Ryker is all business and not much for nonsense, especially when it comes to his tractors and machines.
Ryker's parents, Noah and Celsey, are dairy farmers like my husband and I, just with a lot more cows (like 900 more). In addition to `attending UW-River Falls, we naturally had a lot in common and engaged in plenty of cowside banter between shots in addition to discussing our many mutual friends and acquaintances. We took some more family-oriented shots at Noah and Celsey's home just down the road from their dairy (and their mint 1968 Mercury Comet) before letting the session become more Ryker-centric.
Then we took off down the road to Weiss Family Farms, where 950 cows are milked three times a day in a 50-cow rotary parlor. The Weiss family ships their milk to Eau Galle Cheese just north of nearby Durand, Wis. Noah told me that it was a major upgrade from their old parlor, where it took 22 hours out of the day to get all the cows milked. With the rotary, each milking takes about 3.5 hours - a major time and labor saver for everyone involved. Before I headed down there for this session, I asked Celsey to grab Ryker's favorite blanket (or any blanket) and some of his favorite toys so he could play farmer in their freestall barn. Here's some of the magic that happened next.
All in all, it was a lovely September afternoon for some family photos and a visual celebration of a little boy who is truly deeply loved.