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Posts Tagged ‘countryside’

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but the county where I live now is the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived. I had a quick trip to the dentist this morning, and thought to bring my camera along to capture a lovely view or two. This is what’s across the street from my dentist.

Further to the right, a church nestled in a grove of trees. It was – still is – a clear, bright day. The sky an almost startling blue with not a cloud in sight. The only sound, the slight hum of the tractor carrying across the fields, and the occasional car passing me by.

I snapped a few photos, but then just stood there, loving watching the farmer go about his mowing, likely the first cutting of the year. I probably should have waved. Out here, you can be pretty sure he’d wave back at you.

Looking down the road, heading west. On a day like this – cool, dry, sunny, and inviting – it would have been nice to go down this road and explore more, see where it would take me. But life being what it is, I had other stops to make, other things to do. In fact, in all the years I’ve been going to my dentist, I’ve never once taken the time to follow this beautiful road.

It’s the downside of our lives sometimes … not accepting an invitation because we’re too busy. The backroads are always a great invitation; I need to open my schedule up a bit.

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The morning skies were overcast, and the roads were fairly quiet. So I brought along my camera on my trip to the supermarket. The photos below were taken on an approximate 5 minute stretch of my 20-25 minute return trip from food shopping.

SR-Farm2

Fields have been tilled and planted. Set far back
from the road, a horse farm.

When I first moved out to this beautiful side of the state, I learned from my neighbors/soon-to-be-friends that we “transplants” were not always welcome here. Of course I asked why. I was shocked by their answer. “Because,” they told me, “no sooner do people move out here than they want a supermarket down the road and a 7-11 on the corner, a MacDonald’s in walking distance, etc. etc., just like they had back in the burbs.”

Needless to say, this made no sense to me either. Why would you move out to the country and want to change it? I very soon adopted their attitude. Don’t like it here? Go back to where you came from. Because here … is gorgeous. As is.

SR-TallTrees2

There are plenty of woodsy roads to be found.

I was enamored of this county the moment I moved out here. The more I drove around and saw, the more I loved it. It is truly the most beautiful place I’ve ever lived.

SR-ToCowFarm2

Approaching the upcoming curve, I always get excited for what’s to come.

Driving the backroads – passing farms and wide open land, seeing horses, cows, goats and sheep living the life they deserve, through densely forested areas, over burbling creeks, watching crops grow – I just can’t wipe this idiot grin off my face.

SR-BeltieFarm2

It’s a huge farm with Beltie, (and some Hereford), cattle/cows.

With no one else behind me, I pulled over and took a few shots of the farm across the road, always one of the highlights of my ride. There are numerous large pastures and upon them graze what are known as “Belties” – officially, Belted Galloways.

SR-Belties2

Belted Galloways are a heritage breed of beef cattle originating from Galloway in southwestern Scotland. They are known
to be a very hardy breed, originating from the 1700’s.

When I first saw these cows, maybe 15 years ago, I nearly went off the road.  I was utterly transfixed by their markings. It’s no surprise that people, including breeders, sometimes refer to them as Oreo-cookie cows.

SR-YoungBeltie2

A young Beltie. “I can get that itch if I just stretch far enough.”

At some point, I would like to contact the farm owner and ask if I might go out into the fields with the cows and really do an expansive photo shoot. Cows are such wonderful, sweet and curious animals. However, the bulls out there might not take kindly to me among them, farmer-escorted or not. (Not to mention this might be a major inconvenience for the farmer.) But I can assure you I would be in heaven, just hanging out in their midst and photographing them.

SR-DownTheHill2

It’s still spring, and the foliage you see is actually just beginning to bloom.

The next leg of the ride on this particular road has multiple sharp curves heading downhill, banks of trees ascending steeply on either side, until you are essentially in a gorge, but alas, there’s no opportunity to stop for a photograph. When summer is full blown, it’s a riot of dense green – trees, foliage and lots of moss. It reminds me of the parts of New Zealand where they filmed Lord of the Rings.

If I can see such beauty as this in just a tiny part of my ride home from the supermarket, why would I want one on the corner?

Don’t like it here? Let me help you pack!

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I have really had a hankering in recent months to do something/see something different. I am in love with the beautiful county where I live, but I’ve also wanted to just see something new, local or otherwise. So when a friend mentioned going to a buffalo watch, which would most likely offer some good photo ops, I thought it a great idea. And off we went. The day was overcast, but for me, that doesn’t detract at all from the lovely views.

Buffalo-FarmView2

This is a photo of the Readington River Buffalo Farm from a distance. My friend and I decided to take the tour, which is a bunch of us in a hay wagon pulled around the farm by a John Deere. The farm is 200+ acres, and also stables a number of polo ponies. There is a store on the premises which sells a variety of cuts of buffalo meat, which, of course, I did not go in. I am well aware why they’re raising the buffalo; I wanted to simply enjoy the animals.

Buffalo-LanceOnTractor2

This is Lance, who drove the tractor. Our “tour guide” on the hay wagon is a member of the nearby Whitehouse Station Rescue Squad which benefitted from the small fee for the tour. He provided us with a lot of information about the economics of raising buffalo, the farm, the animals and how the owner came to raise them. I love that a woman runs this entire operation and that the whole farm is solar powered!

Buffalo-BreederBull2

This is one of the two prize breeding bulls. I honestly wanted to get out and give him a kiss, but who knows how he would have felt about that even if it were allowed? Not to mention, if I could smooch a buffalo, EVERYONE would want to get out and smooch a buffalo!!

Buffalo-2ndBreederBull2

This is the second breeding bull. Here are a few things I learned about buffalo: they have 7 layers of skin and 4 stomachs; males and females both have horns, but the males’ horns are bigger; the bulls weigh 1,800 pounds! and did I mention they’re damn cute?

Buffalo-RoadHome2

This is a shot on the road leaving the property. So often I want to take photos when I drive the beautiful backroads of Hunterdon County and share them here. The problem is, almost all roads are 2 lane blacktops with a double line and no shoulder. Very rarely is there anyplace to pull over, (without being in a ditch), to photograph the countryside. But today on the farm’s road, I could get out and do so.

Buffalo-NearbyFarm2

And another shot of a farm set back from the same road.
Thanks for coming along, and I hope you enjoyed the (short) tour!

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