Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Small Towns

Amy starts out this week’s challenge with:

This week the photo challenge is about the countryside and/or small towns.

“Sometimes you find yourself in the middle of nowhere;

and sometimes, in the middle of nowhere, you find yourself”   –author unknown

Here in the Midwest, small towns are often found along the shores of the numerous lakes. 

Ephraim, Door County, Wisconsin on Lake Michigan

Bayfield, Wisconsin on Lake Superior

Sometimes you will find a really BIG town on the shores of these lakes, too!

Chicago, Illinois on Lake Michigan

Being from a small town is nothing to be ashamed of. Even if the town’s name is Embarrass…

French fur traders found it difficult to float logs down the meandering river that runs by this town. They would create log jams, hindering the flow of timber to its destination. “Embarrass” in French means “block or hinder”. The Embarrass River and the town of Embarrass is not hiding a dark scandal, after all. 

School bus stop, Woodman, Wisconsin

Small towns that can sustain their small populations are wonderful models of the future, not simply relics of the past. Putting humans on the landscape while paying close attention to scale and carrying capacity is a challenge that must be addressed if our species is to survive much longer on this planet. 

Home Economics

It’s ALIIIIVE!!!   It’s in the kitchen, and it’s growing!  I’m waiting for it to double in size, then I’ll screw up all my courage and give it a good punch!  I’m gonna break it in half, then I’ll let it alone for about an hour while the two halves grow again.  It sounds kind of like an amoeba, but actually it’s whole wheat dough.  Yup, I’m making bread.  By the time I get it baking, I’ll be making split pea soup as well, but I have to take a walk to the grocery store to get some dried mushrooms for that.

We have about 4 cubic feet of cookbooks in the dining room.  I often just look up a recipe online, but that makes Steve cringe.  He thanked me this morning for asking him to direct me to one of his books.  So I am celebrating my participation in lower-tech food preparation.  I will not get into my car and drive to Panera for bread and soup.  I will make it myself.  And I don’t want to pat myself on the back for this.  This is not a revolutionary step.  This is what almost every woman was able to do 100 years ago.

I’m not exactly sure what the comparative benefits are to this approach.  I haven’t researched the whole economic picture of Panera restaurant vs. homemade.  I just know that I’m not making an income (aside from being paid for giving one private voice lesson a week), and so I don’t want to spend much.  Is it possible in this day and age to live without spending?  Well, just yesterday, I ran across this news article about a grandmother in Germany who hasn’t used money for 16 years. http://wakeup-world.com/2011/07/18/happy-69-year-old-lady-has-not-used-money-for-15-years/     I really like that idea.  Capitalism isn’t my best friend.  WalMart makes me shudder.  I read about theft in my town paper every week.  What would happen if more of us were able to get off that treadmill somehow and live without using money or coveting goods?  Would we be able to scale back on damage to the environment?  Would we be able to scale back our population?  I know all these issues are intertwined, and I’m still wondering how they effect each other in the big picture and in my personal life.

Steve & I have been thinking about going to a conference on Population that will be held in Telluride, Colorado over Memorial Day weekend.  It’s called Moving Mountains Symposium: Population.  It’s a film festival as well, and features Dave Foreman (of The Rewilding Institute) as one of its keynote speakers.

So all this is just rising in my consciousness as the bread is rising downstairs.  I’m not quite ready to present it all sliced and buttered for this blog, but I like to think that IT’S ALIIIIVE in me in some way.  Stay tuned!