A few weeks ago, our dear friend, Charles Heide flew over our house and photographed it from the air.  He kindly sent us a CD with his photos, and I have spent far too much time gazing at them since.

A bird’s-eye view of the world.  What a wonderful sight.  In our case, it’s a view of the undulating landscape of the Driftless Area.IMG_1484

It’s a view humans have been craving since long before we had aircraft to make them possible.

When we lived in the Netherlands, I often marveled at the bird’s eye views of ancient cities that so meticulously reproduced the view from above that the artist could only imagine.  Check out this great example here.

Charles has given us an opportunity to look down on our little spot in the world and see it in context.



Looking from the south, you can see the little patch of spruce circled in red.  These trees were planted near the bottom of a south-facing slope where we plan to start the process of growing grapes next summer.  Our advisor told us that the location is not totally ideal because it is  partially down the slope.  Cold air will come sliding down that slope, and in the spring and summer and fall could give our grapes a destructive chill.  Especially if we don’t remove those spruce.  They constitute a cold dam where the air flowing downward will pool against them and start to slosh back up into our tender grape vines.

So the spruce must go.  We intend to replace them with a pollinator-friendly prairie planting, which should, (in the long run) be much more suited to our warming climate.

In the meantime, it’s emotionally hard to fell trees without a really good reason, and several reasons are even better.  So we are asking everyone we know in the area to come and cut their holiday tree from this little stand.

We've been thinning these trees and turning our living room into a winter wonderland since we bought the land.

We’ve been thinning these trees and turning our living room into a winter wonderland since we bought the land.

If you live near Madison and want a natural spruce, they are there for the taking.  Give me a call at 608 469-1193.  These are the trees we have used to celebrate solstice for the past 9 years.  Ironically, this year, we are in a tiny apartment with wall-to-wall carpeting while waiting for the completion of Underhill House, and we will probably not cut any holiday trees.  Sigh.

Site of solar panels

Site of solar panels

From this view, the red arrow shows the place where we now have our solar panels up and ready to collect heat as soon as a final plumbing detail is completed.  It’s part of the solar design of our house that it faces to the south with a northward sloping roof that made it possible to put the panels so snug up to the house.

IMG_1493-2Finally, here is a close-up of our site.  The arrow is pointing to me – waving to Charles and to the bright blue sky.

A bird’s eye view.  It’s good to shift perspective once in a while.

2 replies

  1. LOVE the location! Beautiful house! ~ Have to question the number of freezers you have… Cause its a long drive to any town… Nearest hospital is how far? Enjoy nature’s wonders year round! Happy Holidays to you!

    • Thanks for your kind words. At present we just have one medium-size freezer. Once we start gardening in earnest, we may need more, but we intend to use the root cellar and drying for some food preservation.
      It’s only about 15 miles to a small, local hospital and 40 miles to the hospitals in Madison, our nearest city.
      Happy Holdays to you too.

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