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“Modern” technology by family farm standards; all photos by Sherry Kappel


Technology and Nature

As a few of you might remember, I’ve volunteered periodically at a goat dairy farm for the past several years. It’s a bit of work feeding and lifting a hundred baby goats from one pen to another for hours at a time, but also incredibly rewarding. One of the biggest perks is leaving the suburbs behind and watching the sun rise serenely over near-pristine fields, the air viscerally sweet and pure.

According to the owners, the farm is well over 200 years old, including a few of the structures, and they are only the third owner (I assume the others were familial hand-me-downs). Their original plan was to restore the old farmhouse while living in a newer pre-fab house, but the 24/7 challenges of farm life have limited the progress.

Theirs is, I imagine, the case with many family farms — more to do than hours in the day. As a result, the land is checkered with little hints of where humanity has left its stamp (dare I say intruded?) over the years, the natural and the technical, the old and the new. Sometimes it is jarring, as in, one of these things is not like the others, while sometimes they blend symbiotically.

The mildly electric wires that encircle each pasture are almost invisible. The barn and the dairy, while a nontraditional navy blue, are noticeable but not terribly disruptive. The current tractor, shown above, is probably the biggest, brightest indicator of human presence, especially as it’s among the newest and moves around. For a time they put antiquated school busses in the fields with the goats as portable protection from the elements. Those are gone now, but there are a wide assortment of sheds and equipment in various places and in varying states of being reclaimed by the earth.

The April Snapshots challenge is fairly broad and open to interpretation: where do you see nature and technology coming together? Is it positive or negative? Blended or jarring? It could be an oil rig out in the ocean, or the miles and miles of several thousand windmills nestled in the farms along the expressway in Indiana. Ponder it while you peruse the other images below from my beloved goat farm.

All the regular Snapshots Submission Guidelines apply — particularly, only 10 photos and 750 words per submission. Even though it may seem obvious that all the photos are yours, we still need you to give credit to yourself beneath each photo or make a blanket statement that all photos are yours. If you haven’t read the Submission Guidelines, you can find them here.

Please include Monthly Challenge as one of your tags.

This prompt will be active through the end of April and is open to everyone.

This is attached to the tractor, albeit mismatched and older. Such mishmash is the nature of farms with razor-thin margins.
A purely gratuitous pic for Erik Smith; kinda sunny. Perhaps I should have shot it in Black and White?
The aforementioned farmhouse, with a newer addition removed. For those unaware of such things, the kitchens (building on the right) were detached in those days due to the elevated risk of fire. To the far right is the original well.
Does this shed look like it will fall any second? It’s leaned like that for the six years I’ve been around and contains various odds and ends. None of it is used, so far as I know. I don’t think it would be a farm without buildings like these.
A somewhat newer shed with equally precarious supports. The truck hasn’t worked in…decades?…but people offer to buy it anyway. There’s a similar one in another shed.
Closer up. Makes me think of that Pixar movie. Somehow it seems more aligned with the farm than the tractor is.
This and the next picture show how nature and the human elements are slowly becoming one again. I can almost imagine the above remnants as a covered wagon.
I see this pairing as an elderly cyborg, or maybe an early prototype.
This adorable kid, just an hour old, and her mother are enjoying the warmth of an infrared light. Because, I couldn’t leave you without a goat!



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