This site is about photography and the inner thoughts of photographer Andrew Plath.

Archive for ‘October, 2011’

The Farm of My Ancestors

This farm was very much a part of my life. It belonged to my great Uncle Bernard "Ben" Rusch.

A long time ago, when Julie, my sister, and I were kids, we used to visit this place.  This farm once belonged to the youngest of my Grandmother Werner’s  brothers.   It later was taken over by his son Alvin and daughter-in-law Agnes Rusch.    It still remains in the family more or less as one of Alvin’s grandson’s now owns it.  It was one of the remaining farms owned by the Rusch’s of the Town of Stetin.

I spent time in that barn when I was little watching the cows get milked and playing with the cats.  I walked its fields.   I smelled the manure and the hay and the fresh air that comes the farm life.  It was a successful farm in that my mother’s cousin Alvin had kept making a profit from milk checks well into his  70s.

It is in places like this that my mind turns to author Ben Logan and his own stories of what it was like for him to grow up in the southwestern part of Wisconsin.  “The Land Remembers. Remember the land.”

Anyone who is related to a Rusch in these parts of Wisconsin has ties to this land.   The towns of Stetin and Berlin were named so by German immigrants who settled here in a way to remember the places in their homeland in Europe.   These people were of hearty Lutheran faith.   They came here to settle and live a free life.

I remember my great uncle Ben as a soft-spoken man.   When ever he came with Alvin and Agnes to visit my  Grandmother, Uncle Ben was the quiet one.  He just sat back and listened to the talk and said “Ja,ja.  (Yes, yes in German).   I still visualize him leading the team of Belgian draft horses in to the barn and telling us kids to stand clear so we don’t get stomped.

 

 

Wausau’s Little Known Nature Preserve

I took a hike across town this morning just for some exercise on this warm autumn day.   Wausau is surrounded by color in the fall with wooded hills on all sides.  This makes for a pretty site to see in the fall.  The Paff Woods  is a part of that  on a ridge on Wausau’s far east side and is a part of Wausau’s park system, so there is a network of trails.

Compared to larger parks in Marathon County like the Big Eau Pleine County Park http://www.co.marathon.wi.us/Departments/ParksRecreationForestry.aspx  and Rib Mountain State Park , http://dnr.wi.gov/org/land/parks/specific/ribmt/, both at about 1400 acres, this park is small.  Yet it allows neighbors a peaceful place to get out, exercise, enjoy nature, and it allows elementary students at nearby Hawthorn Hills  School to experience  nature.

I just had to get out and walk this morning and I knew my feet would carry me there.  Sans camera, I knew I had images on file from this park.  Good reason to write.

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