February 23

Buried in the snow, but about to be revealed by the soon-to-come warmth of spring, this old Pontiac lays exposed to the afternoon sun.  It’s ratty interior is barely visible.  It’s rusty surface deflects the snow and absorbs the heat.  The snow drift on the side indicates it’s been a windy winter. Again.

I pass this car often on my road trips east of Wilton.  In the spring it stands out against the green pastures. In the late summer, it is framed by blooming wildflowers and weeds.  I’ve never seen any sign of ownership, though it is in a fenced off collection of old cars, trucks and tractors, but as far as I can tell, I’m the only person who pays it any attention.

Wildlife bounces around the Northern Plains in the winter, looking for food and shelter. Deer especially congregate anywhere they can find food, including this farmstead near Wing, North Dakota.  It’s one of the few signs of life you’ll see on the prairie in winter.

Otherwise, it’s not only the cold, but the wind that populate the Northern Plains.  So, next to an abandoned farm house, with its wind-powered water well, is the newly installed wind turbine that harvests the wind 12 months out of the year. It’s never too cold to grab a bit of North Dakota’s plentiful wind and turn it in to a useable commodity — electricity.

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