December 19 ditches are for sleds

Ditch-running

Sharing the road, or at least the ditches.  This time of year it’s not surprising to look beside you as you travel the highways and see a snowmobile running along side of you — sometimes just as fast as you’re going.

As I headed in to Washburn along Highway 200 from the west, there beside me was a big person piloting a snowmobile with a little person hanging on.  They were only going about 35 or so.  I passed them easily.  I image later in the say, however, you could pull up to most any bar, restaurant or gas station in most any town in North Dakota and see as many snowmobiles as cars parked outside.  I’ll hafta look for that shot this winter.

July 9

Baling the ditch

The state would have to mow the ditches before winter if it were not for the needs of local ranchers to feed their cattle in the winter. That’s how a cooperative effort is formed between the state and local land owners. The state doesn’t have to mow the snow-catching drift-forming grasses in the ditch, and the rancher can harvest the ditch for his cattle.  It’s a win win and typical of the cooperative culture of North Dakotans who work together, especially to defeat the common enemy of winter.

Across the way, another cooperative effort is underway. The local electric coop is building a wind farm, renting the land from the local farmers to generate electricity from the wind.  The electricity is shipped to eastern states who don’t give a thought about who supplied the electricity or where it came from.  It came from here.  And obviously more is about to come to homes in the east because more turbines are about to be built.  They’re mammoth towers on the prairie as is evidenced by the pickup truck below one of them, driving past the soon-to-be erected tower stems.

April 4

Not much going on today — still digging out from the spring snow storm.  Some people had their lives totally upended by the surprise snow.  You can see how in 24 hours the drifts are gone and bare ground is starting to show through.  But that doesn’t help the owners of this Subaru who had to leave their upended car.  It could be weeks before power is restored to many of the people in southwestern ND because of all the power lines and transmission lines that are down.

Ice crack at Devils Lake

So, Red and I headed up north to Devils Lake to see something other than spring storm messes.  We wanted to check out the condition of that international quagmire.  The Canadians won’t let North Dakota control the flooding because some of the “biota” may flow in to Canada.  So, Devils Lake residents are forced to lose their land because the Canadians are afraid water will carry something that migratory birds are not already carrying back and forth.

On this evening, the sun was setting over the lake and creating a glowing stripe where the ice was separating on the lake — another sign of spring.

While in the area, I tried to find a high enough hill to shoot the landscape, but was unsuccessful. We did find a bit of Spanish influence on the region in this Catholic Church.  Established in 1885,Our Lady of Seven Dolors Church (Sisseton and Wahpeton) at Fort Totten, was originally under the Dioceses of Jamestown, then in 1897, Diocese of Fargo.

It was written in 1922, the financial burden for the Seven Dolors Mission was borne by the Grey Nuns who built the church, the priests’s house, maintain both, provide fuel, altar furnishings and implements for worship.

It’s a solid building and photographers in the area could capture it 12 months out of the year and get all kinds of reflective colors.