May 21

Green grass red barn

Man it’s green!

I don’t know what these horses were looking at, but I was looking at their pen and all the green grass there.  I wonder if during the winter when their diet is mostly hay, if they long for the taste of soft chewy grass.

It was late afternoon when I drove down a gravel road west of Wilton toward the river. There wasn’t much light left as clouds were moving in. So, once I got an image of these horses turned out to spring grass, I had my one-a-day.

Lazy, I know.

February 28

There’s not much left of Dodge, North Dakota.  The railroad pulled out and left the grain elevator which had been an investment in not only the community but the area.  It stands idle in the rolling hills bluffs and buttes of western North Dakota.  The deteriorating church in the foreground is also testament to the decline of rural communities. I guess the sower went forth elsewhere to sow.

I’ve shot the church in years past in different weather and different lights. This time I drove, up a hill south of Dodge, hiked a short bit to get the church lined up with the grain elevator.  I’ve thought of ways to filter the image, to do some “fixing” in post–processing, but decided just showing it as it is tells the story.

Meanwhile, down the rail line a ways, is another grain elevator that still struggles without its rail line.The Killdeer elevator serves area ranchers with storage and with feed supplies.  On a full-moon night, I caught the moon peeking through scattered clouds behind the elevator. To get the angle I wanted, I climbed a snow stockpile the city had pushed up in the elevator yard.  I dug in my boots in to the side of the snow pile, laid in a still position, bracing the camera to remain steady for the long exposure.  I know more than one vehicle passed me thinking perhaps that I was some drunk laying in the snow.  Who knows, I may still be there. Maybe I should go back and look.

February 14

Deer cluster together where there's food

Winter is hard not only on people and things,  but also animals. God has given northern plains animals special qualities for surviving the winter, and one of those is good.  They eat a lot, and they bunch up where a lot of food is to be found.  This farm north of Wing, not far from Mercer is an example.  The whole herd is much larger than my lens could capture.  Still, in the evening sun, I waited until they moved closer to the farm to give you a perspective of  life on the northern plains for deer.

Abandoned red school house

The day’s photo journey started out with just a drive.  The landscape can be monotonous.  It’s very blue (yes, I know people think of snow as being white, but the visual environment is blue.)  So, in all that blue (and yes, white)  a red school house stands out starkly against the colors of winter.

This photo of the highway, the wind blowing snow across the pavement, the hills in the background pictures North Dakota’s winter.  Brrr.  The sun sets early,  about 5:00 p.m. which just adds to the closed-in feeling of winter. That’s why on a good traveling day like this, with a little bit of sun, it is good to get out and see the world.

On this trip, the turn-around spot was Harvey, North Dakota where patriotism and America’s military strength is honored with a place in the city park.  Here, under the last bit of sunlight, and a great amount of street light, this tank, and the flag stand as a reminder that the security of North Dakota’s winter and the 12-month lifestyle of freedom is kept only because we are willing to fight for it.

February 1

Huddled down by the feed bunk to stay warm

On a farm just up the hill a few miles from the Missouri River has at least a couple of cows who know what to do to stay warm. They huddle down and eat.  That’s how farmers keep their livestock warm, they feed them.  It takes a lot of hay and a lot of summer time work to prepare for winter if you’re a farmer or rancher with livestock.

The menu for this rancher's livestock is hay

Farm animals take a lot of feeding in the winter, and these two horses are no exception.  Like the cows down the road, they stay warm by eating…and they don’t wander far from the hay pile the rancher leaves for them.  When spring comes, I don’t think they’ll be as close to the hay pile, and might be harder to find to get photos.

Two horses in the snow