September 23

A ducky bale of hay

A ducky bale of hay

As noted in yesterday’s entry, North Dakota doesn’t raise many sheep. Even more scarce than sheep raised on hay is ducks on hay — especially toy ducks.

However, in my attempts to show North Dakota for what it is, I couldn’t pass up this imagery.  Yep, that’s the highway up there in the top running past the hay bales.  Usually you find hawks sitting on the bales looking for mice below.  Or you may find pheasants sitting on them escaping the wetness of the a morning’s heavy dew.  I will admit, however, this is the first time I’ve spotted a duck on a bale.

It was easy to spot, the yellow mark on the big bale as I drove by.  Perhaps that’s why there aren’t any more ducks on hay bales.  They’re too obvious.  The good news, however is they patiently sit while I get a good photograph.  And on another day of hazy overcast skies, I couldn’t duck the shot for my one-a-day.  Click on the picture to get a full size preview  and you will see  good even lighting with color providing all the contrast, not a lot of shadows — but oh it was wet in the ditch. That must be why the duck was on the bale.

August 4

Hey! Your tail light is broken!

A late-afternoon drive out of town provides a variety of welcoming opportunities that just kept getting better.  On this drive, as I was leaving town, I was the welcome wagon for this mini-chopper coming in to town.    A rope-start on the engine, a flywheel and belt pulley and a dangling tail light added character to the black flamed paint job on this orange chopper, complete with full size mirrors.

I continued my drive east of Wilton and welcomed a new birth as I headed east — a bale was born.

Yep, I welcomed this baby bale in to the world with um, well, “maternity” photos of the baler giving birth to the round bale.

My trip continued eastward, only to welcome a parade of harvest equipment as it rolled down Highway 36.  The combine leading the pack because it travels the slowest, followed by the support crew including the grain wagon.Harvest is a bit slow to start this year because of the late spring and heavy rains that dampened not only the unseeded fields, but then the rains that came right as harvest commenced.  So, these farmers are actually some of the first to get rolling in the neighborhood.

And speaking of neighborhood, the neighborhood welcoming committee was on hand when I drove in to Regan.  These guys were a friendly bunch and mobbed me with wagging tails and airborne, all four paws in the air, exuberant dancing right on Main Street Regan.

Regan Welcoming Committee

Regan, like many small towns allows the resident’s dogs run “at-large.”  I don’t mind. Do you?  I suppose if the town is much larger than Regan, population 43, that too many at-large dogs could be a problem.  What do you think of letting dogs run loose in town?

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.

May 8

No sooner does a blast from winter sweep through the region, than farmers are back at it, this one doing a little spring cleaning of a nearby hay field.   The cattle are still feeding on hay because pastures are not quite fully nutritional, so bringing in a few more bales of hay will help carry the herd through until spring.

The trailer the farmer here is pulling out to the field will carry a few big round bales of hay back to the feedlot.  It will also remove the last of the bales in the field in preparation for the coming hay crop this spring.