October 10 Wilton’s pond at sunset

Sunset at Wilton Centennial Park

This is one of my favorite images in my year-long project of shooting North Dakota every day of 2010.  Some days my photos are so amateurish and bad that I don’t post them.

But on this day, just a short walk from my home I saw what might work for a good image. Of course it’s the Golden Hour, and it shows.  The color is radiant in the trees and along the horizon.

Most unusual (and if you’re from North Dakota, you know what I mean) there is no wind.  The reflective glass of the Wilton Centennial Park pond is perfect to bounce back the trees and light around it.

I could easily vote for this as my favorite photo of the year in North Dakota 365.  What do you think?

June 9

I do not understand why people are so destructive in their effort to improve their home space. Why do people cut down a perfectly good, healthy, mature tree that provides them with shade and adds to the city’s forest?I know in this case the young family turned their residential property in to a light commercial property and used up their back yard with construction equipment and a large shop.  So, where does the kid play?  They cut down this healthy tree to put up a swing set.Later this summer, I’ll show you the barren yard, or well as much of it as I can around the construction equipment.  Not a good conversion of residential property and not a good thing for the neighborhood, my neighborhood. These are my across-the-street neighbors.North Dakota lives up to its reputation as a treeless state.  At one time, the state had a flourishing natural forest along the Missouri River. Then, someone down stream decided to North Dakota should be the catch basin for all the water that flows downstream, and dams were built flooding much of North Dakota’s natural forest.

For 100 years conservationists and economists have encouraged planting of trees in North Dakota.  Nurseries have developed strains of trees that will grow here in this harsh winter climate.  Today, according to the Ag Extension service, nearly 95% of the state’s forest has been hand-planted.

So, why destroy what has taken so long to build?  I doubt if the hot sunny swing set play ground will be as inviting as was the cool shaded front lawn that is now gone.

May 16

rodent rummaging in refuse pile

Ah that little rascal. He’s been getting in to my garage for some time now, but this is the first time I saw him. I’m gonna make sure I keep my garage door closed.  Yeah, I know they’re cute and fun to watch, but they need to stay outside.

I often wonder how squirrels got in to prairie towns such as Wilton.  Squirrels’ natural habitat is trees and Wilton is far from any treed area such as the Missouri River.  It’s probably 7 miles from the river.  So what did it take to get a squirrel couple to move to Wilton across 7 miles of prairie to establish a family here and to spread their offspring through the community?

Come to think of it, are there squirrels in every town?  Is there any town anywhere that does not have squirrels?