October 26 Winter isn’t sneaky — it’s slammin’

Winter’s first blow

Wow. Winter didn’t pull any punches with its introduction. It hit us hard, and it’s still two months until the first calendar of winter.

The blizzard rolled all day and tonight it’s slow going on Highway 83 at Wilton.  Trucks are still doing their thing, but a few have decided it’s not worth it. So, they pulled in to the Wilton Cenex truck stop.

I wasn’t sure what I’d find to photograph when I went out, but had hoped to catch some snow plows working Highway 83.  I gave up after about 10 seconds. I’m not used to this cold, yet.  So, I captured these images to show what we are in for until spring.

In a way, I find it a bit exciting to be challenged like this by winter, but it’s also groan-worthy because I know it’s going to be a long winter ahead.

And just as conflicted as I am about winter, I’m conflicted about the Wilton City street crew.  Yes, they do a great job of clearing the streets,but dang, a full 6 months of this is gonna be hard on my back — cleaning out the end of my driveway every time the snow plow goes by.

The morning after the night before

(Actually, this shot belongs with tomorrow’s entry, but I thought it was fitting to put it here to give a glimpse of the “aftermath” of this Intro to Winter 101 course.)

October 7 Cuttin’ corn

Binder down the dusty road

I could smell it when I drove the back roads looking for a photo of the day.  Somewhere some place, someone was cutting corn silage.  It’s an unmistakable sweet, wet/sweet smell.  Growing up in the Tall Corn State of Iowa, I grew up with the smell, knew it well.

Then I saw the silage truck headed back out to the field to get another load.

Dumping silage in to a truck

Silage cutting

There he went, down the road out in to a field where a silage cutter was taking care of the corn field, getting it cut and chopped to feed cattle all winter.  The trucks drove out in to the field to get a load dumped in to the box from the wagon pulled behind the tractor and silage cutter.

There musta been a half-dozen trucks keeping up with the tractor and cutter, hauling to a silage pile about 3 or 4 miles down the road.

I learned this was a neighborhood cutting bee. The owner’s wife was gravely ill and he was spending his time and money on her and her medical treatment.  So, the neighbors got together and  did the farmer’s work for him.

That’s the way it is out here.  We may not agree on everything, and sometimes downright disagree, but doggone it, when someone needs help, we’re there.  That’s what these neighbors did…they were there for the farm family. Not only did they supply material relief and help, their involvement in their neighbor’s plight musta been an encouragement to the farm family.

Would you agree? Sometimes it’s not what you do for someone, but just the fact you did something that really counts?

September 15


Waiting for morning trucking


Off to the edge of the Wilton Cenex gas station a lineup of trucks waits for morning’s shipments of hot mix for the road crew working between Bismarck and Wilton on Highway 83.  The Wilton Cenex has become a rendezvous point for trucks, not quite a truck stop, but more than a gas station.  The sleeper cabs keep the drivers overnight, and if they want to wander in for a cuppa jo or a pizza, they don’t have far to go.

I like this shot because of the lighting, and if you look closely you can see a moon trying to peak out. I was trying to get in position for the shot while the full moon was in full splendor. But alas, the clouds covered my model.  So, I shot the props, the trucks beneath the moon.

March 19

I’ve got a thing for shots at night.  The camera catches light and illumination differently than does our eyes.  It can direct your eyes to go where you may have looked elsewhere. Take this shot for example. Think of where your eyes traveled as you looked at it. How quickly did your eyes run down the length of the truck? At what point did you focus on the fuel pumps?  Did you try to read the label?  These are things you may have missed in the daylight when there is so much to distract.

The Wilton Cenex Convenience Store is an amazing little place. If you browse the aisles back toward the hardware store and shop, you’ll be impressed with the things you find.  Heck, you might even see a rack with some of my postcards for sale there!  Anyway, the south end of the lot often has a few semi’s parked overnight, like a truck stop. Yet the primary target audience of the Farmers Union Cenex Convenience Store is as the name suggests, farmers.

March 8

It’s surely spring with all this fog. Temperatures are reasonable for this time of year, but the fog is getting wearisome.  Truckers on I-94 like this cattle hauler drive in a shroud of gray that prevents them from seeing much of where they are.    For me as a photographer, it is a bit of a challenge to find new and different ways to shoot the same gray scenery.  Then, I drove by the Oasis Truck Stop in Bismarck and saw a new way to look at the parking lot.