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2020 was “the lost year” for our family, since I was simply working constantly through it. I declared that 2021 would be “The year we get it all back.” And it has been quite a whirlwind of a year, just like 2020 was… but for some fantastic reasons. One of those reasons is a little more photo time, even though I haven’t posted much of anything.

I couldn’t wait to post this one, however. My travels took me past the little hamlet of Heimdal (that should get the attention of you Thor fans) yesterday, and I had to do a U-turn to come back and actually enter the town. The reason: this flag. Simple yet elegant. I love small towns, especially those in North Dakota.

Not only is a flag placed upon this sign, but it’s also been dressed. It hangs perfectly I wish I’d taken a photo of the back of the sign now, because it was as perfectly placed from that angle as it was from this one. All too often I get home and think, “I should have taken one more photo!” Well, this was one of those times. I’m so glad, though, that this caught my eye as I whizzed down the highway so I could get the photos I needed to show you my discovery.

Thank you, Heimdal.

Been a while since a windmill

I spotted this as the rain was about to move in, but I knew I had some time to make a quick capture. Windmills catch my eye often, and this one didn’t disappoint. It looks like it’s got a lot of character, no doubt derived from years – generations, maybe – of service.

Since I was in Morton County, I couldn’t help but hope that it would say “Morton” on the back. But as I got closer, I saw that wasn’t the case. This is still a grand prairie specimen…and I just just enough time to take its picture before the rain moved in and brought my photography day to a profitable end.

So many Monty Python references here

I saw this tree along a Morton County highway and immediately thought of a litany of references from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. First was the easiest: “Your arm’s off! No it isn’t!” See where I’m going here?

“It’s only a flesh wound!” and “I’ve had worse!” also come to mind. I couldn’t help but stop, snap a couple of photos, and post them to share.

You’ve Got Mail – and lots of available space

This mailbox is many, many miles from…well, anywhere. But I’m sure it makes rural deliveries possible for plenty of folks ranching or farming in the area! It sits just south of our border with South Dakota, and naturally it caught my eye as unusual.

I don’t know if it’s been repurposed by the nearest resident or if it serves as a distribution point, but it sure looks cool, standing in isolation out along a vast stretch of the CanAm Highway!

Settled in

I spotted this little old building on my way back from the Black Hills recently. It’s got a lot of chaotic angles going on here, and even plenty of curves, and of course that’s what caught my eye.

How could you not have your attention grabbed by something like this? It’s almost like the structure is melting from the rear forward. Of course I had to do a U-turn and come back to check it out.

I admit, one of the things which made this one stand out to me was the little cupola at the top. While it’s pretty ragged, it’s actually hanging in there quite sturdily.

Remember I mentioned curves? Much of this wood is positively wavy. This wood has aged in a way which gives it a series of incongruent curves reminiscent of the lumber pile at Menard’s!

I have plenty of other photos to share – FINALLY – and hope to get back to some regular posting here in the future. That is, until the next emergency gets me swamped again…until then, let’s have ourselves some summer!

Apparently this idiot is still out there doing his thing

I woke this morning to a buzz online about a CBS Sunday Morning story which ridiculed North Dakota. Its focus was the “controversy” over the location of the Geographical Center of North America™ and the validity of various claims to its location.

The story itself is really entertaining, but it has one boil on its bottom: Clay Jenkinson. Fond of his own voice and written word, he apparently couldn’t resist the opportunity to attempt to elevate himself by ridiculing North Dakota. Which is no surprise; every time I’ve encountered something Clay Jenkinson has produced, it’s come across as overly wordy, rambling, and “too smart by half” – not to mention self-serving. But he lays claim to representing North Dakota and the prairie lifestyle, somehow…except when looking down his nose at them can elevate his image in his own eyes, apparently.

This piece could have had entirely different tone if not for a purported “scholar” attempting to distinguish himself by ridiculing the state he claims to love and represent. I’m actually surprised anyone is still paying attention to this braying jackass. So I guess it’s time for a meme:

“I’m a loser, baby…”

2020 was ridiculously busy for me. 2021 hasn’t been much better. It’s been almost two months since I’ve posted on this blog, and longer than that since I’ve been able to roam my beloved state with my cameras. But this travesty managed to bring me to my keyboard to speak out. Perhaps it can serve as a catalyst for me to load up my truck, hit some section lines for some photography, and come back to share images which prove that we’re anything but a “loser state.”

Stumped again

I found this stump in a pretty remote spot within the boundaries of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park one morning. I’d slept in the back of my truck, enjoying a hot summer night, and woke up just before the sun to head into the park for one of my favorite photos ever – one which had me slogging up the Little Missouri in bare feet to capture just the right angle at just the right time. Afterwards, I went poking around the park for a little while – shoes on, once I left the water – and discovered a few gems like this one. Then it was on to the Ice Caves, which was an adventure in itself.

 

Along the way, in a spot where you’d have to be going there to get there, I found this little eroded column with a cactus adornment.

 

One thing about hardy plants like weeds and cacti, they sure are determined! This was actually almost as tall as I, and it was an unexpected discovery as I trekked across previously unexplored (by me) territory.

I did make it to the Ice Caves, and I hope to go back someday…and hopefully the trip there will be as unique as the destination.

Still standing, sorta

I recently got a chance to swing by this old barn near Wilton and check in to see how it’s doing. You see, I’ve made a point of taking a peek to see its progress – decline, really – since I first stopped by in 2010 to use it for a test subject on a brand new camera model I was evaluating for purchase.

 
 

This is what it looked like when I first came across it. Pretty cool, huh? It was already starting to sag toward the front, and a large beam had been propped up to arrest its fall.

 

Even back then, it was pretty obvious where this was heading. The collapse was inevitable, but the old barn has put up one heck of a fight. This photo is over ten years old.

 

It’s weathered many storms and seen hundreds of sunsets, but it’s starting to sunset itself these days. The stone side is completely crumbled, the wood from the ends is gone, and the entire structure has now sunk to the ground. But I prefer to remember it like this.

I’m afraid that before too long this barn, like many of my other favorite “Fallen Farms” photo subjects, will be gone. But for now, I’m going to continue to pay it a visit occasionally, and it has never disappointed me…it always provides a fantastic photo opportunity, and I’m sure it will faithfully do so until the end.