Hey again everyone,
In this episode of Traveling with Tom, learn and see little more of his and Donna’s home state of North Dakota, in December! Now it’s not the most desired destination of most travelers in the very late fall and winter season unless one is prepared for all kinds of weather but does exhibit it’s own beauty and serenity. For example, here’s a photo I took a couple of years ago on the farm I grew up on. It had snowed and was pretty cold with a stiff breeze out of the northwest. The cloud formation in the background is Lake Sakakawea in the process of freezing over. Lake Sakakawea was named after the Shoshone-Hidatsa woman who travel with the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804. The nearby Garrison Dam that creates the Lake is one of the six dams on the Missouri River built to control flooding, provide electric power, water for irrigation and recreation. Anyway, I think it adds a nice background for this photo.
I’ve often been asked when I mention that I grew up on a farm in North Dakota, what did you do during those long, cold winters? Well, I admit I don’t miss those winters, but they did give me a response for those weather whiners “You think that was bad, you should have been there when……!” We did chores, feeding the livestock, milking the cows, cleaning the barn, and sometimes thawing water lines. When it was really cold out, the barn was a refuge and squeezing between the cows to put on the milking machine was a way to warm up! The big thing to watch out for were those wet, dirty tails that if you weren’t on guard could swat you in the face and if your mouth was open, it wasn’t fun!!! We dressed for the weather, heavy coats, warm gloves hats and boots, and etc. because the alternative was the potential for frozen fingers or ears. And I must add that almost every vehicle had some type of emergency kit in the trunk, jumper cables, a blanket or quilt, a few tools, and a shovel. Of course the roads weren’t nearly as good as they are now or as well maintained. Here’s a photo of the farm in a distance taken on a very windy, cold day in December 2013.
Here’s a couple of more photos that show the winter landscape of my home area. I’ve found that the snow adds a lot of beauty to the scene. On our most recent trip, there wasn’t much snow and the landscape looked really brown and drab, snow covers a lot of distractions and ugly stuff, at least for photographers. Besides, my Grandpa Miller used to say that a lot of snow meant there was a better chance of a good crop next year, a lots of truth in that statement. You’ll notice that it’s pretty flat with gentle rolling hills and only some trees in the draws and coulees. The other trees are planted trees to shelter farmsteads, livestock, prevent soil erosion and keep snow on the fields.
This photo, also taken in the winter, is about six or seven miles from the farm, it’s the cemetery where my great grandparent’s on my mom’s side are buried, August Jr. and Katherina Isaak. I’ve taken photos of this cemetery in the summer but I prefer the winter shots as it makes it look so cold and forlorn.
My Mom still lives out on the farm, she’ll be 87 on Christmas Eve. She comes from hardy German stock and she needs it as the old farm house is drafty and hard to heat. Thank goodness she has propane heat and doesn’t have to stoke the old coal furnace and haul out ashes any more. Here’s a photo I took a few winters ago, from inside the house! The frost was very thick on the west facing kitchen window but lit up just as the sun was setting for the day. For me this photo tells a story not only about the cold weather but about Mom who raised and sold chickens for years (she only had 75 this year!).
Well that will do it for this week. Hope you enjoyed the little detour to North Dakota in the winter. Next week, watch for an article on why we like traveling so much.
Until then, take care and be safe.