January 29, 2013

Northwest North Dakota, Prairie Pothole Region

The summer before last, the younger kids & I headed about 500 miles west on the open road, to join Mitch & the older boys where they were doing some construction projects in the far northwest corner of North Dakota.
We enjoyed exploring the North Dakota prairie in all it's summer glory. I fell in love with the wide open, rolling space. I was enthralled with the abandoned homesteads & buildings, curiously aware of the lives that went into them.
A few years ago, we were choosing places on the U.S. map to travel to, and we had picked Utah. We were pretty enthused about what Utah had to offer. When I mentioned it to a friend of mine, she said she'd been there, and there is nothing. Nothing there.
That was a reminder to me that we all see things through different eyes. In ours' Utah was stunning. Varying. Still wild in places & extremely beautiful. It was one of the most spectacular places we've been.
Well, if Utah was nothing, I can't imagine what North Dakota is to a lot of people.  Granted, we had to travel further getting from one thing to another. And it may look like a whole lot of the same at a glance.  But there is so much there to look closer at. 
During our two week stay we ventured off to Lewis & Clark State Park on the Missouri River one afternoon, and took a short drive north into Saskatchewan for groceries another.  But the majority of our days were spent roaming the areas of Hamlet and Wild Rose, ND, which consist mainly of rolling farmland, gravel roads, cattail sloughs & wetland habitats.  They are also being heavily descended upon by oil rigs. 
This "Prairie Pothole Region" is crucial breeding & migrating habitat for millions of North American ducks & geese.  It's the most important and threatened waterfowl habitat in North America.  
We saw more variety of waterfowl than ever before in my life, as well as pheasants, deer, jack rabbits, coyote & fox.  We investigated abandoned homesteads, farmhouses, granaries, and barns.  
These buildings and their landscape speak of history.  The wind does, too.
Here are just a handful of photos from our days exploring the "Prairie Pothole Region."

Native prairie cone flower.



I believe this is Foxtail Barley, a native prairie grass.
The Lakota name means "one uses it to tickle the face."  And the kids did.











Our Savior's Lutheran Church, out on a hill in a field.  Built 1914 and now abandoned.  Raccoons are taking over residence. 


A further look at this prairie homestead can be seen HERE.

Mitch and the boys saw a moose out in that water one morning.  Not the kind of habitat we are used to seeing moose in.




I loved visiting & learning more about this part of our country.

36 comments:

  1. Thanks for the tour of North Dakota. Lovely photos that transport me there.

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  2. It's true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder! And you got some beautiful photos of North Dakota! I really like the one of the Foxtail Barley and of course, barns are always a favorite of mine.

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  3. I really enjoyed your post. I share your love of abandoned homesteads. There's something so sad about them. I was always wonder about their history.

    New follower. :)

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  4. Your photos are simply lovely!

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  5. Really enjoyed your photos.I haven't had the chance to explore your area of the country...some day I hope

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  6. Stunning series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

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  7. We traveled through part of North Dakota several months ago on our way home from a trip out west. Unfortunately we did not have time to investigate the beauty of the state, but your wonderful pictures make me want to go back and enjoy the beauty of the state.

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    1. Until this trip, I had only been to North Dakota on a "passing through" basis, too.
      We just barely nudged into the ND Badlands terrain to our south, very beautiful land & National Park there, too, that I'd like to go back & see more of.

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  8. Great photos ~ I really like your perspective when you take pictures. Thank you for being a cheerleader for my home state!

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  9. Lovely photos, thank you for this tour to North Dakota! I love the landscape with abandoned houses and barns.

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  10. It is unlikely that I will visit this part of the world so it is wonderful to see it through your lens. Your photos enabled me to see those huge skies and wide open spaces but with glimpses of the wild life.

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  11. Hi Amanda, Such a serene atmosphere there is in your photos ... The old barns, the lovely grass swaying in the wind, the field and flowers against the vast blue sky! I bet your boys will carry the memory of seeing a moose for he rest of their lives. And such a great idea to make the cool print on the pillowcases (your former post)!
    And last but not the least ... I read your 13th anniversary post ~ the rings on the blueberry branch, and in the bird nest ~ I am totally taken by your photos! Also yhe sweet stories of you sleeping in, and your husband waking up early ... I should write done if these funny and sweet things down also!
    Is it still cold? The snow is smelting here ..
    Nina

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    1. Nina, we are actually lucky enough to have seen a handful of moose - near home here in Minnesota, but more so when we're en route to spend time in northern Ontario. They are amazing creatures! We normally associate them with our lakes & thick woods, they were so surprised to see one there in the wide open farmland!
      Thanks for all of your kind words, they much appreciated.. And yes, still cold here, windchill advisory again today, currently feels like -27°.

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  12. Replies
    1. Thank you, Lynn! Those simple words have very big meaning to me!

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  13. Wonderful post - I have to say I really like the "fox tails" - they do look ticklish!

    Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. I have several photos of my youngest kids tickling their cheeks & chins & rolling in that grass watching the clouds roll by. For each photo posted, there are at least a dozen or more "back story" photos from this trip! It was a good amount of time spent enjoying the very simple things.

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  14. I have to tell you, I've fallen in love with this land through your photos. Plan to make a slow trip into this part of the world, hopefully sooner than later. Thanks! xx

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  15. beautiful prairie scenes! love the grainery!

    thanks for visiting my spot and leaving a comment. you said you came over from our world tuesday, but i've never joined in on that meme. hmmm. :) anyway, i appreciate the visit! blessings to you and yours!

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  16. Love the pics! I was born in ND and spent lots of time in ND at both sets of grandparents. In traveling towards ND, my heart gets lighter and my spirit soars the closer we get to prairie and farm settings. I love MN, but I guess you can't take my ND roots away. :)

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    1. I didn't know you had ND roots, Angie!
      I really enjoyed getting to know some native North Dokatans while we were there.
      While Mitch & the boys were working on residing a farmhouse, I ended up spending a good number of hours visiting with a second & third generation settler / father & son - roughly 90 and 60 years old. They were full of character & had some great stories to share.

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  17. These are amazing photos! I liked every one of these pictures.

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  18. Absolutely stunning images!

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  19. so beautiful serie! love the greens and yellows and the barn of course :)

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  20. I have always wanted to go to the Dakotas, and now even more so. I totally loved your series of photos. It is so true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder....it just wouldn't get much better than this for me. And do you visit Susan's blog, The Adventures of Old Alice...she is from Utah and boy, would I like to see that place, too.

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    1. Utah is spectacular! I will check that out. Thanks, Rose!

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  21. my favorites are the windmill barn shot & the church - awesome work you do. i'm going to look around more. so pleased you linked up to BC. enjoy your week. ( :

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  22. Oh my goodness, these are all so very beautiful... wonderfully gorgeous captures!

    Thank you for joining & thank you for the mixture to rid my place of the skunk smell... I just now sat down to read my Barn Charm comments, I'm running so far behind this week. =0

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  23. i came here for the barns but i ADORE all of your photographs. your wonderful tour of north dakota transported me there and gave me a real sense of the rural life.

    your barns are really fabulous!! thanks for stopping by and for leaving such a sweet comment. i think your barn is pegged also!!

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  24. Magnificent series of photos, transporting me to place far from my own land.

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  25. After seeing your previous comments, I just had to come and see this post. So glad I did! These are all fabulous shots.

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  27. Our Savior's is "my" family's church - my grandparents were founding members. It was the site of many happy days - weddings, baptisms, and confirmations - and those necessary sad ones. My grandparents, aunt, uncles, and cousins are buried there. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos, and particularly the one of Our Savior's.

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  28. Our Savior's was my family's church. My grandparents were founding members. It was the site of so many happy events - baptisms, confirmations, and weddings - and those necessary sad ones. My grandparents, aunt, uncles, cousins and family friends are buried there. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos.

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