Friday, May 09, 2014

North Dakota Snaps

As y'all may or may not know - yeah, "y'all" is part of my vocabulary now - I've been in North Dakota for a few weeks. I was sent out here for work-related purposes. It's not the most exciting of places but it's brand new to me and I've been able to take some pretty cool photos, which is a fortunate thing for my blogging life. Since I've never been to this part of the world before, I need to tell you that I've never seen this sort of landscape in person so it's a whole new world (cue Aladdin music) and I think it's rather beautiful. I mean, I wouldn't want to live here, but that doesn't mean I can't admit its beauty is legit. Seriously though, I went to college in Ithaca and that town, surrounding towns, and the drive up is pretty rural, but North Dakota makes Ithaca look like a metropolis.

I have to admit that there isn't much to do around here and I've been missing Korean food and sushi and Indian buffets and cooking at home but it's been quite an experience to be immersed into this country, plains, corn fields and pastures type of atmosphere for a good chunk of time. I think that I'll be thrown back out here after my trip to France; nothings certain yet. But if I am, hopefully by then, the summer weather will be here to stay and the grass will be a little greener.
Okay, so these photos were collected over the course of two weeks, mostly on gorgeously sunny days with a couple on overcast afternoons and one or two on not-so-nice snowy mornings. The thing about this part of the country is that the weather is fickle. It's gorgeous one day, it's snowing the next. And don't get me started on the wind. The wind is insane out here; if it's blowing 20 MPH, it's a mild day. But, to make up for the randomly sh*tty weather, everyone is super nice and friendly. Like, they're so friendly that it surprises me every time. Sure, there are one or two cranky, ornery, jerky suckers but in general, the people around here are quick to smile, say hello, and help you before you even know you need help.
This is a v. photo heavy post, just warnin' ya. You can click through the jump break just to see the rest.
The speed limit varies out here from as slow as 25 MPH in town to as fast as 75 MPH on certain highways, which is the highest I've seen, from what I can remember of my driving life. I have yet to see a cop setting a speed trap though which is a good thing for me. With the roads being so flat and straight, it's easy to end up at 100 MPH; maybe that's just me.
So basically, you see a lot of these empty fields. Some of them have trimmed corn stalks that have dried out after being harvested and others are full of grass. Where there's grass and a fence, it's a pasture for cows and once in a while, you see them either eating or hanging out. I've seen countless baby cows and they are adorable!

By the way, if you're wondering, the photo above and the photo below were taken miles apart but you'd never know it, right? Everything around here looks the same and despite driving the same route several days in a row, I still rely on my GPS a ton because there are no landmarks to help me out. All of the pastures and fields look identical, at least in my eyes. You can see for miles and miles, but all you see are fields.
I drive past this red barn everyday on my way to work and I think it is just the sweetest, most picturesque looking place ever. It's so classic looking, right? It makes me happy.
My fifth day out here, after experiencing several days of gorgeous sunshine (though there were no days without wind), I woke up to snow. Apparently it's not an uncommon thing out here to experience snow at the end of April after a week full of sunny 60 degree weather. Anyway, on my drive to work, I happened upon these baby deer getting a sip of water from a stream. I skidded to a stop in the middle of the road to get these snaps. Let me be clear, there's hardly any traffic out here so it's not like I caused a scene. There was no one behind me, no one in front of me, no one coming in the opposite direction. And that's great for me because I keep stopping all over the place so I can get a closer peek at the cows and pheasants. I'm such a nature photog-wannabe.

The next two photos might be my favorites of the bunch. I was driving back to my hotel one afternoon and I saw a brown lump in the grass. About half a mile back, I'd seen a farmer tilling the soil so I thought maybe that it was a mound of dirt. I stopped the car and reversed a few feet when I realized it was a cow! I rolled down the window and said, "Hey!" and the cow turned and looked at me and then turned away, hence the lack of eye contact in this first photo. But, when I got out of my car to get a closer shot, he got up too and moo-ed at me and posed for a photo or two (dozen). I mean, would you check out that eye contact? Cows have such sweet eyes and cute faces. I can't believe we eat them; I mean, they're delicious so I can believe it, but sometimes when I have animal encounters like this, I feel a tremendous amount of guilt about being an omnivore.

I was going for a walk one afternoon - I need a little exercise for bikini season, you know - and I came across this random ol' fish in the dirt. It scared the crap out of me because I almost stepped on it. It didn't smell, so it was probably fresh and must've been tossed just minutes before I found it. What a waste, right? I hope that at least a flock of birds made a meal out of it.
I tried my best to get a good shot of the sunrise out here, but it's hard. Cameras don't do it justice. What's coming off as orange in the photo below is actually a delicate pink-ish orange - like the inside of a grapefruit. What's coming off as a dusty blue is actually a lovely lavender color, perfect for easter. The hazy yellow is actually as bright as a lemon. But, I've got to say, this photo is pretty lovely nonetheless, right? I mean, the people out here experience sunrises and sunsets just like this everyday. There are so few buildings to obstruct the horizon; I'm kind of jealous. Not jealous enough to want to move out here, mind you, but this is a beautiful way to wake up.
All right, so the next few shots make me incredibly happy because after a full week of fussing over the baby calves I kept seeing here and there, I was finally able to get some snaps. I had the perfect opportunity and I seized it hard.
I don't think it was really necessary, but I added arrows to point out the newly born darlings. How cute are they?! I'm in love with the tiny little calves. I'm such a sucker for baby animals! My desk calendar at work is a baby animals one; yeah, I'm cool like that. I was watching one baby cow running around happily. His enthusiasm totally reminded me of my dog; it made me miss GM so so so much.
I love this shot because you can see the mama on the right and the baby on the left and the size comparison helps give you some context for how sweet and teeny the baby is. I wish I could have hugged the lil' babes but I probably would've gotten kicked in the face. I want to cry because of how cute they are. My heart!
If you ever plan on coming out here, can I suggest you plan a trip for the springtime?I'm totally biased because I'm obsessed with these calves, but seriously, don't you think little baby animals are a valid reason? So freakin' cute, man. So freakin' cute.
Everyone is seriously friendly and polite. Even the signage is friendly! Was that a boring photo diary? I thought it was kind of fun and I hope you did too.
Yeehaw.

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