I love exploring old abandoned farms in Kittson County. Farms that provided a home and an occupation during the forties and earlier. Many of them look as if they just packed up and left the buildings and never looked back. Some places get the grass mowed and some even get the lawns trimmed, but most age rapidly in the wind and rain and hot sun.
The buildings served a multitude of purposes, from storing equipment, sheltering animals to storing grain. These buildings at one time were part of the farm yard but now even that land is being cultivated.
The door has sagged to the point the latch no longer works so a chunk of iron secures it from the strong prairie winds. The blowing dirt slowly builds up around the shed and in turn the grass grows with it. Its now to the point the door can no longer open.
This corner of the building is fully exposed to the strongest sand laden winds which have slowly chewed away at the boards. The lower boards are protected by the grass while the highest boards sit above the worst of the sand. Mother nature is relentless.
This is another old building which appears to have had a multitude of uses. The upright boards in the sagging door show its present size, accompanied by another iron wind support. If you look carefully you will see the added boards on the right side of the door shows the previous door was larger. The short boards on the left side of the door indicate that originally the door opening was even larger. As the buildings use changed the doors were reduced in size.
Every farm yard had at least one well with a large hand pump. The well lid is warped and getting dangerous. A tight top on a well keeps small critters from falling in and tainting the morning coffee. While the pump was last in use two clamps were needed to hold the top pieces in place. The farm was obviously abandoned about this time and the pump never fixed permanently. The grass has not been cut since last year.
At the time the photo was taken the field had been cultivated and was awaiting seeding. The building should survives for at least another ten years as a reminder of the orginial tenants but soon even it will be gone. The present farmer no long lives on the property.
The first snow fall on the prairie has a tendency to arrive in the middle of the night so transformation from fall to winter is a rather abrupt event. You awake in the morning and your whole world has been painted entirely white in every direction. My first reaction to new snow is to walk around the yard, looking for odd shapes that will signify where I left something outside, for one day too long. There have been times where various items were never seen again for many long months. The spring melt usually results in the comment, “So that’s where that’s been hiding!”
When you live in the country and own a driveway you learn to leave the first two or three inches of snow in place and drive on it. This packed snow makes it easier to scrape, shovel or plow new snow, without throwing gravel all over the place. A long narrow driveway through the woods presents some difficulty in getting rid of the snow. Just pushing it aside works for the first few storms but then the woods and trees restrict the movement of snow. In time the road narrows until the final storm, at which point passage ceases. Living in a snowy area demands that you think ahead otherwise your world will continually grow smaller.
The perfect answer to snow removal is a snow blower. Small or large the results are the same. The snow is flung aside in a high fluffy arc, deep into the woods, never to be more than a distant snow drift.
Our house sits some two hundred feet from the main road. A major snow event means the first priority is to dig out the vehicles in the parking area, by broom and shovel. Once the snow blower has enlarged the parking area the vehicles can be moved and the original location can be cleaned. When a snow storm is forecast we always park vehicles in a sensible location.
While I would never say we live in a windy place, I will admit that at times it can get windy. A blizzard occurs when we have a heavy snowfall with winds about forty miles an hour. During this type of winter event two things take place. First, the snow can be stripped off the open fields right down to the dirt, and at the same time almost any object will cause a drift of snow to form. A single fence post can cause a long thin drift. A row of evergreen trees can create a drift twelve to fifteen feet high during the night.
After a blizzard, when the roads and driveways have been opened, a drive around the country side will reveal some spectacular drifts of snow. This drift is fifteen feet high and runs for a quarter of a mile. It is never wise to leave home when a blizzard is forecast and when you get stuck, you never leave your vehicle. All this talk of snow makes me want to find my shovel and set it close at hand.