Here's the Sunday sunrise (note the oil derrick in the distance) at 5AM from our camper at the Ell's 690-acre North Dakota ranch.
Nick got to enjoy the acreage again and then we went to church—but this Sunday it was a service in the park by Lake Trenton. It was the annual church picnic time. Despite being coated in Avon Skin So Soft mosquito repellant, Herbal Armor, and 98% Deet Off, we were being eaten alive by mosquitoes. Then one of the parishioners brought a spray bottle of Listerine. It actually worked! Marianne gave an amazing sermon about the gospel parable of the sower. We need to cultivate our lives to allow seeds to grow--be open-minded, be teachable, and not have a too-crowded life. I'll let Lisa share about what else happened that day, once we get the photo to post....
We sure enjoyed spending time on the ranch with the whole extended family. We were welcomed so generously into everything--the home, the church service, and just everywhere we went. It was interesting, too, to learn about the farm/ranch, too:
--Work never stops. The phrase 24/7 was invented during the Internet era, but it is practiced on the farm without any to-do. It just is the way of life.
--Those big round bales of hay we’ve been seeing everywhere (it’s haying season) weigh 1200 pounds. Each. 100 cows eat 3 of those a day. Hence, the endless fields of hay out here. One never knows how long that winter will be.
--Owning land is key out here. It can be rented out (to the oil companies, to cattlemen), it can be lived on, it can be recreated on, other businesses can be built on it, etc. It seems such a part of who everyone is (at least the country folks).
--History is just everywhere. North Dakota wins the prize so far for most awesome interpretive centers. Gorgeous displays, very well-written and engaging text, and knowledgeable teens who are eager to share what they know. We really liked seeing all of the abandoned homestead houses. Wish we could’ve photographed some of these structures, but the roads were narrow and shoulderless. No where to stop. But we enjoyed seeing them and thinking about the hardy souls who lived in those drafty wooden houses out in the prairie wind for 5 years till they owned hte land. Makes you realize what weenies we are today with our insulation and central heat (and defined work weeks).
Off we then went via scenic back roads back to Minot. And for a chuckle, check out the comment on Day 18 from, I presume, the Minot Chamber of Commerce or tourism department!