Don’t like the weather today? Then just change it. Well, it is not quite that easy but that is what weather modification is all about. The Finken Farm is spread across two counties here in North Central North Dakota, one of which is Ward county where there is a debate brewing on weather modification.
Weather modification occurs by “Cloud Seeding”. Aircraft fly into clouds and seed them with Silver Iodide which according to the Weather Modification Association say can increase precipitation by 5-15% and can suppress hail damage by 25-75%.
Here in Ward County the county commission helps fund part of the program and that is where the debate is. Proponents say that it provides much needed rain and reduces hail damage. Those against it say it is fake science and it doesn’t work and if it does work you are stealing that much needed rain from other farmers. Besides the fact that you should not be messing with Mother Nature.
Whatever side you stand on, it will be decided at the polls when they vote on whether or not to continue funding the project with public money. Personally, I am on the “Don’t mess with Mother Nature” side of the equation.
This was our last week at the farm and as I write this we are somewhere in the middle of Montana underneath that big Montana sky.
We have been gone less than 24 hours and we already miss our farm family. That’s what the Finken/Sobieck crew has become to us, an extended family which means of course we will be expecting birthday cards and Christmas gifts from them!
We had one day of rain which kept us out of the fields that day and the day after. As much as they would have liked to keep going to get the field work done, it was a much needed two days of rest. It gave me a chance to get out and play with my camera a little. I had two goals; one was to see if I could master the art of taking pictures of flying waterfowl. The other was to find a pair of moose rumored to be in the area and see if I can get a couple pictures of them. Both proved to more difficult than anticipated.
One the waterfowl front, I did not know what setting to put it on nor did I do any research so I just put it on AI and hoped for the best. It is a method I have perfected over the years called "The Point, Push and Pray Method". I am somewhat pleased with a couple of them. The others are a bit blurry and these were the best ones that actually made the cut!
With the moose. I had seen them several times early on in our stay but did not have a camera. I went out several times specifically to hunt them down but to no avail. Farmer Bob and I went out another time with no luck. Then one night we went out to dinner in Ryder.
Bob said the Ryder Bar has the best burgers and we just had to go before we left! They call it the Ryder Bar because that is the only bar in Ryder. With a population of 34, it is pretty much the only thing in Ryder!
When we were on our way back from dinner we saw two shadowy figures in a field….there they were! Sadly I did not have my camera and it was too dark anyway. The next morning Bob and I hit the roads just before 7:00 to see if they were still in that field. They were not. But we did find them about a mile northwest of there in a small wood lot! They did not fully cooperate by posing for the pictures but I got a few decent ones. It is still hard to believe there are moose up here in this vast open country!
I also got some shots of some wildlife on the ground that I thought were pretty cool. The hardest was the pheasants and they tend to run as soon as you see them.
|Pee Pee Le Pew!|
|Nova and Dakota waiting for Dylan to throw the ball|
|Telegraph poles alongside the railroad tracks|
|These have their original wood supports and glass insulators|
|The wheat is already a couple of inches high!|
|Chris checking out the wheat field|
|Apple Crisp and ice cream, the breakfast of champions!|
So we said goodbyes and pulled out of the driveway pointing our camper to the west. We have a 23 hour drive ahead of us. We are going to take it slow and easy, it has been a while since we have had any leisure time on the road. Let the adventures begin!