Why any submarines in Bismarck-Mandan were nervous Friday

I walked out of a lunch appointment on Friday and immediately noticed a jet on a very unusual trajectory over Bismarck, far out of position compared to the track usually taken on approach to Runway 13.  It was a short leg, and they were still banking south of Main Avenue.  Even better, it was a touch-and-go.  Well, being the curious type, I had to see what was up.  That’s when I snapped this shot and realized it was a Navy plane, not some wayward bus driver or something.


Just doing laps, as you can see.  A few down the Runway 13 way, followed by a few down Runway 31.  Cruising Main, almost.  My flight app did give an ADS-B entry for this aircraft, but being a military plane that was all I got.  The desktop app, however, was blank. No worries, it doesn’t take long with “the Google” to narrow down that this is a P-8A Poseidon.  There’s a good chance it’s from Whidbey Island, home to those F-18s which stopped in for A&B Pizza about this time last year. AirSOC has an article about the P-8A at Whidbey Island, which you can read here.


This is a particularly cool aircraft (Wikipedia), even though it isn’t as exciting as a fighter jet. It’s a sub-hunter, and apparently a pretty modern one.  Just like those F-18s last year, which are actually two-seater Super Hornets loaded with all kinds of electronic warfare equipment, this plane is chock full o’ goodies.  First off, look at all the antennae on the top.  The 737-800 this is based on doesn’t have those.  It’s also capable of deploying anti-submarine weapons once it detects ’em.  Sweet.  Want to know more about some of the toys?  Click on this link.

A few more laps, and they were out of here.  I listened to a little bit of the CTAF banter on my handheld transceiver, then went on with my day.  I had put in a long week, and it was time to knock off early and play photographer for a while.

Cold ones in the fridge

My weekend travels brought me to this little farmstead, where I spent a few pleasant moments with a piece of old farm equipment with the morning sun’s rays streaming from the clouds in the background to the east. Satisfied with our moment together, I turned my attention to the nearby house.

I have a policy of not entering or otherwise tampering with old buildings, but to merely appreciate them from outside. Well, I found myself drawn to the front steps for a quick photo. That’s when I noticed something amusing therein.

The refrigerator in the entry was a happy find. No, I didn’t go in for a closer look, I was happy right here. But given the temperature early Saturday morning, the idea of there being some “cold ones” inside brought a grin to my face.

And as for that old piece of farm equipment? We’ll get to that another time.

Got plenty more where this came from

2018 is an exciting time…plenty of new photo gear to try out. So I took a little time Friday afternoon to visit a church nearby that I hadn’t stopped to investigate before: the Glencoe Sloan church, southeast of Bismarck-Mandan on Highway 1804.

I had a good photography year last year, and one thing I did (but didn’t post on the ol’ Blog) was to chase down many old prairie churches. Some were abandoned, some were almost wreckage, but all were beautiful in their own way.

I hope to work on a calendar or some other project featuring these churches, but I still have a few I’d like to add. On my travel budget, that might have to wait for a bit. But you’ll see them, I can assure you.

Double Ditch Ice

I ventured out to Double Ditch tonight for a number of reasons, but one of them was to see if it was still blocked off for construction purposes.  Thankfully one can now drive in on the north road, although the walking path heading south to the stone hut is still marked as closed due to construction.

The ice was melted in spots, and definitely had its share of dirt blown into it.  In fact, it was pretty breezy tonight, too.  But I got some cool shots, satisfied my curiosity, and headed home to thaw my fingers.


Oh yeah – one of the other reasons I was out there was to check on my favorite post.  It’s still hanging in there, I’m glad to report, despite the continuous bank erosion.  I remember being able to walk around this post on the left side, although the land to the north of the fence is posted.  That part of the bank has been down below for a long time.  That’s some sturdy barbed wire holding this thing in place!

One thing I didn’t notice in the first photo is the developing clouds on the horizon.  For a better view of those you’ll have to check out the header on my blog’s Facebook page.

How you know you’ve got a keeper

Well, there are many ways…but this is one.  My wife was at a friend’s, painting a portrait of some sort, and on her way home she stopped to grab this photo for me!  I didn’t even know they were doing this in the windows.  I have to admit, when she first said there was a giant “6” in the front windows I didn’t connect it to the Bison.  Duh.  I’m glad she’s got an eye out for things like this!  Now I don’t have to go out in the cold tonight.

My eclectic Christmas 2017 playlist (with links)

I know Christmas is only a couple days away, and I should have done this three weeks ago, but here it is: my 2017 Christmas Playlist.  It runs on my iPod and a little FM broadcast so I can tune it by radio anywhere on my property.  It’s an odd yet comprehensive mix, just over 1/4 of my actual Christmas collection, and I’m certain there’s something in here for everyone.

These are links, folks…almost every one of these songs is available on YouTube or iTunes.  Enjoy!  If you find ones that you like, leave a comment.  For my favorites, I’m actually embedding the videos…but I’m not about to do that for over about a hundred and seventy of them! So let’s get started…

Glow – Brett Eldredge

The Nutcracker Suite – Les Brown & His Band of Renown
Sleigh Ride – Ferrante & Teicher
Silent Night – Sinéad O’Connor
Dig That Crazy Santa Claus – Honey Jumpers
Christmas As I Knew It – Johnny Cash
Getting’ In the Mood (For Christmas) – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year – Burl Ives

The First Snowfall (feat. Bing Crosby) – The Andrews Sisters

Christmas in Heaven – Scotty McCreery
A Strange Way To Save the World – Rascal Flatts
Ding Dong Merrily On High (The Celebration’s Starting) – Rend Collective
Everybody’s Waitn’ for the Man with the Bag – Kay Starr
The Christmas Waltz – Leslie Odom Jr.

Go Where I Send Thee – Fred Waring & the Pennsylvanians

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! – Pentatonix
When We Are Together – The Tenors
Make Room – Casting Crowns & Matt Maher
Hallelujah This Christmas (feat. Straight No Chaser) – Jon McLaughlin
Christmas on the Road – Sleeping With Sirens
I Saw Three Ships – The Piano Guys

I’m a Little Christmas Cracker – Diana Decker

I Wish You a Merry Christmas – Bing Crosby
Back To God (with Lauren Daigle) [Acoustic Version] – Reba McEntire
O Come O Come Emmanuel (feat. Máiréad Nesbitt) – Nathan Pacheco
Candy Cane Lane – Sia
All the Love – XO-IQ
Must Be Santa – Bob Dylan
Sleigh Ride – Johnny Mathis

Christmas Medley – Neil Diamond

What I Didn’t Get for Christmas – Jimmy Buffett
Sing We Now of Christmas – Straight No Chaser
Children Go Where I Send Thee – Nick Lowe
Christmas the Whole Year Round – Sabrina Carpenter
Happy Holiday (feat. Bing Crosby) – The Andrews Sisters
Rise Up Shepherd – Nick Lowe

Christmas At the Airport – Nick Lowe

We Wish You a Merry Christmas / Silent Night Holy Night / O Come All Ye Faithful / Jingle Bells / Where Is Love – Tony Bennett
My Favorite Things – Kelly Clarkson
Christmas Medley: Carol of the Bells/Melodies for the Day/O Sanctissimo – The Swingle Singers
Run Rudolph Run – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Christmas Is – Run-DMC
Merry Christmas Polka – Tex Ritter

The Merriest – June Christy

The Little Drummer Boy – Johnny Cash
Santa Bring My Baby Back (To Me) – Elvis Presley
O Holy Night – Celtic Woman
Nuttin’ for Christmas – Spike Jones
Gaudete – Nathan Pacheco
I Saw Three Ships – Lindsey Stirling
Old Tex Kringle – Tex Ritter
Jingle All the Way – Lena Horne

Chiron Beta Prime – Jonathan Coulton

Silent Night – Jingle Cats
You’re a Mean One Mr. Grinch
The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle – Burt Bacharach
I Don’t Intend to Spend Christmas Without You – Claudine Longet
Jingle Jangle – The Penguins
Snoopy’s Christmas – Royal Guardsmen
Deck the Halls (Stephen “Shebby” Ruchelman Remix) – XO-IQ
Christmas Wrapping – The Waitresses

I’m Gonna Lasso Santa Claus – Brenda Lee

Christmas In Hollis – Run-DMC
The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) – David Seville & The Chipmunks
They Shined up Rudolphs Nose – Johnny Horton
Dominick the Donkey – Lou Monte
I Wanna Spend Christmas with Elvis – Marlene Paula
My Everything – Owl City
Santa’s Beard – The Beach Boys
Sleigh Ride – The Ventures

Humbug – Greg Lake

The Star Carol – Simon & Garfunkel
The Little Drummer Boy – Harry Simeone Chorale
Light of Christmas (feat. tobyMac) – Owl City
Little Saint Nick (Single Version) – The Beach Boys
Frosty the Snowman – Jimmy Durante
Last Christmas (Studio Version) – Jimmy Eat World

Song of the Sleighbells – June Hutton

It’s Beginning To Look a Lot Like Christmas – Michael Bublé
The Twelve Days of Christmas – Mitch Miller & The Gang
Hark! The Herald Angels Sing / It Came Upon a Midnight Clear – Bing Crosby
Peppermint Winter – Owl City
Carol of the Bells – David Benoit
Here We Come A-Caroling – The New Christy Minstrels

What a Glorious Night – Sidewalk Prophets

Christmas / Sarajevo 12/24 (Instrumental) – Trans-Siberian Orchestra
Snow Snow Snow – Band of Merrymakers
The Amens – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Pat-A-Pan / While Shepherds Watched Their Flock – Bing Crosby
What God Wants For Christmas – Darius Rucker
White Christmas – The Drifters

Somewhere In My Memory (feat. Audrey Smith) – Michael W. Smith

December Prayer – Idina Menzel
All I Want For Christmas Is You – Mariah Carey
Christmastime Again – MercyMe
O Come O Come – MercyMe
White Winter Hymnal – Pentatonix
I’d Like to Hitch a Ride With Santa Claus – The Andrews Sisters

Jing-a-Ling Jing-a-Ling – The Andrews Sisters

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (A Shrift Remix) – Andy Williams
Winter Wonderland – Bing Crosby
Jingle Jingle Jingle – Burl Ives
I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas – Gayla Peevey
I Saw Three Ships – Sting
Blue Snowflakes – Ernest Tubb
Jingle Bells – Band of Merrymakers

Christmas Dinner Country Style – Bing Crosby

Joy to the World – Mannheim Steamroller
I’ll Be Home for Christmas (Single) – Bing Crosby
Yabba-Dabba Yuletide (extended) – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Run Rudolph Run – Bryan Adams
Overture and A Holly Jolly Christmas – Burl Ives
He Shall Reign Forevermore (Live) – Chris Tomlin
Jingle Bells – Count Basie Orchestra

Thirty Two Feet Eight Little Tails – Dale Evans

Very Merry Christmas – Dave Barnes
A Marshmallow World – Dean Martin
I Pray On Christmas – Harry Connick Jr.
Winter Wonderland (Bonus Track) – Jason Mraz
O Holy Night – John Williams & Chorus
Mele Kalikimaka – Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters

Angels We Have Heard On High – The Brian Setzer Orchestra

Auld Lange Syne – The Lonesome Travelers
Merry Christmas Everyone – Rend Collective
Jangle Bells – Love Tractor Christmas
The Christmas Song (Chestnut Song) – Love Tractor Christmas
Carol of the Bells – Mannheim Steamroller
Christmas Candy – Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely

It Snowed – Meaghan Smith

The Christmas Song – Mel Tormé
O Tannenbaum – Naturally 7
We Need a Little Christmas – Percy Faith
Sleigh Bells – Gene Autry
Happy Holidays – Percy Faith & His Orchestra and Chorus
Mistletoe & Holly – Robert Davi
Sleigh Ride – The Ronettes
Somewhere in My Memory (Chorus & Orchestra Version) – John Williams

Winter Wonderland (Christian Prommer Remix) – Shirley Horn

Gabriel’s Message – Sting
Only at Christmas Time – Sufjan Stevens
It’s Christmas (Medley) [Live] – Chris Tomlin
Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – U2
Charlie Brown Christmas (Album) – Vince Guaraldi Trio
My Favorite Things – The Brian Setzer Orchestra
Thanksgiving Theme – Vince Guaraldi Trio

The Closing of the Year (Reprise) – Wendy & Lisa

Carol of the Bells / Jingle Bells – Barry Manilow
Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance! – Sufjan Stevens
Great Pumpkin Waltz – Vince Guaraldi Trio
We Are Santa’s Elves – Burl Ives
Jing Jing Jingle – XO-IQ
Happy Holiday (Beef Wellington Remix) – Bing Crosby
Deck the Halls – Mannheim Steamroller

These are unavailable on youTube, but can still be found on iTunes:

Christmas Dreaming – Seth MacFarlane
Snow (From White Christmas) – Seth MacFarlane
Merry & Bright – The Ellas
Calling for Snow – The Ellas
Candy Cane Lane – The Ellas
Our Father of Life – Cheap Trick

Finally, there were a few that I just simply can’t find in the usual spots:

What Child Is This (Greensleeves) – Lorie Line & Robert Robinson
O Holy Night – Lorie Line & Robert Robinson
Christmas Medley (Music from the Videocraft TV Musical Spectacular) – Burl Ives
Hallelujah (Remix) [Bonus Track] – Mannheim Steamroller


Shoegazing is a style of music from my beloved 1980s, basically because the artists would stare downward with appropriate angst while belting out their melodies on stage.  I could not ascertain what this windmill was focused on, but I doubt it had anything to do with Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine.

Silos – bad in intel, good in camera

The last thing we want in communications or intelligence gathering is a set of “silos” – self-contained paths of information that don’t share or combine with others – but they sure do look cool when they’re beside a lake on a beautiful North Dakota afternoon, with deep blue skies and puffy clouds overhead!

Keep on truckin’

Do I belie my 1970s upbringing with that post title?  Too bad.  My kids and I set out for this old Dodge with the intention of working the entire sunset with it as our subject.  It was a wonderful trip.  The kids are finally old enough to appreciate not only the photography aspect, but the beauty of hiking out in the middle of nowhere and exploring.


I have way more shots from this area than I’ve got the energy to post for now, but let it suffice to say that there was a different sunset in every direction. The first shot in this post shows the long, linear clouds that eventually blazed over Bismarck-Mandan at sunset.  This shot shows the brilliant pinks and purples that greeted us from the north; and my kiddos took plenty of shot featuring a blazing orange and gold sunset to the west (behind the camera in this shot).

Not only was this photo jaunt a success, but I have turned the corner with my kids as far as convincing them of the joys of rural photography.  Next time I head out roaming, I expect to have a couple of enthusiastic companions!  Maybe each with a camera of their own…