Pardon this lousy picture taken about 20 miles north of the Platte River Valley in Central Nebraska, but, if you look closely near the junction of the jet contrails, you can see a small contingency of Sandhills Cranes circling into formation as they prepare to continue their migration on north to Northern Canada and Siberia. These cranes, with their customary trilling vocalizations, and part of approximately 550K to 600K others this year in the valley, have fattened up on left over grain in the valley corn fields for the past month and are ready to take on the rigors of northern latitudes. I’ll hear them in the fall, once again, as they will have it on cruise control, high overhead, and headed south without the need, at that time, to frequent the shallows of the Platte and eat their fill of corn. Should you want to see these stately birds up close and personal – and all kinds of other birds and wildlife as well – contact me at 308-379-3261 or firstname.lastname@example.org. FB communications – not good for me. Sorry:-)!
The bull elk in the center of this picture taken along the Sand Hills Journey Scenic Byway a few miles from my home has been hanging out with this cow herd for several years and avails himself of sandhills grass in the summer and combined corn fields in the winter. Life is good! Complimenting the scene at this time of year are the eagles that move into the area to hunt the rivers – with, hopefully, open water – and scavenge for spent wildlife to make it through the cold winter months. I wish I’d had my camera ready when one sailed by near the front porch of my home recently. Maybe next time:-)
Do a 180 and become a wind turbine tech – you know, the people that climb a ladder up through a vertical cylinder so that they can get their kicks by dangling hundreds of feet above ground from a harness! If that isn’t enough to
give you a kick start, consider that you will get to deal with wind, heat, cold, rain, and snow too as you swing around up there. My guests and I caught this view as we gazed up through this wind turbine cylinder along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway during the Follow the Rails Art Trail last October. The wind farm visit was just one of the many events we participated in as we traveled the byway and enjoyed the scenery, history, art, people, food, and entertainment. Go to www.sandhillsjourney.com, www.followtherailsarttrail.com, and check out my contacts on this site if you want to learn more about how you can experience the reality of the Nebraska Sandhills!
On a recent trip through the Nebraska sandhills, I stopped to see my friend James Marshall in the little ranching town of Arthur. James is a busy, professional hat maker, and trust me, he custom makes standard-of-the-industry hats! This picture of James shows you just a little of his shop and the equipment he uses to make hats that people from Nebraska and all over the U.S. wear. If you want a quality Christmas gift for you or one of your family or friends, I can personally introduce you to this great craftsman. Just traveling through some of the most beautiful hills and valleys, and some of the best cow country, in the entire U.S., will cause you to ask “Why would anyone leave the sandhills if ever they lived there”?
As I look toward THE ECLIPSE, just a few days away, I’m reminded that I have several hotel rooms, at my disposal, in prime Nebraska viewing country. It’s not too late for you to reserve one of these rooms. I’m also reminded that wild life, such as this doe and her three triplets, are totally unsuspecting of anything out of the ordinary due to happen, as evidenced by their contented grazing of this alfalfa field in East Central Nebraska. You’ll find them, in the picture, silhouetted against the red barn.
The appearance of the sun early this morning, as I looked out across sand hills with some fog layered in the valleys, reminded me that, in just a few short weeks, I’ll be watching the disappearance of the sun behind the moon, in the middle of the day, as I look out across sand hills. I have multiple options across the western half of the state of Nebraska to watch the total solar eclipse, so weather conditions will play a big factor in my plans for that day. Consider tagging along with me and sharing some of the hotel rooms I have booked! Plenty of other things to see and do, and people to meet, with the eclipse being the focal point!
Evan old dogs want to ride sometimes – especially on warm summer days:-). And seeing the horse reminds me that I’ve set up time with professional trail riders to provide horse rides at the time of the solar eclipse in later August. I have a fantastic location secured to view it in the great Nebraska outdoors and hotel rooms for that event as well. Contact me to see how you can join me to make that time very memorable!
I’m enamored with the patience of the fawn in the center of this picture lying up against our home this evening in Central Nebraska. It is waiting patiently – and probably has been since last night’s dark – for it’s mother to return to pick it up. If you can enlarge your picture, you’ll see it between the bush and the plexiglass top of the egress window. I hope the trail camera that I hung in a tree gets some good photos of the rendezvous tonight, after dark, of mom and youngster.
Consider hitching a ride with me and striking out across Nebraska and beyond. We can stop by a few farms and ranches and say “Hello” to the small percentage of society that gets to see things like this fawn on a pretty regular basis!
Nothing speaks to the sandhills of Nebraska more eloquently than Baxter Black’s ode to the windmill “Sandhills Savior”! Baxter did himself proud with this one and, with his permission, I’m posting it here. Thank you, Baxter!
The photo is from Thompson Land and Cattle, Inc. in the sandhills. Thanks, Christi!
I challenge you to allow yourself the trip of a lifetime, with me, or someone else, or by your lonesome – but do make the sandhills a bucket list destination!
Sandhills Savior by Baxter Black
In the sandhills of Nebraska stands a monument of wills
Where man has staked his claim to them blowin’, rollin’ hills
Where the buffalo once scattered in the bunch grass, belly deep,
A whiteface calf, contented, sucks his mama, half asleeep.
The fertile black dirt farmland runnin’ up and down the Platte
Got covered up with people, their driveways and their cat
And them that lived in cities saw no use for sandhills land
So the cattlemen and cowboys come up north to try their hand.
They treated her with reverance and learned what Indians knew
That it cannot take abusin’ ’cause she’s fragile through and through
And they learned a crucial factor to keep them cows alive
Takes more than snow and sunlight, it takes water to survive.
So they dug their dainty windmills and pumped life outta the ground
It allowed the cows to flourish so the people stayed around
Then little townships prospered and, you can see by now,
They’ve built a whole existence upon the humble cow.
From Thedford to Hyannis, from Valentine to Rose
Across that sandy country where the prairie grass still grows
You’ll see those man-made daisies, silhouettes against the sky
Their steel petals gleaming on their stalks eighteen feet high.
On Nebraska highway twenty or state road eighty-three
There’s a million creakin’ windmills standin’ proud for you to see
They represent a people and the land they’re livin’ in
The lifeblood of the sandhills spinnin’ freely in the wind.
I think back to when I was a farm kid. We used really basic equipment. What you are about to see in this video is not “basic equipment”! That said, the use of GPS for planting and other farm operations is very common today, and yields huge benefits as it relates to production efficiencies and yields. Its use results in great financial rewords, but at high dollar costs. Farming this way requires a lot of “head time”!