Making Yourself At Home Just Took on a Whole New Meaning…

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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!

Sandhills Savior

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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.

They didn’t plant corn like this when I was a kid…!

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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”!

 

 

Prairie Dogs Chorus

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As I walked through this prairie dog town in Central Nebraska, they let me know I wasn’t welcome.  Listen to the chatter on the video as they warned each other of the stranger’s presence.  You’ll notice that the grass in the town is basically non-existent as they’ve destroyed it in order to see predators better.  Join me sometime, and I’ll introduce you to them.

The dogs of heaven…

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Sun dogs don’t get much showier than these I photographed several years ago in a series of snapshots.  Plenty of ice crystals in the air and frigid temperatures are the ingredients for this heavenly recipe.  And, although coldest weather is over for now, I’ll be looking for this phenomenon again when that type of day returns to Nebraska next winter.

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The Great Umbral Shadow

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Just so you know, I have reserved several blocks of rooms in several hotels at the time of the full solar eclipse that is coming to Nebraska on August 21st of this year.  If you are interested in sharing an adventure with me to farm and ranch country, take in some geographical and historical sites, navigate a river in a cow watering tank or other conveyance, and – most of all – see the eclipse from right under the umbral shadow of its trans-Nebraska course, contact me.  Maybe you have only a day, or maybe you have several days.  Not to worry – mid-day on the 21st we’ll have a front row seat in wide open country to see the moon stamp its effect on the sun rather than the other way around.  Contact Horizons to reserve your adventure and a share in history!

The Morning After…

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Tuesday morning of this week, my wife and I, from our front porch, were privileged to look out across ice covered hills into a clear sky commanded by a riveting sun.  I thought you might enjoy this beautiful remnant of an ice storm that covered much of the middle of the NA continent.  Countless homes are, no doubt, still without power in ice ravaged towns across the southern plains, but we enjoyed our two to three hours of candle light which reminded us how great and convenient electricity truly is.  Winter heaps inconvenience on us sometimes, but the cold, clear days of January, after one has acclimated to winter, are really enjoyable.  Now for a really good snow and some sledding on our hill.  Come enjoy it with us!

The Morning After…

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Tuesday morning of this week, my wife and I, from our front porch, were privileged to look out across ice covered hills into a clear sky commanded by a riveting sun.  I thought you might enjoy this beautiful remnant of an ice storm that covered much of the middle of the NA continent.  Countless homes are, no doubt, still without power in ice ravaged towns across the southern plains, but we enjoyed our two to three hours of candle light which reminded us how great and convenient electricity truly is.  Winter heaps inconvenience on us sometimes, but the cold, clear days of January, after one has acclimated to winter, are really enjoyable.  Now for a really good snow and some sledding on our hill.  Come enjoy it with us!

Life Less Complicated

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These heifers are enjoying a nice winter day, little knowing that life is going to get a bunch more complicated in a few weeks as they get the opportunity to be young mothers.  Their whole attitude will change, and they may not care to stand with their new calves while I drive up beside them in my pickup.  You may notice the closest one to the camera features shortened ears indicating she herself was born on a day when cold temperatures caused frost bite at the ends of her ears – and the tips fell off.  She almost looks as if she still resents it.  I’d think so if it weren’t for the fact that she is the one that will lick my hand hoping I have some grain.

Text Book Sand Hills Cowboy

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On one of my trips through the sand hills a few weeks ago, I was privileged to visit with a friend of mine as he was unsaddling after riding pastures and checking pairs and windmills.  He was kind enough to stand still for me a moment while I snapped his picture.  Just let me know if you want to meet this cowboy and others spread across some of the best ranch country on the face of the planet!