Monday, April 06, 2015

Field Trip!

A week ago our rancher neighbor Joe took that Spouse o' Mine and me out for a Sunday drive around part of his ranch property.  This is a big ranch.  Thousands of hilly, flinty, Flint Hills acres.  And we drove over hill and dale of rocks and rills until I was very nearly sick to my stomach, weebling around in the back seat of this giant pickup, across land that had no discernible roads, only slight pathways through the tallgrass which defines the Tallgrass Prairie.

We always enjoy outings with our ranching and farming neighbors.  I learn a lot, having spent most of my life in city and townie-living.  That Spouse o' Mine grew up on farming, ranching lifestyles, both in the US and in Australia.  His work now is indeed in horticulture and agriculture, but his job title is Scientist, and he works in a lab.  These field trips out into the real deal of farming and ranching pull us into what is involved in the day-to-day work of the land.

And from our Sunday field trip last week, I have a photo to show and tell.  I had spotted an animal skull which looked to be impaled on a locust tree, exactly at my eyes' height.  (I spotted it because I nearly ran into the skull!!)  Locust trees have TREMENDOUS thorns.  How did this happen???
OK.  I think that Spouse o' Mine has come up with the correct conjecture:  An animal died.  The locust tree grew, and continued its growth through the eyes of this skull.  In later years, the locust limb got to be as high as my eyes' height, and therein lies the skull.  The skull, by the way, is unidentified.  It's larger than a skunk or badger.  It has molars.

And that's the end of this tale.   

Sunday, April 05, 2015


Today is Easter.  Such a happy day that ranks up there with Christmas and Valentines Day in my Happy Holidays book.  After forty dreary days of Lent, Easter is all about good and happy, with flower blossoms, fresh air, a good church service, and Hallelujahs! in the air. 

This morning we went to early service, after which we scurried back out to our car and grabbed our backpacks.  They were full with hiking gear.  We returned to the church and changed out of our Easter finery and into our fleeces and hiking boots, and headed out to the woods for an Easter hike and picnic.

This was really nice.  I think everyone else must have waited to go to their respective late services, because it appeared that we two were the only hikers in this state park.  That Spouse o' Mine and I began a conversation about bees.  What colors do bees see?  I said something about ROYGBIV and he replied back, "Richard of York Gained Battles In Vain."  Where WAS he educated?!  We bantered back an forth about this.  How could anyone know what a bee sees, anyway?!  Is someone out there talking to the bees? Somehow this subject evolved into campfire songs and then into the question of how did musicians centuries ago tune to a pitch?  (I was explaining that when I was a kid visiting my grandparents, we would attend their church which did not believe in pianos or organs in a church service, lest they drown out the voices raised up in praise to God.  I described that singing as interesting even to a little kid, in that there was a song leader who had to be pretty true to pitch and not start a song really high or really low, or midway through there would be big problems.)

When we got home from church and hike, I hadn't gotten the "hike" out of my system, and I called out to our dog, "Pasture!" (NO: Her name is not Pasture, but "pasture" is one of very few words that she reacts to in a favorable way.  She connects Pasture! with Adventure! and she comes running.  Biserka is such a neurotic/borderline psychotic dog that most movements and noises unhinge her.  But Pasture! is one of her few "happy" words.  I named her Biserka because she is.  She rarely comes when called.  She WILL come if I call out MacArthur! which is our cat's name.)

Biserka and I crossed through our pasture, down a steep trail, and into our creekbed.  The creekbed is dry, yet muddy, and the sides of the creek are straight-up steep, in many areas higher that a 2-story building.  It's like exploring a mini-Grand Canyon, with wild animal paw prints and hoof prints, and curiosities which change from season to season, and flood to flood.  There used to be a Model A car in a wall of the creekbed.  And a red boat once appeared during a flood.

We followed the creek's meander down for about half an hour, and then climbed a steep climb out into our meadow area.  I have always intended to put a picnic table down there.  Maybe this summer...

Easter was a nice day.  No big feast with family, no Easter Egg Hunts, just a nice church service and then the outdoors.  A nice day.

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