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May 31, 2018


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Ranch Photography ›  



Prairie Garden

Essay and photos by, Jill O'Brien

If one is looking to regenerate the prairie - rain sure does help! In the past two weeks we’ve received almost eight inches of precipitation.  Layered with days of warm sunshine, the prairie has turned into a paradise. 

Although the recent "Flower Moon” wasn't visible, the prairie flowers sure are, sprinkling the pastures with color, like confetti on a cupcake. And the animals and birds are content in their ocean of grass, and we (ranchers) can all take a deep breath, knowing that their food supply is plentiful.

Here are a few photos of our “Prairie Garden” that were taken over the last couple of weeks. I hope you enjoy them! 

Cheyenne RiverBox outline in photo above indicates buffalo herd. 

Bison in PlayaPlayas are full, spilling out onto the pastures.


Mourning dove
A Mourning dove catches a breeze on a hillside, with her nest not to far away. 

Buffalo Cows with Babies
The calves are gaining confidence, gathering together in play groups, while keeping close to their mom's. 

Breadroot Scurfpea
The Wild Onions are everywhere this year. I also found two flower species that I had not seen before, Meadow deathcamas (right corner) and Breadroot Surfpea (above).
Bison Herd

Wild Flowers

Buffalo Shedding
The buffalo shed their woolly coats in the spring and their fur can be found in clumps all over the prairie.

Big Buffalo Bull

The big bulls still linger at the herds edge, waiting for the calving season to end and the rut to begin. 
You can also find little boys and their grandmas on the prairie too, especially when it's a good day to "go fly a kite"! 



May 31, 2018

Miss Jill

How lovely. I love imagining the land where your family has its herd. Such peace and Centeredness

Joyce Cross

May 31, 2018

Enjoyed the photos — thank you! Can the bison hair be used for anything?

Monique d'Auteuil

May 31, 2018

I was also wondering if the bison hair can be spun into yarn or used for felting?
Thanks for sharing these photos with us.

Danny Ladely

May 31, 2018

What wonderful photographs! Having grown up in Gordon, Nebraska, I really appreciate seeing them. Thanks for sharing them with us all.

Penny Gray

May 31, 2018

Beautiful, Jill. Thank you.

Gayle Marsh

May 31, 2018

What a beautiful place to call home. Thank you for bringing us along.

Cheves Leland

May 31, 2018

Wonderful to a different type of spring from the lowcountry. Wild fliers are nice – interesting names, too. Thank you.


May 31, 2018

Great pics! Thank you! My gosh I’d love to be out there.
I’m also curious about the shed fur/hair. I wonder if it could be used to make cloth (aka wool)? or at least to be used in tying flies (yes, trout fishing flies).

Jacqueline Souchet

June 01, 2018

Merci à vous Jill pour ces belles images :la Nature à l’état pur.
Ces grands espaces font rêver.
Salutations à votre famille.

Jean-Pierre-Charles Steiner

June 01, 2018

Le printemps ! La plus belle saison . Merci de nous faire partager les photos de ces grandes pleines du Dakota .

Dona Winger

June 01, 2018

I absolutely love these photo logs. These are a joy to receive in my email inbox!

Claude Immer

June 01, 2018

I love your e mail comment and photos . I wish I could come and visit you . Hug Claude


June 01, 2018

Beautiful. Alive and peaceful – at the same time. What an awesome place to fly a kite ! No trees or wires – just wide, open spaces. Remember the old cowboy song “Don’t Fence Me In?” These photos would make an excellent background, for a video.


June 01, 2018

Many of the beautiful photos remind me of the Wichita Mountains in Oklahoma. Thank you.

Mary Burrows

June 01, 2018

Love these pics, Jill…esp the shedding of the wool…

Sandy Grabowski

June 02, 2018

Thanks, Jill. I felt such a great peace looking at photos. And I am going to get a kite for my 4 yr. old grandson.
also anxiously awaiting our huge order of buffalo for the summer. So good. its coming on Thursday just in time for family gatherings. Thank you! Some day we are going to come for a visit. On my bucket list.

Jill O'Brien

June 02, 2018

Thank you for your comments. On buffalo fur, Erney, our friend and dog caretaker, did use a little buffalo fur for his flies in his fly-tying days. For other purposes – one would need to spend a lot of time gathering it – as it is scattered over 34,000 acres. Then of course there is the wind, which carries it beyond.


June 05, 2018

Thanks for the beautiful photos. The great prairie is always on my mind….

jim newton

June 06, 2018

Thanks for sharing the photos. I have never seen the prairie so lush. The Hills are pretty green now too, but we didn’t get anywhere near 8" in the Nemo area.

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