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Frog Symphony

I have heard Chorus Frogs every spring for my entire life, but I never saw one until May of 2008. I was following Mike Forsberg around southeastern Montana in search of stories and photographs for Mike’s book, Great Plains: America’s Lingering Wild. I can’t remember what our objective was, but we were in the middle of an enormous pasture and we were walking. It takes a long time to walk anywhere with Forsberg because he stops and looks at everything. When you walk with any good photographer what you are really doing is wandering.

April Can Break Your Heart

The month of April always gets me thinking about T.S. Eliot’s poem, The Waste Land. Well, not the whole poem. All I can ever remember of The Waste Land is the first four lines. It is the part we all know: April is the cruelest month. Breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing Memory and desire, stirring Dull roots with spring rain  

Reminiscing the Redwing's Cottonwood and a Grand Buffalo Ranch Wedding

It has been a whole year since we began getting the ranch ready for our daughter’s wedding. The reason that this came to mind is that we heard our first redwing blackbird this morning and I remembered that last year, when the tree trimmers came, a redwing sang proudly from the first cottonwood snag I pointed out for trimming.

The Valentine’s Dinner

Jill and I invited three other couples out to the ranch to test Jill’s Valentine’s Day Dinner. It wasn’t intended to be the kind of Valentine’s Day party with paper mache hearts and cupids hanging from the ceiling. There were no bowls of sugary candy bearing innocent, semi-secret messages: Be Mine, Kiss Me, Miss You, Crazy 4 U. These were six people that we had known for decades - parents of grown children - grandparents. These were old friends that we seldom got a chance to spend time with because, like almost everyone, we are all too busy.

Bison for the Florida Plains?

Seventy miles off the west coast of south Florida is a tiny cluster of islands called the Dry Tortugas - dry because there is no fresh water on the islands and Tortugas because it was once a good place for mariners to gather sea turtles (tortugas) for food. Though I have never set foot on them, the islands have always fascinated me because they are renowned as a place to watch migrating birds, and because there is a huge brick fort on the main island that has a special connection to the Great Plains.

I am well known for my poor memory

Times and places are fuzzy to me. I have to think hard to remember when I graduated from high school and can only remember two words from Spanish class. I can’t remember street addresses where I lived for decades or the names and faces of old girlfriends. I recall very few details of Christmases past.

Thanksgiving Redux

Sitting on the couch of our television room, watching CNN’s election coverage, I was oddly reminded of the first Thanksgiving. There was no pumpkin pie, squash, roast venison, or Indian corn. But there were a couple of Indians.

“Grass-Fed Bison Meat for Conscious Carnivores”

Our ethical and sustainable practices of humanely field harvesting our buffalo was briefly highlighted in the Food + Drink category found on the inspirational creative community of COOL HUNTING®. Give a read to Grass-Fed Bison Meat for Conscious Carnivores by Laura Neilson.

CNN Money: Buffalo meat makes a million

A short piece in CNN Money highlights a milestone accomplishment when our small-scale operation reached our anticipated goal of $1-million in revenue.

The Red River Flows North

Early Sunday morning I talked on the telephone to a friend whose family owns a house along the Red River. The house is on the Minnesota side but now the river is all around them. Forty-two feet above flood stage is a lot of water. After I talked to him I got the topography maps out and sat by the window that overlooks the Cheyenne River a half mile to the east. I figured that if the Cheyenne ever got forty-two feet above its banks it would be lapping at the horse pasture gate. Our house would still be high and dry but the sight would be frightening – lots of drowned trees and ruined fences. The corral would be gone and some prairie dogs would likely be dead. But there would be no great losses like there is when a river floods a populated area like Fargo-Morehead. Nothing like New Orleans.

THE OLD ROAD OF DISCOVERY

I picked up a semi-truck in Louisville, Kentucky on a Tuesday night and had it back in the center of South Dakota before sunset the next day. I wasn’t thinking much about the Great Plains as I waited for the truck salesman to pick me up at the Louisville airport, as we rechecked the paper work, or as he gave me the five minute check-out ride before sending me down the road.

Last week I sat-in on a discussion…

Last week, I sat-in on a discussion about carbon sequestration. You’ve heard about carbon sequestration. It’s a hot topic now that the world has finally agreed that humans are contributing, big time, to climate change. The term is often found in concert with the concept of striving for carbon neutrality. You know, like Al Gore buys carbon off-sets from an exchange in Chicago so he can still fly around in a jet and remain Carbon Neutral – in other words – doing his part to keep the planet from warming up. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you are not alone.
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