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"! 

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  • 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.

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

  • 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.

    Jill O'Brien
  • 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.

    Sandy Grabowski
  • Love these pics, Jill…esp the shedding of the wool…

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

  • 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.

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

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

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

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

    Jacqueline Souchet
  • 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).

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

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

    Gayle Marsh
  • Beautiful, Jill. Thank you.

    Penny Gray

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