Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day Two at the Omaha Boat Sport and Travel Show

Orla and her crew at the Ogallala booth is kept busy letting people know that, YES there is water in lake McConaughay.  They have a front row seat for the casting demonstration that is held on the huge fish tank several times a day.

The friendly staff at the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission booth will tell you all about the hunting and fishing opportunities across Nebraska.
Of course, when you bring out the camera, people want to ham it up!  This guy wanted to pose with his brewskie in front of the NGPC banners!  It's about the only time you can drink on NGPC property!
Now this one is something I didn't know about.  The Beef State EXTREME National Truck and Tractor pull in Wisner.  Sounds like a lot of fun.
Steve Lytle can show you where the best fishing and hunting is in southwest Nebraska.  I'd put a link up, but I can't find one.  I'm sure if you're interested and determined, you can get in touch with him.
Outdoor adventures in Burchard, Nebraska.  See, they're everywhere!  Big Blue Ranch in Burchard offers many different adventures.
Want to camp in Nebraska?  The Nebraska Association of Campgrounds can help you find just the right spot.

After another long day, it was time for a delicious Italian dinner at Vivace.

Then an evening of Blues at Downtown Blues.
This was the view out the window of our hotel room at about midnight.  Looks like about 4 inches of snow.
Thanks for stopping by.  There's coffee in the hotel lobby!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Day One Omaha Boat Sport and Travel Show

Thursday was the first day of the 2009 Omaha Boat Sport and Travel Show. Woo Hoo!  Great time at the beautiful Qwest Center in Omaha.  If you want to see all the great stuff to do in Nebraska, check out all of the booths.  Below is the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism booth, with information on everything across the state.  You can visit the Division's website at

Lots of booths from individual attractions, CVB's and tourism coalitions.  Below is the Central Nebraska Tourism Coalition booth.  Their website can be found at This time of year, the Sandhill Cranes are the big draw to that area!
Mitch Glidden of Glidden's Canoe Rentals on the Loup and Dismal Rivers would be more than happy to set you up on a Canoe, Kayak or Tanking trip!

One of the pictures at Mitch's booth showing what fun can be had tanking!

Right north of Mitch, Dean Jacobs of Valentine will help you plan a wonderful vacation along the historic Niobrara river.

A little further to the south, the Harlan County Lake offers great water sports, hunting and fishing.

Even further to the south, our new friends from Kansas, from the Geary County Convention and Visitor's bureau in the heart of the beautiful Flint Hills got into the picture.  They did point out that at one time, the Kansas-Nebraska act created ONE state, so they feel right at home in a Nebraska blog.

Out west, Sidney welcomes you to the original Cabela's store, the historic Oregon trail sites of Chimney Rock, and Courthouse Rock, as well as beautiful wide open spaces and spectacular scenery.
Back into the heart of the Sandhills, the Calamus Reservoir and scenic Loup River Valley welcomes you to Nebraska's Big Rodeo - Burwell.
Our near neighbors from the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway can line you up with more than 200 miles of scenic byway through the heart of Nebraska.

Work is done, now for a great meal right across the street from the Qwest Center at the Old Mattress Factory.

Then it's off to the Dubliner Irish Pub for a few pints and a night of fine Irish music from The Irish Brigade.

So, we're not at home right now, but thanks for stopping by. The coffee's always on (somewhere).

Thursday Special February 26, 2009 from One Foot In The Grave

Now that it seems like the weather has turned once again and we're back in the 30's from our balmy 60's, this is an extremely relevant topic. Enjoy.

No body has ever come up with a good substitute for friendship.
Irony is when you buy a suit with two pair of pants, then burn a hole in the coat.

Men’s underwear is our subject for the day. In 1915 men’s underwear was all wool material and gray in color. They were called long handle underwear, long John’s and union suits. What did you call yours? They cost $4.70 in Montgomery Ward & Co. at Chicago. The same catalogue had women underwear were of fine wool and cotton with drop seat. That was expensive in 1915. Who could afford two pair? The material at that time would shrink. So you didn’t wash them very often. You all have seen the above in The Western movies. John L. Sullivan world heavy weight champion lived in Boston and he wore wool drawer in the boxing ring. That how they got the name long John’s. They were common by 1830 at that time they cost 10 cents.

1876 Samuel T. Cooper a retired minister manufactured socks and short underwear.

C.F. Bennett invented the jockstrap in 1897 his first customers were bike riders.

During WW1, the first cotton boxer shorts with buttons was issued to service men.

The sanforization was invented by Sanford L. Clutt in 1940. The trademark was registered in 58 country’s. This means you have very little shrinking of material.

1950 T shirts stop being underwear. Marlo Brando and James Dean made them popular to wear any place.

1934 was the year Jockey introduce a Y vent shorts.

I have my Grandpa garters for holding up his socks. Before elastic all men wore garter to hold up their wool socks.

The first Olympic athletes wore no under wear.

I’m sure you have all been holding your breath for the above knowledge. Glad to help out.

The popular thong dates back to early Greece.

Happy to share.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Let's Get Tanked on the Loup

It's not quite what you think. Tanking (floating down a river in a tank) is lots of fun, but I prefer to do my tanking on a hot summer day.

However, there are people who like to do it in the winter.
If you're one of those, I invite you to join the 2nd annual Polar Bear Tank Race, March 6th and 7th, 2009 down the Middle Loup River in Mullen Nebraska.

According to the promotional brochure:

If you are looking for some winter fun that's out of the ordinary, join us on the 2nd Annual Polar Bear Tank Race.

The 2nd Annual Polar Bear Tank RAce is being held to create awareness of the Sandhills Journey scenic Byway, and to allow people to participate in the unique experience of Tanking on the Middle Loup River in the winter... and as a fundraiser for the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.

Join us for the most unique new winter event anywhere. Register now to insure your teams participation. Registration will be on a first-come, first serve basis.

Doesn't that sound like fun? It looks to me like teams can be from about 4 to 6 people, with a registration fee of $150 per person that includes the tank and safety equipment, two nights lodging, welcome reception and chili cook-off, breakfast, lunch and a prime rib dinner at the awards banquet.

Want more information? Visit the websites:
Sandhills Scenic Journey
Glidden Canoe Rental

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on to warm you after you've frozen going down the river.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Chautauqua is Coming to North Platte

Chautauqua will be in North Platte on June 23 through 27 2010 (Yes, that's NEXT year!) in Cody Park.

Chautauqua information from the Nebraska Humanities Council press release:

Chautauqua began as a summer school for Sunday School teachers in Chautauqua, New York, in 1874. By the turn of the 20th century, Chautauqua had developed into a nationwide traveling educational and entertainment program. Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America.”

Traveling Chautauquas in the late 1800s and early 1900s brought the world to rural communities across the nation, including those in Kansas and Nebraska. Chautauqua combined programs of political oratory and lectures about health, science, and the humanities with entertainment, such as opera singers and stage performances of Shakespeare. Well-known speakers and politicians such as William McKinley, Rutherford B. Hayes, William Howard Taft, and William Jennings Bryan toured the Chautauqua circuit. Audiences heard about national issues and discussed their views with their neighbors. For many rural Kansas and Nebraska towns, Chautauqua week was the most important week of the year.

What is Chautauqua now?
Kansas - Nebraska Chautauqua explores the lives, hopes, dreams, and history of the Chautaqua Movement from the 1930's, also examining

The Nebraska Humanities Council rekindled their state’s Chautauqua tradition in 1984 with modern Chautauquas that use public forum and discussion to focus on a particular historical era. Rather than use contemporary speakers, the modern-day Chautauqua features history professionals portraying famous figures from the past. In the spirit of the original traveling Chautauquas, the Kansas and Nebraska Humanities councils have brought their programs to rural and remote communities that may not have direct access to humanities or cultural centers.

Chautauqua in Kansas and Nebraska has become an important tradition and a signature program for both councils. Chautauqua provides an introduction to public humanities programs for rural audiences, creates lasting partnerships between the state councils and the towns that host events, and fosters long-term interest in the humanities among their citizens.

The Bright Dreams, Hard Times: America in the Thirties Chautauqua features first-person portrayals of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Senator Huey Long of Louisiana, Pentecostal leader Aimee Semple McPherson, Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, and humorist Will Rogers each evening at 7:30 PM under the Chautauqua tent. Following each presentation, the audience has an opportunity to ask questions of the famous historical figures as well as the scholar who created the portrayal.

In addition to evening tent programs, the Chautauqua features a variety of daytime programs for all ages. Daily adult workshops offer an in-depth look at issues from the 1930s and examine their impact today.

Youth can engage in the history of the 1930s and their community through a variety of workshops, including the five-day Youth Chautauqua Day Camp, young people (grades 4-8) will be historians, researchers, and scriptwriters as they prepare to present their own historical characters on the Friday night of Chautauqua. The Youth Chautauqua Day Camp is presented by Ride Into History, a historical performance troupe.

The Dust Bowl, a traveling photography exhibition from Humanities Texas will be on display in each community. In the 1930s, Farm Security Administration (FSA) photographers captured the people and landscape of the Dust Bowl. Forty years later, photographer Bill Ganzel located and re-photographed the survivors, combining his work with the FSA photos for a book and exhibition.

If you have a Chautauqua near you, be sure to go. It's a lot of fun and very entertaining. If not, make plans to visit North Platte in June of 2010.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More Cows Than People

 According to the Nebraska Beef Council 
January 2006 figures illustrate that Nebraska continues to have far more cattle than people. Cattle outnumber Nebraskans nearly 4 to 1. Cows number 1.93 million, versus Nebraska residents who number just 1.7 million.

This time of year in the Platte River Valley, cattle will most often be seen on the corn fields, eating up the stalks and waste corn before the geese, Sandhill cranes and other migratory birds move in.  And no, cattle don't usually line up in parade formation.  These have just been "caked" so they're lining up to eat their fill.

And cattle aren't completely dumb, either.  On a cold blustery day, these yearlings were taking shelter from the wind in a dry irrigation ditch.

The cows have been dropping their calves for nearly a month now, but it is amazingly hard to get a good picture of a group of black cows and calves.  It all turns out to look like just one black blob.  So, until I can find some cute red-white-faced mamas and babies, these will have to do.

The beef people have some more interesting facts about the Nebraska Cattle Industry:

The importance of cattle feeding to Nebraska’s economy runs deeper than in other states. Nearly 5 million head are finished and marketed in Nebraska, a state with a population of 1.7 million residents. Texas markets a third more cattle than Nebraska, but it has a population of 20.1 million residents is nearly 12 times larger. Iowa markets less than 2 million cattle and has 1.1 million more residents than Nebraska. This means such states depend on other industries. Their standard of living isn’t nearly as dependent on cattle feeding as Nebraska’s.

Nebraska has a unique mix of natural resources. Cattle turn grass from 24 million acres of rangeland and pasture, more than one half of Nebraska’s land mass, into protein and many other products for humans. The land grazed by cattle allows more people to be fed than would otherwise be possible. More than one billion bushels of corn are produced here each year, 40% of which is fed to livestock in the state. Cattle producing families, who make their living from the land, have a strong incentive to protect their animals and the environment.

Beef, it's what's for dinner.  (I just had to say that)
Thanks for stopping by.  The coffee is always on.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Cottonwood Canyon

I am getting a little tired of pictures that only show a brown or white landscape. Since that's the only color it is right now, I have to go into the past to find some color.

Below are pictures of one of the most beautiful scenic drives in the state, the Cottonwood Canyon road from Maxwell to Curtis. You wouldn't think this is Nebraska if all you know about Nebraska is what you've seen on I-80, but this is only a couple of miles south of the Interstate.

It's early fall in these pictures, so there is still a lot of brown, but there is a tinge of green, too.

This is a monument to Fort Cottonwood, later Fort McPherson, that was an important fort protecting settlers on the Oregon and California trails.

Some beautiful fall colors.

Something to remember during the long, cold days of winter.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Bynded: local band uses small-town inspiration for songwriting

This is a great group of guys who play amazing music.  

This article is from the UNK Antelope.

Photo courtesy of Malarie Perlinger
Bynded is a group of small-town boys with big dreams; but, much unlike other small-town bands, Bynded has already been contacted by Billboard Magazine and hopes to set up an interview in the near future. The band will play Feb. 21 at Bico's Bar and Grill at 9:30 p.m.

By Tara Purdie

Antelope Staff

The compact living room is taken over with intermingling sounds of unforgettable rock and heartfelt country. Justin Hampton's distinctive voice croons along with each note and chord Sean Kennedy strikes, the two remain perfectly in sync. Hampton's passionate lyrics and voice create an unexpected bond with each listener, while the unique melody Kennedy plays continues to resonate even after the music stops.

Their band, Bynded, is a group of small town boys with big dreams; but, much unlike other small town bands, Bynded has already been contacted by Billboard Magazine and hopes to set up an interview in the near future.

Former UNK graduate Ben Brummels from Pierce plays the bass guitar for Bynded. Brummels said he believes what sets them apart is the mixture of small town lyrics with a high-powered voice and sound.

Kennedy, a UNK senior majoring in general science from Sutherland, is the lead guitarist for Bynded. Kennedy said he and Hampton share in lyric writing. Hampton, also from Sutherland, graduated from Mid Plains and is the lead vocalist and backup guitar. Kennedy said each member of the band contributes his own part.

Kennedy said, "I usually write most of the guitar parts, Justin comes up with a lot as well. Ben writes the bass lines, and Marcello comes up with the drum parts. When we all get together to practice, we'll all throw ideas at each other on what we think we could switch up or change or maybe add to make it more interesting, so we all have our creative say in what we play."

Kennedy said, "We've found out that we can't just sit down and force ourselves to write, it just has to come to us, and when it does we can write a whole songs worth of lyrics in about three minutes. It's crazy the way it just happens like that."

Kennedy said the inspiration for most of their songs comes from their own experiences.

"You never know when something is going to spark inspiration, and when that does you usually have to go with it or it'll be gone."

Bynded is optimistic about their future in the music industry. "We are going to try to go all the way. We just want people to hear us. We are always looking for places to play whether it's a bar or a garage. We just want to play," Hampton said.

For more information on Bynded or to hear their songs visit their Myspace page at

If you get a chance to hear them live, do so. You can also find their music on iTunes, and they've got some videos up on YouTube, and a group on Face Book. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the great music. The coffee's always on.

Friday, February 20, 2009

One Foot In The Grave

A friend of mine is a very funny and creative writer. She sends out what she calls "Thursday Specials" to her friends each week. I got her permission to post these on my blog. She prefers the pseudonym "One Foot In The Grave". So here's her Thursday special from July 24, 2008

“Rowing Not Drifting” 1902 Valentine (Nebraska) High School

Getting the land ready for planting 1915. First you had to plow the land. You had to decide what depth you need for what crop seeds you were planting. That decision was based on how deep the roots would grow. After plowing the field, you then disc the field some farmer recommended disking three times so the soil would be fine. When you were finished with the disc then you harrow the soil. That machine smoothed the dirt. At last you planted the seeds. All this equipment was pulled by two or more horses. Now just a little truth. I have never farmed so tell me what I have wrong, Oh I left out an important part the row must be at least 30 inches apart so the horses don’t hurt the plants. I’m not sure how fast a horse traveled pulling all that equipment, but I read where it took two men to farm 160 area. Any experts out there to help me out??

Let us now look at the ladies of the house in 1908. The lard pail was very important in any lady’s kitchen. You needed a 5 lb pail and a 10 lb pail. Put rocks in the bottom of the 10lb pail then put the 5 lb pail inside that and you have a double broiler. No more burnt food. A 10 lb pail was a great way to steam brown bread and Indian
pudding. Lard pails had hundreds of uses, storage, carry eggs, and milk. Let see all the ways you would use a lard pail. Under the bed. OH My.

The ladies saved every bit of string or twine they could find. It was a good job for the children to sort out the string or twine by size. You could knit or crochet to make dish clothes and other things needed in the house. Some children wind the coarse twine on a fishing rod. How would you use twine??

Every kitchen needs a blotter. You buy the blotter where they sell ink , as a blotter
and ink pen were sort of a pair. Well you need several blotters for your kitchen. Blotters work perfect on spills and save stains from happening, They especially recommend blotters for grease spills on the wood floor the blotter will pick up the grease and save you much scrubbing to get out the grease stain on the boards. Do you have some suggestions??

Still learning, One Foot In The Grave

Joke of the Day:
Recently I was asked to play in a golf outing. At first I said,NO.. Then they said to me, Come on, its for handicapped and blind kids. Then I thought Sh** I could win this thing.

If you would like to leave a comment for OFITG (That's what you get from One Foot In The Grave!), I'll make sure it gets passed on to her.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Better Elk Picture

My sister-in-law sent along the original picture of the elk south of Sutherland. Thanks T.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

They're Baaack!

There aren't very many of them, and they're very camera shy, but the Sandhill Cranes are back in the Platte River valley! If you look closely at the picture below, you can see a line of them winging across the sky.

Yes, in the very center of this picture are six Sandhill Cranes. The blackbirds decided they needed to get into the picture too, and I decided what the heck. Let 'em.

Not very exciting, huh? Just wait. Soon there will be thousands, and I'll try to get some good shots of them.

Elk In Nebraska

OK, so I know that they don't show up too good in the picture. I'm working on getting a better picture. This was taken by my sister-in-law, who is editor of the Courier-Times in Sutherland. It was taken about a mile south of Sutherland. Shouldn't be too long and there'll be a season for them.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Correction... Line

Can you see it?
It's hard to get a picture of, but let me explain.  The road above goes straight north, then it makes a sharp jog to the west, then back north.  This is called a "correction line", and in this case, represents the border between two counties, Lincoln and McPherson.

There are correction lines in other places.  Anywhere the section lines no longer line up, and the road, generally placed along the section lines needs to be... well, corrected.

I haven't driven outback country in too many places other than Nebraska, so I can't tell you if this occurs elsewhere, but you see a lot of it here.

Below is a graphic illustration between the relative "wealth" of an urban (in this case, this is a very loose definition) county - Lincoln, and a rural county - McPherson.
The population of Lincoln County is nearly 36,000, mostly centered in the town of North Platte, about 25,000.  Lots of homes and businesses.

The population of McPherson County is 533.  Yes, that is five hundred thirty three. With an area of 859 square miles, that is a lot less than one person per square mile.

Yes, Lincoln County is a lot larger, 2,564 square miles, but it also is a lot wealthier.

Can you tell exactly where the County line is?

Thanks for stopping by.  The coffee is always on.

February In The Sandhills

A beautiful, frosty President's Day in the Nebraska Sandhills.  A herd of bulls graze along the banks of the Birdwood Creek.

A few horses watch from the hillside to the south.
This is the frosty and snowy view that greets us from the front yard of the cabin we're restoring. Note the deer tracks in the foreground.  They were everywhere!
And here is Mark hard at work on one of the "honey do's" of the day.  As if there weren't enough at home for him to do.  
We replaced the tin that was covering the windows with plastic.  You know, can't be too energy conscious!  Actually, it has nothing to do with that.  The windows need replaced, and most have broken panes.  But the plastic makes it seem more homey inside than the tin does.  At least it lets in a little light.  

Below is the real reason we came north on a day when the temperature didn't get out of the 30's - to burn some of the big brush piles that were left from our earlier work.  We eventually got the job done, but the conditions were almost too wet!  No wind, and six inches of snow, so no worries that the fire would spread, but did all that wet brush burn slow.

Finally... welcome home!  Doesn't it looks so inviting?  Hey, for not being lived in for nearly 50 years, it's not too bad.  And, I'm happy to report that after carting out three pickup loads of debris (including lots left behind by various rodents and birds), the place hardly smells at all!

A few times, we may have disturbed the skunk that has a residence under the floor.  Her den seems to be just between the door and the window, as that is where we noticed her odor the most.

Thanks for stopping by.  As soon as I get a stove, the coffee will be on.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Cranes and Trains

This picture was taken from the top of the Golden Spike Tower in North Platte, looking south over the South Platte River.  Unfortunately, those aren't Sandhill Cranes, they are Canadian Geese.
The Sandhill Cranes on their annual migration should arrive in the Platte River Valley any day now.  Unfortunately, for our big "Cranes and Trains" kick-off event, the only ones that were there were the ones that we brought.
Fortunately, there were LOTS of trains. This shot is from the seventh floor observation deck of the Tower, looking at the Diesel Shop.

This picture is also from the seventh floor of the tower.  If you look just to the right of the big Union Pacific shield, you will see the little glass box that is Mark's office when he works the tower.  Below that you can see all of the units he is working with.

Here is the guest of honor at the "Cranes and Trains" event, artist Jeff Gauthier.  He created the wood carving in the wooden case, which he donated to us for display in North Platte.  He has more than 200 hours in this beautiful carving, "Platte River Rendezvous", which depicts Sandhill Cranes in the river.  The display case in which it is housed is from the old North Platte Depot - you know, the one that hosted the North Platte World War II Canteen.

The carvings below are also on display, and are from local artist Ron Meyer.

The Cranes and Trains exhibit will run through the first of April in the great hall of the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center, 1249 N Homestead Road in North Platte.  Thousands of Sandhill Cranes will begin arriving soon and will stay in the valley through the first part of April.

Thanks for stopping by.  The coffee's always on.  (I have no idea why this is underlined and can't seem to get it undone.)