Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Silver Lining

Yes, the title has something to do with this blog post.  Just read on!

It's hard for me to believe that it has been since President's Day that I was able to travel north of the North Platte river and into the beautiful Nebraska Sandhills.  The rolling hills are more beautiful than ever with the ample (so far!) spring rains.

Lots of critters out and about.  We straddled two sand (b0x) turtles and a nice-sized bull snake on the trip up, but since we were dodging rain storms at the time, we didn't stop to take pictures.  There will always be another time!  We also spotted a a lone turkey (poor guy, all alone) and a jack rabbit, and prairie dogs, along with numerous hawks and other birds.

I did get a picture of a long-billed curlew.  She obviously had a nest nearby, because she let me get extremely close before she flew off.  Don't let the barren terrain fool you.  She had nested just on the edge of a blowout.
After chattering at me for awhile, she did take off, but only circled a short distance then landed right back where she was to protect her babies.
See?  The landscape is getting better already.  A nice herd of my cousin's cattle grazing in the distance.  The weather was pretty clear at this point - looking north-northwest.

If you look back to the February posts, you'll see the exact same view as the one below - except snow covered, with hundreds of deer and rabbit tracks criss-crossing the snow.  This is the view from the front door of my grandparents' Kincaid homestead cabin that we're restoring.  Looking directly east.

As I said, we haven't been up here since February, when we came up to burn some trash piles.  Today we didn't get any work done, just made lists for the next time we can roll up our sleeves and make some progress.

Today really made us think about how worthwhile the project is.  Thunder rolling in the distance, an ever-changing skyscape as the storms rolled through, so still and quiet we could actually hear the cattle in the pasture to the south munching on the grass over the bird calls.
Unfortunately, I failed to take my long lens with me today.  Naturally I was forced to pass up lots of great shots.  If you look closely right in the center of this picture, right where the rain is falling, there is an antelope silhouetted against the skyline.
The storms were circling around us, but I had been assured by the National Weather Service before we started on our trek that the weather would "stay below severe limits", so I didn't sweat it.  Of course, the NWS did raise the bar on what constitutes "severe limits" just this spring, and the Mr. was concerned about the possibility of hail on his new Ford F-150, but aside from a few sprinkles and mud-splashes, we made it back unscathed.  Picture below is looking west.
Another storm shot.
And another.  Picture above is taken about a mile north of the picture below and about five minutes apart, both looking directly north.  Shows how quickly the storm was changing.
Wow - so that was my day.  I know I tend to gush on about the beauty, but really, it IS beautiful. That's the silver lining!
  
Thanks for stopping by.  The coffee is always on.

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