Monday, October 24, 2011

Platte River Valley Autumn Drive

After a cool and drizzly start, Saturday turned into a beautiful autumn day in the Outback. What an autumn it's been too - we hosted a backyard bbq before a House Concert in late September, had one final kayak/tanking trip and attended an outdoor wedding in early October. Unfortunately, this being Nebraska, winter could appear with a vengeance at any time.Now is not the time to waste beautiful days sitting indoors, so a quick road trip before the Nebraska Cornhuskers game was definitely in order. On our trip north, we surprised a flock of turkeys crossing the historic bridge across the North Platte River.
This one straggler is wondering why his friends left him behind to face the oncoming traffic alone.
After a summer of record high water and lots of flooding of the low lying areas near the river, the water has finally receded. A picture taken from this vantage point earlier in the summer would have been one solid water-scape of flowing water. Now the river is nearly back to its trademark braided-channel appearance.
Further on, there is evidence that the wet meadows bordering the river dried out enough that farmers could get in and harvest the abundant hay.
Due to the severe drought south of us in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the price of hay is ranging from $185 a ton to $330 a ton, which is astronomical. It's all about supply and demand, but I feel sorry for the ranchers who have to buy hay at those prices to keep their cattle alive.

A couple of weeks ago there was a huge prairie fire north of us in the Sandhills near Stapleton, Nebraska that burned several thousand acres. It destroyed at least one home, lots of outbuildings and equipment, crops and many stack yards where the ranchers had stockpiled hay for winter use. It is going to be hard to replace it at today's prices.
All the plants propagated by seeds are in full distribution mode, counting on the wind and critters to distribute seed to fertile ground, including the Milk Weed above and the Cattails below.
You know how often The Mister and I take road trips exploring the local area, but there are still countless roads we have yet to make our way down. Today was a new one for us, and we came across something we just don't see every day - didn't even know was here, as a matter of fact.
At first I estimated that there must be 50 or so buffalo on this ranch, but on closer inspection of the picture, it's obvious that there are less than 20 - they just take up a LOT of room. You just never know what you're going to find when you take the time to explore.
Until the weather turns, I encourage you to get out and explore!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

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