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Prairie Snow

February 10, 2014

Prairie Snow

 

Pretty. Cold. Soft. Quiet.

Dam Builders

Good Morning

December 24, 2013

Winter Morning

Winter Morning

The Old Kohler Place…Sold!

November 4, 2013

An abandoned property we called “The Old Kohler Place” went up for auction last weekend. The property was split into two tracts. The farmstead and five acres (old prairie house, shed and cement block barn) made up one tract and 155 acres of farm ground along the Ninnescah River made up the second tract. KohlerPlace auction

The house had been abandoned for as long as I can remember and it was in sorry shape — the roof was mostly gone, the porch was sagging and most of the windows were broken. I often thought that maybe a fresh coat of paint would spring it back into life, but that was wishful thinking.

From the road, the barn looked like it was holding strong. The property boasts mature trees, including beautiful cherry trees — and lots of wildlife passes through on the way to the river. The house was sold “as is,” with no inspections. The realty company and auctioneer (Farm and Home Realty and Hillman Auction Service) did a good job explaining that the house most likely didn’t meet current codes. It will be interesting to see if the buyer, a young man from the community, will fix it back up.

It was a fun auction to watch. I think there were three bidders, with the winning bid at $50,000. As the auctioneer said, “A kid’s dream came true today.” Watch the final moments to see for yourself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AFdm0S1Ibys

Rusty Fall Prairie

October 31, 2013

My part of Kansas doesn’t have native trees with fire-red leaves, but we do have native grass that turns wispy and rusty as it waits for snow.

Prairie hay

Buried Treasures

September 19, 2013

I found myself part of an unexpected archaeological dig recently, uncovering treasures from past generations on our farm. I was digging in a flower bed and found this, an old wagon hitch pin:

Hitch Pin

I had to laugh at V.’s response: “I can use that.” Shortly after, we were cleaning out the lean-to shed on the barn and found this on a wall:

License plate

His grandpa, ever the resourceful farmer, used an old license plate to patch a hole in a grain storage bin.

I wonder what treasures of ours might be discovered in 50 years?

For at least the next generation, our corner of the country is insulated from a population growth trend called megaregions. The smart people at a project called America 2050 define a megaregion as “multiple, adjacent metropolitan areas connected by overlapping commuting patterns, business travel, environmental landscapes and watersheds, linked economies and social networks.”

The U.S. is expected to have 11 megaregions by the year 2050. The Great Lakes megaregion, for example, will include the cities of Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Pittsburgh and St. Louis. This megaregion is expected to experience a 28.3% growth in population by 2050. The Texas Triangle is another megaregion and includes the cities of Austin, Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio. About 70% of the Texas population is expected to live in this region by 2050.

The U.S. will include 11 megaregions by 2050.

The U.S. will include 11 megaregions by 2050.

Our farm is about 30 miles south of the green circle in the middle of the map, Wichita, Kan. — not yet a megaregion, but still an area to watch. Maybe two generations from now that green circle will become another megaregion, connected to the Kansas City area. That’s OK with us. That development is north and we’re south.

Don’t get me wrong. I think these megaregions offer lots of opportunities, especially for employment, mass transit and more. I just want to be on the outside looking in.

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