Sunday, August 18, 2019

Happy Anniversary

Doesn't it seem just like yesterday that we met?

Nine years to this day I launched my blog, August 19, 2010. I was inspired by another blogger as I searched for information on toads with my grandson. When I read her blog, I decided that I could that--blog. I am not sure that she keeps her blog up to date, but I now follow her on Facebook. I've made some good friends across the globe along the way whom I consider as important to me as those friends who are closer to home.

Wanting to freshen up the blog's look, I'm trying a new layout with a cleaner, less cluttered look. I am not quite sure that I like this one; I miss seeing the list of current posts, so I may have to go back to the old layout. What do you think?

I am still trying to put the house back together after the wedding. The sunflowers are fading and soon headed for the mulch pile in the garden. I have so enjoyed their bright, cheerful faces I thought that I would share them once again.

What beauties this hot house girls are.

 I finally brought home this bunch the Thursday before the wedding.

Look at the luscious colors--everything from lemon yellow to brown to the golden girl on the right.

 Luscious and yellow and perfect.

These lovely ones came from the super market.

They make a lovely mosaic, don't they?

Shifting gears, the Head Gardener and I decided to take a drive north to the grasslands Friday. With the storm clouds hanging low, threatening to burst open with rain, we welcomed the cool day to go explore the prairie. 

The vastness of the open space of grasslands and farmlands always astound me as we leave the rush of a crowded civilization and becoming more so even here in our small town.

As the towering telephone and electrical wires stand testament to, more and more people are moving to the wide open spaces in search of the solitude, peace, and quiet of the prairie.

With access to a private ranch, we went off the main road to look for antelope.

They are fairly used to vehicles and Man, so they didn't panic and run off as we drove passed them.

These are unusual creatures, not rare by any means and certainly not endangered, but they are unique to the central and western North America. Generally referred to as antelope or pronghorn antelope, they are the only surviving animal in their family Antilocapridae. You can read more about about them on Wikipedia,where you learn the most interesting thing about their classification. They are a member of the superfamily Giraffoidea, making them most closely related to giraffes.

They don't look much like a giraffe, do they? 

While they appear calm here as we drove passed them, they can make a quick exit. As this buck did when we startled him. Some say that they can run 45 miles an hour.

The grasslands have served agriculture since the early settlers first tried to farm the arid country. This part of our trip was closer to the foothills where a stream runs through the landscape, so there will be a few trees where is there is water. Crops include wheat, corn, hay, and a new crop: hemp.

I was actually quite surprised to see hemp growing so far north. It is becoming a rather popular crop to grow with farmers now leasing their farmlands to hemp companies with the hope of a goodly yield thus a good income. 

More antelope--bucks.

This is one may favorite photos of the day. I could imagine it as a water color or an oil painting.

 We headed east and left the west side of Highway 85. . .

 ...then went north toward Wyoming. . . 

...then turned east again.

The further east we drive, the more barren the land becomes. The houses are sparse, the antelope roam a bit freer.
Windmills dot the landscape. Some still work, watering herds of cattle.

Sunflowers abound. An interesting combination: barbed wire and flower.

We used to take this drive all the time when the girls were little. The Head Gardener's grandfather had a farm out here and lost it in the '30s. For a while remnants of the farm could be found, but the road has been closed to vehicles and it is a long walk back in to the home place. Along the way, remnants of other inhabitants are found. Surviving the decades, tee pee rings are a reminder of earlier travelers as the Native Americans wandered the plains. Tribes included Cheyenne, Kiowa, Souix, and Pawnee, thus the Pawnee National Grasslands. 

When we have a wet summer, the grasslands abound with wild flowers. The wild  pink cleome line the roadside.

Some of the ranches' boundaries are marked with fence. The Head Gardener laid claim to this fence, as he told about helping his grandfather build it when he was kid.

City hawks will sit still for a photo, not this fellow.


More sunflowers and barbed wire.

Not many abandoned homes survive. This one is fairly modern with the electric pole in the yard, still the living conditions on the prairie are harsh that even modern day residents find it hard with violent windstorms, lack of rain, heat, and blizzards, along with snow packed roads in the winter.

Heading back toward home, we reach pavement.

In the distant West horizon the signs of civilization begin to appear.

We know that we have left he grasslands when we see the tasseled cornfields, a sure sign that fall is not fall off. Soon we'll hear the hum of the corn cutters.

I hope that you have enjoyed a drive to the grasslands. Now it is back to civilization.

Thanks for visiting.


  1. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary, the time just whizzes by doesn't it? I like the uncluttered look, your photos are lovely and really do come alive against the plain background. Although it is always good to see a bit of the history. Here's to a sunflower filled happy Monday as you ponder your blog design!
    Wren x

  2. Congratulations on your anniversary. Thank you for your wonderful photos. Thank you to for sharing your road trip. It was grand!!

  3. Ann - what a fascinating grasslands tour - thanks for taking us along for the ride. I am partial to pictures with fences. Not sure why. I love the one you took where you can see the fence stretching for miles! And the sunflowers with the barbed wire - I think someone is in love with sunflowers - LOL! I am so glad you joined Mosaic Monday again this week.

  4. P.S. Happy Blog Anniversary! I am only on year three, so I have some catching up to do! I like the cleaner look, but don't listen to me - I have jelly beans for my background! Do what you like!

  5. Hello, congrats on your blog anniversary! I like the new blog look. The sunflowers are gorgeous, one of my favorite summer flowers. The views of the countryside and antelope are great. I love the views of the roads and fences. Have a happy day and a great new week!

  6. Happy Anniversary! Love the wonderful sunflowers - they are so cheerful!

  7. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary, Ann. The new blog look is very streamlined. I like it. Sunflowers are such exuberant blooms! The wide open spaces of the prairies and grasslands are beautiful. Have a great week.

  8. Congratulations on your blog birthday! Mine is four.... I have also tried these new elegant layouts, but have returned to the old. But I don't say what you should do - the layout looks clean and stylish. Maybe you need some time to get accustomed yourself? What a great looking vast & empty grassland!

  9. Hello Ann, thank you for that truely stunning trip - I have never imagined your part of the world like that :-O. And I am surprised how flat it is. It definetely looks harsh and not easy to live in. Somehow good to be back into civilisation. Love the sunflowers, mine are now all gone... slugs, caterpillars, I don't know who did it. Must grow them in the greenhouse next year until they don't taste anymore those critters. Enjoy your week, xx.

  10. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary.
    I quite like the new blog look - give it time and see how it suits you.
    The sunflowers are lovely and the views of the countryside just amazing … it's so vast!!!

    Hope the week ahead will be a good one for you.

    All the best Jan


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