Thursday, June 12, 2014

Pastoral, Except for That Tree Branch!

Mighty cottonwoods form a canopy down many a country road in rural Kansas. Early Kansas settlers found the native trees as they arrived from the eastern U.S. When the Kansas Legislature chose the cottonwood (Populus deltoides) are the state tree in 1937, the proclamation read:
"Whereas, if the full truth were known, it might honestly be said that the successful growth of the cottonwood grove on the homestead was often the determining factor in the decision of the homesteader to 'stick it out until he could prove up on his claim'; and Whereas, The cottonwood tree can rightfully be called 'the pioneer tree of Kansas.' " 
They are like the old family patriarch - tall, stately, but maybe a little rough around the edges after years of standing through the changing seasons. The road to the Ninnescah Pasture is lined with these big old trees, which seem to wave a friendly greeting in the Kansas breeze. On early morning or late evening trips to check cattle, the cottonwood's leaves rustle and birds serenade from their branches.
I love the old cottonwoods. Randy loves them, too -- until they fall on pasture fence. Then, maybe we're not quite so enamored.

A big wind last week blew a heavy branch right onto the fence line. I went along with Randy and offered to help, even as he pointed out some poison oak in the ditch. But I ended up clicking the camera button instead of running the chainsaw. (Big surprise!)
With that work done, we checked other pasture fence and looked for bulls in the Ninnecah Pasture via 4-wheeler.
The prairie flowers and greening prairie grasses provided a beautiful backdrop on a cool, overcast morning.

We found that the Hereford bull was doing what bulls were supposed to be doing.
We interrupted the black-white face's breakfast, as grasses hung from her mouth like a teenager with an aversion to napkins.
Mothers and babies paused to see what the noise was all about as the 4-wheeler zipped through the pasture.
It was the very definition of "pastoral" -- except for that pesky tree branch.
Above top: a beaver dam on the Ninnescah, just south of the pasture we rent. Immediately above: the view from the spillway.
I was glad I came along for the ride with my favorite chauffeur and lumberjack.


  1. Glad the Herford bull was doing his thing.

    1. I guess I'd have to say that we are, too, since we'd like to have a bunch of bovine babies next winter!