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Psalm 78
. . . we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. .
so the next generation would know them . . . and they in turn would tell their children.
Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Break on the Prairie

Today we returned to one of our favorite places: Tallgrass Prairie Preserve. (See memories from our '05 trip here; from '08 here.) It was chilly, trees were bare, and the tallgrass is bent over, brown, and dry. This time we went with our friends the B. family. Actually, it was just Mrs. B. and her crew plus one friend and me and my crew. We met up with my aunt and uncle at the park. It was so good to spend the day, Leida and Doug! Thanks for being with us.

Edwards kids and their friends in front of the old ranch house.

Doesn't his hair match the prairie? 

Running free!


Sharon said...

This landscape is so different to where I live! And yet the colour reminds me a lot of the wheat fields around the country town of Ceduna, where I grew up, after the Christmas harvest. Except we didn't have any hills. None at all.

That's a great photo of Toby. Was the wind cold out in the open? You're entering spring, now, right? What sort of temperatures do you have there in Wichita at the moment?

I love the word "prairie". We don't use that term in Australia. I guess I'd call these grasslands, or (if they are farming land), fields of stubble. Except it seems from the pictures to be a lot taller than stubble - grain stalks after harvest - so I am not sure. Is it fallow farmland? Regardless, it's lot less romantic sounding to say "stubble", isn't it? "Let's go and walk in the stubble" just doesn't have the same ring to it as "Let's go wandering across the prairie."

I hope you all had fun. It definitely looks like it.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

The tallgrass prairie is how Kansas appeared to the first settlers. What you see in these pictures is the dead tops of the grass that has dried over the winter. When pioneers originally arrived, the grass was up over their heads. In fact, you could easily get lost or even go mad because of the endless tallgrass.

Settlers came to these parts and grazed cattle in the hill country that you see in these pictures. In the plains (this section of hills is surrounded by plains) settlers plowed the land and farmed, wheat mostly. Today we are a big wheat state, but also grow corn and beans.

Today this prairie preserve has cattle grazing on it. In fact, in the summer months (May, June, July) ranchers from other states ship cattle up to these parts to graze. We are nearing the end of winter and very soon (toward the end of April) things will green up and flower and it will look much different.

Isn't it a great world God has created? With such diversity? When I was in east Africa I thought the savannas looked a lot like my home state of Kansas. And yet, that is such a different place. It surprised me to read that this looks different to you. Wow.

Mrs. Edwards said...

I forgot to say that Wednesday at Tallgrass felt cold because it was about 12 to 18 degrees C. and windy! Kansas is very windy! However, this time of year we can easily have a very warm day, like we did on Tuesday when it warmed up to 23 degrees C and was very sunny, followed by a day like this.

Today our high in Wichita is supposed to be 16 degrees C. (We use Fahrenheit, but I converted these, hopefully correctly!)

Spring break is a traditional week-long holiday from school given every March. Our homeschool is taking the break as well. (BSF and AWANA also have the week off.)

Sharon said...

I wondered if you were on holidays from homeschool. We will have our end of term 1 break (2 weeks off) in a few weeks time when it is Easter.

Our weather is still getting into the 30s (C, that's high 80s or low 90s F) most days. It was the wind chill factor I was most thinking of when I looked at that last picture especially. You can really see the ripples of wind in the grass. Very beautiful!

In Darwin, where I used to live, the nearby landscape is a type of savannah, called more specifically open woodland savannah. That means there are trees, but they are sparse in many places and spindly. But the grass there does the same thing, grows over head height and sometimes forms such thick tangles it becomes almost impenetrable, except through burning. And grass fires burn quickly but very very hot. I have seen photos of adults standing on the roofs of 4WD cars and the grass extends up past their knees (that would be at least 10ft I am guessing). We call it "spear grass" because it is as long as a spear and the heads of the natural grains are very sharp.

And the image conjured up by "long-grass" in my head is very different. A "long-grasser" in the Northern Territory is an itinerant person who lives in the bush, perhaps around the fringes of the suburbs, rather than on the city streets.

It was strange to move to that type of country as a teen after having grown up in the south where the word grass only conjures up thoughts of lawn or at most sheep pastures. Now I am back in country where the countryside is much more traditional Australian bush, the type you probably imagine from movies, with gum trees (Eucalypts) and Mulga scrub. And there are cattle on farms down in our south-west, but mostly dairy, not beef.

It is fascinating to share some of these differences with you. Our lives are very similar in some ways and yet astonishingly different in others, aren't they?

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

Yes! Fascinating and astonishing. I was just telling Mr. Edwards about your comment and we talked about the way Kansans feel their land is so dull. I said, "You know, if you really love the world God created, you love the plains and prairies as much as the Rocky mountains." Of course, appreciating a landscape and wanting to live there are two different things entirely!

We're off to the zoo today!

natalie said...

I love this place! Our family usually tries to go out in the fall sometime. It's so beautiful! Looks like you all had a fun time!

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