Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Nebraska Landscapes

I don't know how it is in the rest of the state, but here along route 20 across the top of Nebraska, each town is announced miles ahead by these big, tall grain elevators. This one is in Gordon, and is shadowed by an even more immense one across the street. Though the prairie is mostly bare or snow-patched right now, we can see evidence of corn and wheat fields, miles and miles of them, interspersed with herds of black or red cows with, at this time of year, their little wobbly new-born calves. A few stately bulls seem to be keeping watch.

A morning drive took us about 25 miles south of the small town of Rushville, population 1000, also dominated by huge grain elevators. This lake, Smith Lake, was once part of a large ranch and is now open to the public (few and far between!) for picnicking and boating. It was mostly frozen over but a few hardy Canada geese were honking nearby. We welcomed this break from the usual miles of prairie and gently rolling hills. I'm amazed at how far apart each ranch house and accompanying out-buildings with their piles of farm machinery are from the next ranch and buildings and machinery. One fellow we met the other day said he managed a 7000 acre ranch! And his house is in the middle of all that land! It would be a lonely existence for some. It makes me think of all those very early homesteaders who came on the Oregon Trail; in fact, many of the ranchers around here are descendants of those pioneers and still farm the same land. Though we were initially bored with the sameness of this vast land, we have since begun to see beauty all around us, noticing things we didn't see before. We are thankful for our time here!

1 comment:

Forry and Char said...

Hi Ann -
I'm always stuck when reading pioneer diaries or novels about that sense of distance and "aloneness." They were brave women who raised families when they were so far from help or "civilization."
Our ranch was twenty miles from the nearest town in eastern Washington, but we had neighbors within a few miles -- and one just a 1/4 away at the end of the lane. I know I planned meals a lot more, bought groceries less often and kept the freezer full!
Enjoy your down time!