Prairie Ramblings http://hppr.org en Meet gardening's mini-Freddy Krueger http://hppr.org/post/meet-gardenings-mini-freddy-krueger <p></p><p>We’ve enjoyed a lush garden this summer with tall corn, big cabbages, sweet potato vines that could be jungle instead of food, and towering tomato plants. Imagine our horror when we visited the garden one morning to find an interstate of raised trails weaving in and out our plantings. This was my introduction to a live mole.</p><p> Mon, 21 Jul 2014 05:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 34643 at http://hppr.org Meet gardening's mini-Freddy Krueger How many critters can get under that one tree? http://hppr.org/post/how-many-critters-can-get-under-one-tree <p></p><p>All eyes in the stands focused on a bright yellow Volkswagen parked in the center of the Big top.&nbsp; Both doors opened simultaneously, allowing two clowns wearing towering top hats and oversized, floppy shoes&nbsp; to step into the spotlight.&nbsp; Then two more characters in bright, outsized&nbsp; attire squeezed out, and then two more and two more and two more &nbsp;like an out of control tube of toothpaste until there were 12 clowns crowding around that little&nbsp; VW.&nbsp; If those weren’t enough to dazzle the crowd, two more popped out.&nbsp;</p><p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 05:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 34427 at http://hppr.org How many critters can get under that one tree? Into battle and armed with a song http://hppr.org/post/battle-and-armed-song <p></p><p>If you tune into the news, you’ll see people and nations disputing boundaries. These disagreements might involve guns, artillery, and bombs, or they may be legal wars that wind their way through courtrooms for years before anyone gets a definitive answer regarding who owns what. Since the beginning of time, humans have wrangled over property lines. After watching two male cardinals duke it out last week, I’ve decided people ought to settle their differences the way birds do—with song.</p><p> Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:00:01 +0000 Karen Madorin 34082 at http://hppr.org Into battle and armed with a song Insect inspired fashion http://hppr.org/post/insect-inspired-fashion <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Time for confession: I’m a female missing the fashion gene. While I love art and creativity, I prefer wearing jeans and &nbsp;t-shirts. Ironically, I sometimes watch </span><em style="line-height: 1.5;">What Not to Wear</em><span style="line-height: 1.5;">. I’m pretty sure I’d drive Stacy and Clinton insane because I often don’t like the designs and patterns they convince the person-in-need- of-improvement to select. While I may not like the colors and configurations these style mavens promote, I do love beautifully designed insects.</span></p> Sat, 28 Jun 2014 05:00:01 +0000 Cindee Talley 33819 at http://hppr.org Insect inspired fashion Nature's calling cards http://hppr.org/post/natures-calling-cards <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">In Victorian times, people of good breeding with time on their hands apparently went “calling.” As either a pass into another’s home or as a token of the visit, guests left behind a reminder of the visit in a lovely dish placed on an entryway table. These ornately engraved name cards held special significance if one bent the left top corner one way and another meaning if the deliverer tore a different place.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Mon, 23 Jun 2014 05:00:01 +0000 Karen Madorin 33488 at http://hppr.org Nature's calling cards It's all in the beholder's eye http://hppr.org/post/its-all-beholders-eye <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Living in the same region and sharing roads, doctors, schools, and hair stylists doesn’t mean people see a common experience from the same perspective. Everything that’s happened to individuals prior to those events colors their interpretations. It’s true of two kids who grow up in the same house with the same parents but tell two different stories about their upbringing. People spin their own explanations.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Mon, 02 Jun 2014 05:00:01 +0000 Karen Madorin 32545 at http://hppr.org It's all in the beholder's eye Becoming the oldest generation http://hppr.org/post/becoming-oldest-generation <p></p><p></p><p>A phone call brings Karen one step closer to becoming the oldest generation.</p><p> Mon, 26 May 2014 05:00:01 +0000 Karen Madorin 32216 at http://hppr.org Becoming the oldest generation Mulberries: Banquet or Mess? http://hppr.org/post/mulberries-banquet-or-mess <p></p><p>It is that time when Kansas cars, driveways, and tops of heads wear purplish reminders of a passing bird’s mulberry feast. Everyone saw it coming as pale fruits of this native tree first turned from white to bright red then matured to black-purple. Not so long ago, Jayhawk-state residents looked forward to this early spring fruit as one of summer’s first harvests. Now days, most folks consider these berries a mess to clean up.</p><p> Mon, 19 May 2014 05:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 31936 at http://hppr.org Mulberries: Banquet or Mess? Turkey Lonely Hearts Club http://hppr.org/post/turkey-lonely-hearts-club <p></p><p>Typically, when you see wild turkeys, you see them in a flock. If they are seeking a morning breakfast of grasshoppers and other early rising insects, several dine together.&nbsp; At night, they gather in &nbsp;large groups to roost in a big tree that provides each bird its own branch.&nbsp; However, they perch close enough to one another for the turkey equivalent of <em>The Walton’s</em> “Goodnight, John-boy” evening song.</p><p> Mon, 12 May 2014 09:45:00 +0000 Karen Madorin 31591 at http://hppr.org Turkey Lonely Hearts Club A homemade wedding for Barbie and Ken http://hppr.org/post/homemade-wedding-barbie-and-ken <p></p><p>Only a Grinch could hate spring’s arrival. What’s not to like about warmer days, leaves unfurling, grass greening, tulips and daffodils bursting into bloom, lilacs perfuming breezes, and white blossoms exploding on Barbie’s wedding bush. This plant is really called spirea, but for little girls playing dolls, this shrub provides bouquets enough for a hundred wedding ceremonies--hence its nickname.</p><p> Mon, 05 May 2014 05:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 31286 at http://hppr.org A homemade wedding for Barbie and Ken When it comes to rain, it's not good to want a thing too much http://hppr.org/post/when-it-comes-rain-its-not-good-want-thing-too-much <p></p><p>One of my favorite novels to teach is John Steinbeck’s <em>The Pearl</em>. I love his use of landscape, the very human ways the main character Kino and his young wife Juana face ills that befall them, and truths about human nature the author unfolds in quotes that spill from memory at odd times. One of those instances occurred recently.</p><p> Mon, 28 Apr 2014 05:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 31005 at http://hppr.org When it comes to rain, it's not good to want a thing too much The barn kitten version of the city mouse and the country mouse http://hppr.org/post/barn-kitten-version-city-mouse-and-country-mouse <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Remember the childhood story about the country mouse and the city mouse? I loved to read that book as a little girl. Why it appealed to me, I don’t know. However, since late this summer my daughters and I have had the opportunity see observe the differences between country cats and town cats.</span></p><p> Mon, 21 Apr 2014 05:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 30657 at http://hppr.org The barn kitten version of the city mouse and the country mouse Sharks in Kansas http://hppr.org/post/sharks-kansas <p></p><p>Sharks swimming in Kansas waters? Looking for dorsal fins cutting through waters where I fish, wade, and swim gives me goose bumps. I’d already spent too much time focusing on such worries as a teenage body surfer in Huntington Beach, California.</p><p> Mon, 14 Apr 2014 05:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 30364 at http://hppr.org Sharks in Kansas Serendipity on Highway 183 http://hppr.org/post/serendipity-highway-183 <p></p><p>Some words stick in the mind, and serendipity is one those memorable terms rattling around in my cranium. In college, I hung out at a retreat called Serendipity House. I’d never heard the expression before, so after my first visit, I hit the dictionary.</p><p> Sat, 29 Mar 2014 05:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 29697 at http://hppr.org Serendipity on Highway 183 Let Mother Nature release your inner artist http://hppr.org/post/let-mother-nature-release-your-inner-artist <p></p><p>Recently, a friend sent me a link to “Scott Wade’s Dirty Pictures.”&nbsp; It sounds like something that should make me blush; however, it is actually a site detailing a clever artist who turned his dirty car windows into canvases for spectacular drawings.&nbsp; With recent snow melt and the resulting swampy driveway, I&nbsp; wondered if I couldn’t save some money on canvas and take up sketching on our pick-up and car windows.</p><p> Sat, 15 Mar 2014 05:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 29008 at http://hppr.org Let Mother Nature release your inner artist I see the moon, and I know it by name http://hppr.org/post/i-see-moon-and-i-know-it-name <p></p><p>If you took an evening walk or happened to look out your window eastward last Thursday, you saw what some call the Worm Moon, a term American Indians introduced.&nbsp; While these nomadic people didn’t follow a Julian calendar, they knew the importance of using seasonal lunar phases to record passing time.</p><p> Sat, 08 Mar 2014 06:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 28811 at http://hppr.org I see the moon, and I know it by name Bread dough by hand is best http://hppr.org/post/bread-dough-hand-best <p></p><p>Here’s a challenge: can you tell the difference between handmade and machine made bread? Handmade means no mixers, no dough hooks, and no electronic devices of any kind until it’s time to pop those risen loaves or rolls in the oven. If taste buds can’t tell a significant difference, why would anyone choose an old-fashioned technique to do a job?</p><p> Sat, 01 Mar 2014 06:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 27621 at http://hppr.org Bread dough by hand is best Snow day brings new revelations http://hppr.org/post/snow-day-brings-new-revelations <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Like my students, I appreciate occasional snow days. Waking to hear a DJ listing my school on the school cancelation list reminds me of finding an unexpected twenty dollar bill in an old pair of jeans.&nbsp;</span></p><p> Sat, 22 Feb 2014 06:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 27613 at http://hppr.org Snow day brings new revelations There's beauty in the eye of the beholder http://hppr.org/post/theres-beauty-eye-beholder <p></p><p>Living in the same region and sharing roads, doctors, schools, and hair stylists doesn’t mean people see a common experience from the same perspective. Everything that’s happened to individuals prior to those events colors their interpretations. It’s true of two kids who grow up in the same house with the same parents but tell two different stories about their upbringing. People spin their own explanations.&nbsp;</p><p> Sat, 15 Feb 2014 06:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 27612 at http://hppr.org There's beauty in the eye of the beholder A prairie rabbit shows me the Zen way of life http://hppr.org/post/prairie-rabbit-shows-me-zen-way-life <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">One part of Eastern thought that intrigues me is the Zen &nbsp;concept of intentionally living in the moment and experiencing that moment fully. I suppose that is a&nbsp; major reason &nbsp;why I enjoy the out of doors so much.&nbsp; It’s hard to hike, camp, bird watch, fish, or hunt if you aren’t fully aware of your surroundings and the relationships of those elements with one another. Not long ago, I spotted a Zen rabbit on one of my walks, and it gave me much to consider.</span></p><p> Sat, 08 Feb 2014 06:00:04 +0000 Karen Madorin 27611 at http://hppr.org A prairie rabbit shows me the Zen way of life Small business creativity is alive and well on the high plains http://hppr.org/post/small-business-creativity-alive-and-well-high-plains <p></p><p>City dwellers take for granted easy access to services. With strip malls in urban areas sprouting like weeds in a wet summer, finding a groomer and pet care is as easy as taking a drive around a section is for me. During that four-mile drive in a city, people have to choose which business to support. In small prairie towns on two-lane highways where customers are in short supply, it requires ingenuity to figure out how to meet people’s needs and make a buck at the same time. Sat, 01 Feb 2014 06:01:01 +0000 Karen Madorin 27414 at http://hppr.org Small business creativity is alive and well on the high plains Cosmic Sand Pile http://hppr.org/post/cosmic-sand-pile <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">&nbsp;</span><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Remember the joy you found digging in a great dirt pile or a big sand box when you were a kid? As youngsters, my brother and I spent hours creating our own geography, which included mountain ranges, deep valleys, sloping hills, and raging rivers. All we needed was sand, a couple of spoons or trowels, and water.</span></p><p> Sat, 25 Jan 2014 06:00:04 +0000 Karen Madorin 27005 at http://hppr.org Cosmic Sand Pile The Best Dining On the Plains is Found in Small Towns http://hppr.org/post/best-dining-plains-found-small-towns <p></p><p>City friends sometimes ask if I miss eating at popular chain restaurants. When I first moved to rural Kansas, I did miss running to Olive Garden or Red Lobster. Now days, I’m happy to wait until a local organization hosts a foodie fundraiser. I’ve learned that’s where you find homemade-by-neighbors fine dining. These cook’s reputations are on the line, so they don’t serve just anything.</p> Sat, 18 Jan 2014 06:00:04 +0000 Karen Madorin 26866 at http://hppr.org The Best Dining On the Plains is Found in Small Towns Ode to the Public Library http://hppr.org/post/ode-public-library <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">Watching how much my toddler granddaughter loves books reminds me of a seven-year-old,&nbsp; toothpick-legged child who thought she was a big girl when her momma handed her anallowance on Saturday mornings. Along with that shiny dime, that little girl’s mother permitted her to trek uptown-- first to the dime store and then to the library. The coin was spent in no time.&nbsp; It took much longer to wander up and down the bookshelf aisles searching for the perfect three or four titles to carry home so she could escape into those well-turned pages for a week of exciting adventure.</span></p><p> Sat, 11 Jan 2014 06:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 26615 at http://hppr.org Ode to the Public Library Winter Morning Shadow Plays http://hppr.org/post/winter-morning-shadow-plays <p></p><p>One of my favorite childhood memories or maybe even adult memories involves casting finger shadows of rabbits, birds, and other creatures onto a blank wall. One morning, I noticed Mother Nature playing her own shadow games on Big Creek below my kitchen window.On weekend mornings, I look forward to seeing what sorts of fun the “old girl” can concoct using barren branches, agile squirrels, and flitting birds.</p><p> Sat, 04 Jan 2014 06:00:02 +0000 Cindee Talley 25966 at http://hppr.org Winter Morning Shadow Plays Frugal Good Times http://hppr.org/post/frugal-good-times <p></p><p>Go to enough auctions of people who survived The Depression, World War II, the blows of the 50s, and the one car families of the 60s, and you’ll find&nbsp; boxes of small square table cloths and probably more than one deck of regular or pinochle playing cards and maybe a box of dominoes. These inexpensive, reusable items were ingredients for Friday and Saturday night good times as well as the center of family gatherings at holidays.</p><p> Sat, 28 Dec 2013 06:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 25965 at http://hppr.org Frugal Good Times Solstices Remind Us of Rhythms Our Hearts Know http://hppr.org/post/solstices-remind-us-rhythms-our-hearts-know <p></p><p>I can’t imagine living in times prior to scientific understanding of the year’s shortest day and longest night, the winter solstice.&nbsp; Before easy access to candles, kerosene, and electricity, this was a worrisome season. Little besides faith the sun would return comforted ancient people through increasingly long nights.</p><p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 16:07:00 +0000 Karen Madorin 25530 at http://hppr.org Solstices Remind Us of Rhythms Our Hearts Know Annie, get your gun-- and a mixing bowl http://hppr.org/post/annie-get-your-gun-and-mixing-bowl <p></p><p>Not so long ago,most&nbsp; people considered serious women hunters a rarity.&nbsp; Their appearances on outdoor channels were uncommon, and you couldn’t find camouflage or blaze orange specifically designed to fit feminine&nbsp; curves.</p><p> Sat, 07 Dec 2013 06:00:02 +0000 Karen Madorin 25222 at http://hppr.org Annie, get your gun-- and a mixing bowl The Force: Music http://hppr.org/post/force-music-0 <p></p><p>It’s interesting how certain tunes and lyrics transport our minds from the present to another time and place. I can’t listen to “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” without finding myself traveling backward through time to age fifteen when I rode shotgun up and down the main drag of a small Southwest Kansas town. With our windows rolled down, summer breezes riffled our hair until a comb could hardly pass through it. Oncoming drivers blared horns to greet one another as part of the nightly ritual. These discordant sounds disrupted KOMA tunes that set the rhythm of our popping bubble gum.</p><p> Sat, 30 Nov 2013 14:00:00 +0000 Karen Madorin 24963 at http://hppr.org The Force: Music Holiday Baking Cooks Up Memories http://hppr.org/post/holiday-baking-cooks-memories <p></p><p>As soon as nights get longer and colder, I find myself scouring cook books and magazines for festive recipes.&nbsp; The irony is that I may whip up one of two of these temptations, but always, always, I return to childhood standbys.&nbsp; While new flavors tease family taste buds, traditional recipes comfort and connect us to loved ones and times long gone.</p><p> Sat, 23 Nov 2013 06:00:03 +0000 Karen Madorin 24688 at http://hppr.org Holiday Baking Cooks Up Memories