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These little green orbs are kissin' cousins to the currant, and like their relatives they can be welcomed or reviled in the U.S.  They make great pies, jellies, jams, and sauces for the table, but they can also transport a destructive fungus called 'white pine blister rust'.  If your locale doesn't feature white pines then gooseberry bushes might make a good berry bramble for you, especially if you like your sweets a little on the tart side. 

1965 brought more water than folks knew what to do with when the Arkansas River flooded its banks.

My Farm Roots: From pastime to passion

Sep 18, 2012
Hilary Stohs-Krause for Harvest Public Media

Aaron Troester’s life both did, and didn’t, turn out exactly the way he planned.

The 29-year-old farmer in the north-central Nebraska town of O’Neill was pouring honey into jars from bees he keeps when I met him. I soon learned he had a chemistry degree and had planned to go to medical school, but the lure of the land he farms with his father changed his mind.

“All through grade school, I knew I wanted to farm,” Troester said. That changed in college, but a year spent back on the farm while waitlisted for med school slowly evolved from passing the time into passion.

The Rub Tells All

Sep 14, 2012

Deer rubs and rub lines tell you there is a buck in the area.  When the deer loses its velvet, you'll start seeing rubs.  It could be as simple as a hook in the brush or a rub on a tree.  The purpose of rubbing is to strengthen a deer's neck for the upcoming breeding season.   The size of the rub generally does indicate buck size.  You can also tell about antler structure by looking carefully at the rub.   Here on the high plains, you can find rubs on blue stem, sunflowers, fence posts, or windmill towers.   

How to Catch a Hummer

Sep 14, 2012

One of Fall's gifts is a migratory visitor to the High Plains.  A hummingbird feeder, some sugar solution, and a little patience brings a  hummingbird outside Karen Madorin's kitchen window.

Frank Morris/ Harvest Public Media

Rose Alderson is a bright-eyed, energetic grandmother who loves her home a few miles outside of Nickerson, Kan. It’s the home her father was raised in and where she raised her kids, but the house is not the most important part of the Alderson place.  

Alderson loves the barn and the silo. Neither building plays much of a role on the farm anymore, but to Rose, they are the soul of the place.  

A heritage melon with a history of over one hundred and fifty years is our GHP subject for this week.  Named for a famous Swedish musical celebrity that toured the U.S. in 1850 via P.T. Barnum's Greatest Show on Earth, the Jenny Lind melon became wildly popular.  This melon displays many of the qualities of its namesake, including sweetness and a small dainty size, and thus was perfect for growing in a backyard garden.  Today this heritage fruit is still popular, and easy to grow and serve.

A philanthropist who wanted to give kids a place of their own founded a famous ranch in the Texas Panhandle.

One-finger city waves typically reflect someone's frustration, but in the country it simply means, "Good to see you."  Waves also reflect acknowledgement, warmth, and  personality.   For example, confident drivers use the pointer finger version, pickup and truck drivers seem to prefer the pointer and middle finger union wave, while some drivers are so relaxed they keep their plam on the wheel, and raise all four or eight digits in unison.   Urban drivers have said one of their favorite things about driving in the wide open spaces is greeting other drivers with a good, old fashioned, country

Learn about the phenomenon of individual and communal deer scrapes.  Scrapes can be equated to pulling into a farmer's yard for a visit, and when you turn around, the dogs are marking their territory on your wheels.    Scrapes seem to be located at the intersection of well traveled paths.  They are most active in the fall before breeding season.  There are two kinds of scrapes- active and inactive.  Many scrapes are found along the path of least resistance, along brush lines, next to a draw, on a tree, the edge of a tree line, or in any type of terrain change.  The ideal time to look for sc

These sweet treats can be grown throughout the HPPR broadcast area, although the further north they bloom the more likely they will encounter some late freezes that will nip the year's crop in the bud.  But the smell and taste of home grown peaches makes it worth the gamble, and the trees will actually live a longer and more 'fruitful' life if they have occasional barren years for resting and restoring.  The trail of the peach begins in China thousands of years ago.  The flavorful fruit was introduced to our shores by the Spanish explorers.

Garden City has prospered by the labor, customs, and culture of hardworking immigrants from Old Mexico.

The dance of the fireflies has a hidden meaning.  The little beacons are signaling they are looking for love, and they are under a time crunch.  With only two weeks to find a mate and propagate, it gives adults new insight into the childhood tradition of catching and putting them in a jar. 

Spot and stalk on the high plains is a completely different game.  Here, creatively seek out the highest vantage point.  That could be a windmill tower, a knoll, or even the top of your pickup cab.

Markets woo wary farmers

Aug 30, 2012
Jeremy Bernfeld/Harvest Public Media

Farmers are the bedrock of the agricultural commodities markets – after all, they make the products that are traded there.

But after the October bankruptcy of commodity trading firm MF Global and more recent allegations of shady dealings at Iowa futures firm Peregrine Financial, the bedrock is shaking.

That’s why CME Group, which owns the Chicago Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, is working hard to regain farmers’ trust.

Rain Barrels

Aug 16, 2012

One of the hottest items in lots of gardening catalogues is the rain barrel, proving that 'everything old is new again'.  Throughout history we have found ways to save up rainy day water and then used it during dry times.  Today's offerings can make a fashion statement in your lawn or garden, but there are also some old-fashioned ways of conserving moisture that can provide a drink for thirsty plants.

Railroad Town

Aug 15, 2012

In out regional history, many towns were founded or folded by the route of a railroad. Perhaps no town was more influenced by the rails than Canadian, Texas.

Mowing

Aug 9, 2012

Though summer is the major growing season for most gardeners, it's also the major mowing season for many.  Today we'll  take a look at lawnmowers and the men who made them, beginning with four-legged 'natural clippers'.  These were followed by horse-drawn reels and walk-behinds that were eventually developed into the gas guzzling producers of one of the more controversial sounds of summer.

Finnup Park

Aug 8, 2012

A walk in the park is on tap as we look at a Southwest Kansas family of philanthropists.

Milkweed II

Aug 2, 2012

The more than 140 species of milkweed  have a long and varied history.  Named Asclepius for the Greek god of healing, its medicinal uses are many.  However, several species are toxic, so if the plant is used as a health remedy, the user should be well-informed in advance.  The physical properties of milkweed have resulted in various uses for the stems and fluff-filled seed pods, including a wartime effort by World War II's greatest generation.

Kansas Folksongs

Aug 2, 2012

Listen to some "tuneful" history about the Jayhawk state.

Towhees

Jul 29, 2012

Towhees are solitary ground-dwellers often described as a small-scale American Robin. Eastern and Spotted Towhees can both be found in the High Plains, kicking up a racket in the leaves.

Vigilante Justice

Jul 29, 2012

The last lynching in Kansas was called 'justice' by many.

Red Lights

Jul 22, 2012

Journey along some of history's darker streets and alleyways as we go in search of 'red lights districts' on the frontier.

The final farewell to an adventure well lived…

BluePop

Jul 22, 2012

A Cardinal is one type of Grosbeak – a Blue Grosbeak is another. We learn to identify this deep-blue High Plains bird with brick-red bars on its shoulders.

We are meeting with a young El Salvadoran, who has allegiance to his native country, while trying to fit in the best he can in our North American culture.

Pianos on the Plains

Jul 15, 2012

Early settlers were self-reliant in all things, including entertainment.  They would find a place for musical instruments on their trek to the unknown west.  Old photos feature pioneers standing around a pump organ in front of a dugout home.   Pianos were expensive and difficult to transport.  The organ offered an affordable alternative.   Some creative souls even placed the organ inside an empty piano case, giving the illusion of owning the rare item.  As time passed, pianos and organs went through transition in size and structure making them affordable for the middle class.  Examples of t

Solomon Seal

Jul 15, 2012

Solomon Seal is not a native plant.  Named for a scarred rhizome that has the appearance of King Solomon's seal, which is known by many as the Star of David.   It is also know for its medicinal use, and is perfect for shaded flower beds on the High Plains.

Shovelers

Jul 15, 2012

Is the Looney Tune character Daffy Duck based in reality?  The overall physical characteristics of black feathers, orange webbed feet, and white ring are not found in one species in nature, but his shovel shaped bill is.   That prominent feature, which contributes to his unique speech pattern, builds the case for Daffy being classified as a Northern Shoveler.   

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