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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Blooming Turkeys

Outback Steakhouse may advertise blooming onions, but I know where turkeys bloom in  green fields near my house.  Like a rose going from a tight bud to full summer bloom, those big ol’ gobblers put on a show. Puffing their feathers and spreading their fan-shape tails into a full blown sail, they strut and rattle.  All this action occurs to woo nearby hens that coyly scan the area for insects and greens.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

Squirrels Unlimited

Squirrel hunting was a big deal when I was growing up in Northeast Texas.  My mother was a great wild game cook.  Crispy fried squirrel and smothered squirrel were a couple of our favorite meals.  Did you know that there is a group dedicated to squirrel hunting?  Squirrels Unlimited.  Yes, I said Squirrels Unlimited, not Ducks.  

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Storm season
9:22 am
Thu April 11, 2013

Severe weather coverage by HPPR

In order to provide notification of severe weather to the public, most of HPPR’s transmitter sites are equipped to continuously monitor the National Weather Service (NWS) and immediately interrupt regular programming and directly broadcast any severe weather warning issued by the NWS.  These warnings include severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings. 

The list below identifies the counties covered by this notification service.  Next to the county is the HPPR station(s) to tune to in order to hear the NWS warnings.

KANSAS

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Help close the gap
6:48 am
Thu April 11, 2013

HPPR's Spring Drive continues (quietly)

HPPR's Spring Membership Drive has ended, but if you didn't have a chance to pledge your support, you can still help  close the gap! You can keep public radio on the High Plains strong by pledging now.

This spring HPPR also wants to know how public radio enriches, engages and empowers you and your community on the High Plains. (You can use the comment section at the end of this post.)

By selecting a new, additional or renewing membership level that’s comfortable for you (pledge here) you'll give a strong finish to our April goal of $110,000.

Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

Flowering Quince

Suffering from a bout of spring fever, Skip succumbed to the purchase of a plant that produced beautiful blossoms even before planting time.  However, balmy spring weather was quickly replaced by a spring snowstorm, forcing the shower of flowers indoors.  There it still brightened the corner where it was with scarlet colors and a promise of a garden show to come.

High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 9, 2013

Dark Cloud on the Horizon

The mid 1930's were the dry years on the high plains.  The drought has taken so much, a tornado took their home, but one young couple continue to persevere.  Velma and Ted Wancura were creative problem solvers.  They had 150 head of cattle, but no grass in the pasture. so   Ted and his brother harvested the cactus that remained for feed.  After burning the spines off with a blow torch, the cactus were placed in a cattle tank where the were well received.  When they were gone, Ted fabricated a truck bed to haul beet tops from the Garden City sugar factory, approximately 50 miles away, where the farm land was irrigated.  That solution worked until weather conditions worsened. 

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Playa Country episode
6:05 am
Tue April 9, 2013

Weaver Ranch Grazing Conservation

Shinnery Oak Leaf
Credit Max Licher

When Jim Weaver purchased his ranch in southeast New Mexico in the 1980s, some decades of mismanagement had left grassland overrun by shinnery, short shin-oak plants that impede grass growth by sequestering water in the root system. Weaver Ranch manager Willard Heck discusses benefits of limiting shin-oak to let the tall grasses return.

This Episode of Playa Country originally aired as part of the Grazing Management series on November 6, 2012. I was repeated April 9, 2013 as part of the Landowner Stories series.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Spring Concert

For some, spring heralds the arrival of green leaves and flowers.  For others, it is a time to plant the garden in anticipation of summer’s bounty.  For me, spring signals the opportunity to fall asleep each night to nature’s jam sessions and to awaken to her symphonies in the morning.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Hmmm.... Shark Fillet

Last week, Captain Mike Williams was on the show, and we talked about catching shark.  Today, I got him on the line, and we started talking cooking shark.  One of our favorite sharks to eat is a Black Tip, and the best eating size is the 30-50 pounder. 

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
12:48 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Lavender

This week we'll look at one of the oldest and most loved plants in the herb garden.  The numerous types of lavender are often named for their country of origin, with Spanish, French, and English lavenders among the top competitors in any popularity contest.  Originally used for medicinal purposes, it is now listed as the top aromatic herb around the globe.

High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

No Home to Go To

In 1935, there had been no rain and no wheat crop for the Wancuras.  One day, Velma and Ted decided to drive to Beehler to a farm sale about 14 miles north.  On the way home, they stopped at her parent's home in Beehler to say hello.  The weather turned.  Velma's dad told them to stay for the night. 

The next day they started out for home.  They met a neighbor on the road, who told them there was no reason to travel any further, a tornado had destroyed their home.  It was scattered for miles.  

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Harvest Public Media story
4:12 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

A new frontier in genetically engineered food

Kevin Wells has been genetically engineering animals for 24 years.

“It’s sort of like a jigsaw puzzle,” said Wells recently as he walked through his lab at the University of Missouri - Columbia. “You take DNA apart and put it back together in different orders, different orientations.”

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Harvest Public Media story
3:14 pm
Tue April 2, 2013

Taxing complications for farmers and an April 15 deadline

This tax season is an unusual one for farmers.

“Farmers didn’t necessarily have a great crop to harvest, but they harvested a huge amount of income last year. It was one of the biggest years, inflation-adjusted, since going back to the 1970s,” said Roger McEowen, who runs the Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State University.

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Playa Country episode
11:53 am
Tue April 2, 2013

Playa Renovation: Jan Minton Ranch Floyd, TX

Credit Oklahoma Conservation Commission

We examine Jan Minton's ranch, the family operation she took over in Floyd Co., Texas. It had been "farmed to death," she said, and two playa lakes were in poor condition. Bill Johnson, a U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist, developed a restoration plan that involved silt removal, playa repair, and a native grass and forbs plant buffer around the playas' margins. This story is part two of a four-part series on playa health and originally aired on HPPR on February 19, 2013. The story was repeated April 2, 2013 as part of the Landowner Stories series.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Eggs and Antlers

I hated leaving childhood and the annual Easter morning search for hidden goodies behind. Until I discovered shed hunting, the adult equivalent of a child’s egg hunt, I didn’t know grown-ups could still experience the thrill of finding well-hidden treasure, in this case antlers camouflaged by tall grass.  My husband introduced me to this spring ritual soon after we met. Discovering that first drop thrilled me the same way finding Easter prizes brightened my early years.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 28, 2013

Here Fishie Fishie...

There are few fishing trips more exciting than shark fishing.  My friend, Captain Mike Williams of Galveston, Texas, told me it was like standing on a corner, a Harley comes by going about 80 mph- downtown with both barrels, and you throw a hook out to snag it.  That described it exactly right.  It's a heck of a fight.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 27, 2013

Spanish Moss a.k.a Gray Beard

A trip from the High Plains to the Coastal Plains of South Carolina brought Skip lots of new gardening images and ideas.  One of the most interesting botanical finds was Spanish moss, a wispy airplant  with an unusual history.  This week Growing on the High Plains will take a look at an area of the country that is as botanically different from the flatlands of Kansas as day is different from night.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 26, 2013

The Dry Years

The hard times began long before the dust storms that inspired movies, documentaries, and books.  There was no rain, no crops, wheat was .25 cents a bushel, which would have been something if there was any wheat to harvest.  For Velma Wancura, the dry years meant going back to work as a teacher.    That wage supported her family.   

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 25, 2013

Ogallala Aquifer Conservation: Playa renovation on the Grissom Ranch

Credit Playa Lakes Joint Venture

Southeast Colorado rancher Grady Grissom and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory manager Seth Gallagher discuss renovation of a playa on the Grissom Ranch. The wetland had been "pitted," and a flat playa bottom was restored, which normalized plant-life, then birdlife, around the playa.

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Oklahoma Panhandle
11:32 am
Sun March 24, 2013

What’s Next for ‘Lake’ Optima, the Reservoir That Never Filled?

Weston Storer, biologist at Beaver River, Optima, and Rita Blanca Wildlife Management Areas points toward Optima Dam and what's left of the reservoir.
Credit LOGAN LAYDEN / STATEIMPACT OKLAHOMA

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built more lakes in Oklahoma than any other state. Some of those reservoirs struggle to fill, especially during drought, or end up holding more silt than water. But none have been a bigger failure than Lake Optima.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

The Return of the Herons

When I think of Great Plains birds I usually think of meadowlarks, hawks, and crows.  In this dry country, I don’t think of water birds with their long legs and necks as typical.  Yet these herons have made the plains home longer than European immigrants have.  Their limbs have adapted for wading our shallow creeks and rivers, and their bills make perfect spears to impale unwary fish and frogs.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Well Read Garden

The newscasts seem full of stories about the death of newsprint, and newsprint's replacement by technology.  There seems to be fewer and fewer of us who carry the genes of string-savers of the Great Depression- those who love the way the paper feels between our fingers, and the way the pages sound as we turn them.  There's a steady flow of the electronic version of the town crier- folks on little screens who type, text, or shout, gossip, advertising, facts, figures, and advertisements, even when we don't want them.

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HPPR Performing Arts
10:57 am
Wed March 20, 2013

Hallberg Creates a Musical Oasis on the Prairie

Conversation with Priscilla Hallberg and Cindee Talley, March 15, 2013

Priscilla Hallberg is a concert violinist and founder of the The String Academy of the Plains in Garden City, Kansas.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Back When Horse Power Meant Barney and Joe

A thrashing crew from back in the day

Velma Wancura's dad wanted to be a farmer, so he traded a house in McCracken, Kansas for a quarter of land south of Beeler.  He was a good farmer, and it took the whole family to make it successful.  The kids helped  milk eight to twelve cows twice a day, separated the milk, and sold the cream.  Velma also remembered the horses.    She recalled two by name, Joe and Barney.  When Velma was six or seven, she started driving the team.  Looking back, she said, "The horse looks so tall and big, I don't know how I did it."   

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Playa Country Episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 18, 2013

Landowner Restores Playa in New Mexico

Waterfowl and shorebirds on playa lake.
Credit Darryl Birkenfeld / Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism

Eastern New Mexico rancher John Wood has playa-rehab success story.  John owns a 2,800-acre cow-calf operation about 40 miles north of Clovis. The land has a a 250-acre playa that was rehabbed with the help of The Nature Conservancy. Wood says he's now witnessing larger numbers of migrating birds, and thinks other wildlife have returned. This story originally aired on HPPR 12/25/12 as part of Playa Country's series on Playas. It repeated 3/19/13 as part two of the Landowner series.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

The Goose at the End of the Rainbow

Shamrocks, leprechauns, pots o’ gold make me think instantly of St. Patrick’s Day, a joyous spring celebration.  As a child, I was sure the old stories must be true and anyone lucky enough to stumble upon the rainbow’s end would find a leprechauns’ pot of gold. I was also certain that mortals rarely, if ever, find that arc’s end.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 14, 2013

Run Black Drum Run!

Folks, I am here to tell you that right now is the time to head down to Galveston, Texas, to fish for Black Drum.  We are in the midst of the Black Drum run.  It typically starts mid February and runs through the middle of April.  My old buddy, Captain Mike Williams, is a veteran fishing guide off the Texas coast.  We have been fishing together for a long time.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 12, 2013

Life is What You Paint It

Can you imagine living over 100 years and only having two regrets?  I can't.   It is one of the things that amazed me about Velma Wancura. 

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Playa Country episode
8:01 pm
Mon March 11, 2013

Citizen Science: Bird Count

Credit audubon.org

The approach of Christmas foretells the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count. Biologists term the event "citizen science." It's an activity that allows laypeople to develop an interest in bird watching, and their efforts helping scientists conduct the census is invaluable - scientific organizations couldn't afford to pay for the vital data-collection performed by thousands of citizen scientists across the nation. This is the first in a four-part series on Land Owner stories. It originally aired on HPPR on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu March 7, 2013

Brown Creeper Therapy

Brown-creeper

The months after Christmas until mid-to late March are the most difficult of the year in my opinion.  Spring and summer have always warmed my heart as well as my back as I bend over tomato plants in the garden or flowers in their beds. Over time, I have learned to love fall with all its color and pre-cold weather symphonies even though I know what comes next.  But winter—I struggle with.  It takes effort to celebrate long, colorless days.

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