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Harvest Public Media story
7:15 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Generic seeds could have a short lifespan

Potted soybean plants line the tables in a research greenhouse at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. Researchers are trying to understand the ways different genes control plant growth.
Credit Grant Gerlock/Harvest Public Media

The patent rights on the first genetically modified seeds expire next year, but it’s not clear how the introduction of “generic” seeds fits into the science and business of GM crops.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue March 5, 2013

A Leaf Should Know Its Tree

A Young Velma Whipple

I met Velma Whipple Wancura two years ago.  Her grandson, Dan Wancura contacted me, telling me I needed to meet his grandmother.  He said the story of her life was simply amazing.  He was right. 

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Playa Country episode
8:01 pm
Sun March 3, 2013

Playa Renovation: Haynes Farm, Holyoke, CO

Holyoke, CO, farmer Larry Haynes talks about putting land "to its best use." For decades he attempted to farm playas in his fields but said he "rarely" was able to harvest crops grown in those wetlands. He decided to forget attempting to farm the playas and instead renovate them and plant large plant buffers around them, thus putting the playas "to their best use" as wildlife habitat. Biologist Jerry Miller drew up plans to renovate the playas and create plant buffers. As expensive as farming is today, Haynes says it makes no sense to pour expensive ag inputs into a mud hole. This the final episode in a four-part series on playa health. It originally aired on HPPR Tuesday, March 5, 2013.

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

When Nature Calls, Don't Answer

  Despite a flu shot and obsessive hand washing to avoid this season’s germ, it found me.  If folks tell you it’s bad, believe them.  If they add it lasts forever, it’s true.  After a week and a half indoors, struggling to overcome primary and secondary symptoms, cabin fever set in.  Climbing the walls had new meaning. I needed a dose of outdoor therapy to help me battle sniffles, coughs, and headaches left in the wake of this super virus.

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

Cleon P Carraway... Musician to Call Inventor

  Cleon P. Carraway loved music.   He also loved hunting.  Experiments fascinated him.  How could you combine those passions into an endeavor?  Cleon found a way.  The discovery and perfection of these interests has been a lifetime journey.

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

Oklahoma's Creative Compromise

Controversy over the icons of the state of Oklahoma were not limited to the state tree.  In 1893, fourteen years before statehood, Mistletoe was adopted as the territory's flower.  Although, tiny and short-lived, the evergreen leaves and glossy white berries made it a favorite of settlers.  The issue some folks couldn't seem to get around was that mistletoe is a parasite.

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

Location Location Location

Ask anyone in real estate how to choose property, and they'll tell you, "location, location, location."  The White and Kirk building in Amarillo sits at the crown jewel of locations- the intersection of Route 66 and Polk Street.

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

Playa Health: The Importance of Buffers

Credit Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory

Research indicates that a buffer surrounding a playa lake, consisting typically of native grasses and forbs, prevents migration of upland topsoil and farm chemicals into lowland wetlands such as playa lakes and rainwater basins. The buffers are important to rangeland playas, but are vital when playas are situated in fields under crop production. This story is part three of a four-part series on playa health. It originally aired on HPPR Tuesday, February 26, 2013.

Genetically Modified Organisms
6:26 am
Mon February 25, 2013

The seeds of genetic modification

The vast majority of the corn and soybeans in United States grow from seeds that have been genetically modified. The technology is barely 30 years old and the controversy surrounding it somewhat younger. But how did it even become possible?

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
11:14 am
Thu February 21, 2013

Ribbons of Birds

One of my favorite parts of wrapping presents is creating pretty designs with all kinds of ribbon.  The  paper corners may not be so sharp as one might wish, but I love using  scissors to stretch skinny little green or red Christmas trim into dangling sausage curls.  Somehow sparkly spools of foil, scissors, and tape bring out the creative in me, and I find myself making loop de loops and fleur de lis on my loved one’s gifts.  I’m not sure skill matches imagination, but I love playing with strands of fabric and paper.

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

Setting the Record Straight for Goldenrod

Goldenrod is a wallflower, standing in the background, while other flowers in the garden take center stage.  It has been blamed for watery eyes and runny noses, when in fact, the true cause of those allergy symptoms is probably ragweed which blooms at the same time.  Goldenrod has taken the heat for years for, but its  blame without substantiation.  It is a rare gardener to take up the cause of the Goldenrod, but I like this plant.  It has a place in my garden. 

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

Where I Come From

Virginia Kerns Frantz was born near Granada, Colorado on February 28, 1924.  She remembers her childhood as a hand to mouth existence.

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

Great Plains, Small Town Hearts

Over a decade ago, I lucked into a National Endowment for the Humanities Seminar titled  The Great Plains: Texas to Saskatchewan.  For five weeks,  Tom Isern  led 19 other teachers and I to read and analyze literary and historical texts, discuss conclusions, and visit iconic sites to better understand what it means to live on the plains.

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

One Skillet Camp Breakfast

This breakfast is easy to make, and easy to clean up.  The only pan you need is a cast iron skillet. 

Here's what you do:

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 13, 2013

I'll Miss Fields of Gold

Sometime back I talked about our return to dryland farming.  One of the things I will miss with this change is being surrounded by fields of gold.  Some days, I would journey into the fields to be surrounded by eye-level orbs of sunlight.  I would stand quietly waiting for the sound of munchkins following the yellow brick road.  At the end of the growing season, I have been known to emerge with an arm full of heavy heads to hang in the evergreens to provide a feast for winter residents. 

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

Making Lemonade

Let’s give the mailman something to laugh about and send one of those exaggerated postcards of giant insects or oversized rabbits.  You can find them at the Finney County Historical Museum, along with information on their creator, a photographer named Frank ‘Pop’ Conard who found a way to make lemons into lemonade during the dark days of the Great Depression.

2:27 pm
Sun February 10, 2013

New evidence and new doubts about In Cold Blood

Lead in text: 
Kansas Bureau of Investigation documents suggest that the events described in two crucial chapters of Truman Capote's "non-fiction novel", In Cold Blood, differ significantly from what actually happened. Writer Kevin Helliker explores this new evidence and other findings in a recent Wall Street Journal article.
GARDEN CITY, Kan.-Truman Capote's masterwork of murder, "In Cold Blood," cemented two reputations when first published almost five decades ago: his own, as a literary innovator, and detective Alvin Dewey Jr.'s as the most famous Kansas lawman since Wyatt Earp.
Harvest Public Media story
3:56 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Technology chips away at influence of prominent ag towns

Kansas City Board of Trade

 At the crossroads of industry, railroads and farm country Kansas City has long been a capital of the plains. In recent years, though, Kansas City and other agriculture hubs have seen technology chip away at their importance.

Since 1856, for instance, wheat has been traded on the floor of the Kansas City Board of Trade. In the old days, there would be a swarm of traders around the pits, shouting orders, making those crazy hand signals you've seen in the movies, but that will end later this summer.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu February 7, 2013

First Time Calling for Luke and Larry

Sometimes when Larry and I get together, our conversations head toward the past... and stories of our "firsts."  Larry's asking me about the first time I went out calling.  Here's my story:

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

Life Cycles From Auction Buyer to Seller

All my married life, I’ve loved attending local auctions.  Part of the charm of these gatherings is seeing friends and neighbors and catching up with one another’s busy lives or listening to the auctioneer’s clever patter.  Another reason these events draw me  is the chance to see history and sometimes buy a little chunk of someone else’s story.  Unfortunately, there comes a time when those little pieces of other’s lives add up to enough stuff to clutter my closets to overflowing.  Before anything bursts, I need to take action.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Blue is the Sky, White the Snow, and Yellow the Gold

The Rocky Mountain Columbine was discovered by mountain climber, Edwin James,  ascending Pike's Peak in 1820.  It was officially names the state flower of Colorado in 1899.  Rocky Mountain columbine (Columbine Aquilegia Caerulea) is a beautiful flower with a rich aroma that attracts bees, hummingbirds and butterflies to it's nectar.

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue February 5, 2013

Sherman County Hero

Today we’ll visit the Texas Panhandle and stop by the Sherman County Depot Museum to hear the story of Sam Wohlford.  We’ll take a look at a  silver medal and a plaque that reads, “No greater love is there than for a man to risk his life for friend or stranger.”  And we’ll learn about Sam’s refusal to give up in his quest to save lives during the Great Blizzard of 1948.

High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Winter Calling

This week around the campfire, Larry Weishuhn and I were talking about winter varmint hunting.  Winter is a perfect time to get out and do some calling.  With varmints here on the High Plains, this is a true challenge.  You don't have to be a pro, even extreme novices can be successful using an electronic caller.  Now my friend Larry, you can't believe the sounds he can make with his mouth.  It is unbelievable.  He can sound like white tail deer, rabbits, but me, I have to use a call. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Trophy Dust Bunnies

Athletes compete to make the play-offs.  If effort and luck shine on coaches, managers, players, owners, and fans, two franchises make it to games such as the Superbowl, World Series, Stanley Cup or other legendary competitions.  Olympians dedicate four years to earn those few seconds or minutes they have to claim gold. Hunters spend seasons seeking the biggest buck, bull elk, caribou or other record setting trophy to decorate the family room.  After a week of packing a house we lived in for 16 years, I have decided homemakers need their own prize.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

The 70 Year Bluebonnet War

The history of  the state of Texas is expansive and colorful.  It's boundaries have fluctuated.  It's flown six different flags.  It's background is steeped in tales of battles and wars, including the war with Mexico, the Civil War,  and many Indian battles that include the Red River War, but until recently, I was unaware of a battle that was waged for 70 years. 

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High Plains History Episode
8:01 pm
Tue January 29, 2013

The Last Reminder of a Thriving Community

A trip along the history trail that tells of the settling of the west is littered with the remains of hundreds of ghost towns.  The lives of many of these settlements were very brief, as they boomed when they bet on the tracks of the railroads and then busted as they watched from a distance as the trains pass them by.  One of the largest communities was called Ivanhoe, and was developed between the Arkansas and Cimarron Rivers on what is now U.S. Highway 83.  Today we’ll visit what remains of this once-bustling community – the cemetery.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Life Away From the Lens

I swore I would never be a woman who lived her life behind a camera lens.  I wanted to live in the moment, experiencing life as it occurred. 

I achieved this goal until I received a Nikon that captures moments up close and from considerable distance with clicks of a silver button.  Using that telescopic lens, I could see fine details my unaided eye used to see as blurs.

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High Plains Outdoors Episode
8:01 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Trapped! In a Box Blind?

Let me tell you, folks, some of my favorite hunting memories are not about bringing home a trophy buck or making the record book, but about some of the mishaps that have happened along the way.  One of those times was when Larry and I were out deer hunting.  We were not having much luck, so we decided to do a little calling.  We were getting a little hungry, nothing was happening, so we decided to head back to camp to get something to eat.  I pushed on the door to open it, and the thing did NOT move.  The hasp had slipped down and locked us in!

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Harvest Public Media story
7:12 pm
Thu January 24, 2013

Drought raises stakes on Republican River

The Republican River in Hitchcock County completely dry on July 25th, 2005.
Credit Melissa Widhalm, NDMC

There’s a border war going in the Midwest and it’s over water. Kansas and Nebraska have been battling for years over the water in the Republican River, which runs from Colorado to Kansas, through Nebraska.

Farmers in all three states depend on the Republican River to irrigate their fields and with agriculture such a prominent industry in the Midwest, the water battle amounts to a big deal. Kansas and Nebraska’s current dispute will eventually head to the U.S. Supreme Court. And with many farmers dealing with drought and planning for water restrictions, the battle is heating up.

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Growing on the High Plains Episode
8:01 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

Pioneer Tree of Life

Can you imagine walking across an endless sea of grass?  Maybe your journey started along the Santa Fe Trail from a tree-lined river bank of the Ohio Valley, the forests of the Appalachian mountains, or the sugar maple groves of New England, and now you face a gale of hot, dry wind.  You think you must be on the edge of hell.. until... up ahead you see a shimmer of hope... a cottonwood tree.  

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