Skip Mancini

Producer and host of High Plains History and Growing on the High Plains

Home community: rural Haskell County, KS (PO Box 699, Sublette, KS  67877)

Phone: (800) 678--7444 (Garden City studios)

Ways To Connect

Pecan Memories

Jan 3, 2013

Perhaps no plant is more a part of my early childhood than a pecan tree.  It brings to mind several family photos in my memory book.  The first image is playing under a huge shade tree on a quilt pallet, while the older folks in my family shook the tree and picked up the nuts that fell.   They were rewarded with a share of the harvest and a small wage.  The second picture is of the whole family gathered around the kitchen table, the room lit by an oil lantern, and we all would work together to separate the meat from the shell.  For me, it wasn't really work because we were entertained by stories and songs.  The third picture is of an annual Christmas gift- a bag of shelled pecans sent by my cousin who still owns a native grove.

Sublette Swatters

Jan 1, 2013

Today we’ll take you out to the ball game.  Though we won’t buy you some peanuts and crackerjack, we’ll have another type of treat.  We’ll tell you the story of a tiny town in Haskell County, Kansas that had a semi-pro baseball team in the 1950s, and of the top notch uniforms they wore.  Sometimes when you think something is over and done with and gone for good, it will come roaring back, better than ever.

Christmas Tree Redux

Dec 26, 2012

Why not end the holiday season with the three R's?  Today, we'll look at ways to renew, reuse, or recycle that Christmas tree you thought was trash, but just might turn out to be a treasure.

Hidden Oasis

Dec 25, 2012

Let's get ready for the new Year by taking a drive to Lake Scott State Park.  Maybe the weather will let us try our hand at some trout fishing, and we'll take a turn on the lake in a canoe.  Afterwards, we can explore the ruins of El Quartelejo, the only Indian pueblo in Kansas.  Keep an eye out for wild turkey and deer.  No wonder Lake Scott made the recent list of Best Beaches in the USA!

Topping Out

Dec 19, 2012

During the holiday season a look toward the sky could catch a glimpse of a snowflake or two, or even a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeers.  At construction sites it could also yield the sight of a Christmas tree high atop a roof beam.  Today we'll look back in history and spend some time in the great north woods part of the world to find our Growing On The High Plains topic.

A Christmas Blizzard

Dec 17, 2012

We’ll celebrate the Christmas holiday by recounting a Christmas blizzard of long ago, when Santa traveled across the open range of the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles.  It seems that jolly old St. Nick joined some ranch hands in a snowstorm, and he left a special gift in the chuck wagon that he made himself.  

High Plains Holiday

Dec 12, 2012

As she reflects over Christmas past, Skip Mancini recalls how "Christmas" and "white" rarely happen at the same time. 

The Big Easel

Dec 11, 2012

Today we’ll travel north to see one of the world’s largest paintings.  Located in Goodland in Northwest Kansas along Interstate 70, the Big Easel can’t be missed.  Look for a vase of giant sunflowers, a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh and his signature series of seven sunflower paintings.

Oh By Gosh By Golly

Dec 7, 2012

It's time for mistletoe and holly, but here on the High Plains, the only place you are likely to see this traditional holiday plant is on cards and wrapping paper.

Southern Stage Route

Dec 5, 2012

A major U.S. Highway that runs through Western Kansas began as a rough trail that connected various boomtowns who were waiting for the railroads that ultimately passed them by.  Today we’ll travel in a classic coach on the Southern Stage Line and head south out of Garden City, stopping for a bite of lunch and then an overnight stay by the Cimarron River.

Fall Color

Nov 28, 2012

In an area of the country that is often thought to be lacking in autumn color, we can provide splashes of bright contrasts if we put some thought into landscaping plans.

Llano Cemetery

Nov 27, 2012

What began as an act of kindness to provide a final resting place for a pioneer child has become the Llano Cemetery in Amarillo, Texas.  The 130 acres have been developed to include elements of historical architecture, impressive landscaping, and  a sense of a beautiful public park for all who enter the gates. 

Our annual look back at the past gardening year brings some disappointments directly linked to a hard weather year. 

After a visit to the Stauth Museum in Montezuma, Kansas, you'll feel like a world traveler.  The museum is filled with art and artifacts from around the globe. Throughout the year it also showcases local art and culture and hosts numerous programs, lectures, or exhibits for area school children.  Since the building is constructed to Smithsonian Institute regulations, is often hosts traveling exhibits from the Smithsonian in Washington DC.

No doubt about it -- wise water use is a critical issue for the planet, and especially for those of us who live in the plains states of the U.S. 

Today we'll make our final visit to Amarillo and the High Plains Food Bank, where we'll be investigating the task of watering the large plot that provides food for so many in the Texas Panhandle. 

Vincent Mancini

We'll continue our visit at the High Plains Food Bank in Amarillo by doing a walk-through of the garden with Cara Young. 

Driving cattle from Texas to the north became complicated when homesteaders refused to allow herds to cross their land.  Quarantine laws were passed to protect herds from tick fever carried by Texas cattle.  

This week Growing on the High Plains will begin a series about a great garden place in Amarillo that produces food for those who need it.  We'll meet Cara and Justin Young, two energetic young people who are helping to bring community efforts, nutrition know-how, and garden harvests to hundreds of adults and children in the Texas Panhandle.

For many, the name Bat Masterson, brings to mind gunfights and the Old West.  He was born in Quebec, Canada.  Masterson came to eastern Kansas with his parents, but western Kansas drew he and his brother with its wide open spaces and hunting.  The most well known part of his life as Ford County Sheriff inspired a television show, but did you know Masterson:

Money Plant

Oct 17, 2012

During the continuation of our fall fund drive, we'll talk about an old fashioned plant from the cutting garden that produces coins of the gardening realm. Lunaria flowers with thin, silvery circles that look like shiny nickel.

Last June Skip presented a special Growing on the High Plains visit about her father and his gift of larkspur seed that has become a reliable reminder of him and his love of gardening.  During our fall fund drive week we'll repeat that show, and Skip will offer her own special gift to HPPR listeners.  Call 1-800-678-7444 for more details.

Commancheria

Oct 9, 2012

Today we'll look at a battle that marked the turning point in the Red River Wars.

If your gardening budget is drooping, you can give it a transfusion by digging into your perennial bed.  This week's Growing on the High Plains gives all the basics for dividing many spring blooming plants that may have overgrown their space or become old and tired.  If you don't have an excess of perennials, perhaps you can offer to clear out and replant a neighbor's garden in exchange for some 'take home' cartons.  Fall is a great time to reorganize garden spaces and find that 'everything old is new again'.

Rawlins County Seat

Oct 2, 2012

Chicanery and hi-jinks were on tap in this non-violent but very heated county seat war.

This wonderful native shrub has a deeply history, as it provided a rare and welcome fruit for North American Indian tribes as well as early day settlers.  The roots of this manna of the plains literally run deep, searching out subsoil moisture and giving the little shrubs an ability to survive our infamous prairie winds.  Today the scarlet fruits are still a favorite for jelly, and are the basis for providing a product for many small-scale  local businesses on the High Plains.

A survivor of the Sand Creek Massacre became a famous figure in Native American History.

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.

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.

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