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

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.

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

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.

B-List Bees

Aug 30, 2012

The hum, whine and buzz of flying insects is something most gardeners learn to identify as a good thing in the garden.  With a couple of exceptions, most of those sounds signify a pollinator who will help provide more bounty from your garden.  Today we'll talk about the b-list bees that don't produce honey, but do help produce your squash, tomatoes, strawberries,and good things to eat.  We'll also look into ways to keep these essential assistants happy and healthy as they work for you.

Pole Beans

Aug 23, 2012

Many of the old timers in the gardening world swear that pole beans have a better taste than their bush grown cousins.  This season I decided to test the claim by growing both kinds.  The differences between the two bean types are many in terms of space requirements and visual elements.  As far as the taste, the jury is still out because at my deadline for writing this piece the pole beans were still covered with blooms, but nary a bean had been produced.  I think the infernal inferno of hot dry days may have something to do with it.

The Jordan Massacre

Aug 22, 2012

A mute witness to mayhem and murder was never able to tell the story of what really happened in Ness county in 1872.

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.

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.

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.

Hollyhocks

Jul 8, 2012

Hollyhocks thrive in this arid climate we call home.  It does not flower the
first year, but sends up a tall stalk the next that will bloom most of the
summer.  The best time to plant your seeds is late summer, giving it time to
sprout and get established before winter sets in.  The most common disease
is rust, which can be managed by actively removing affected areas or with
chemicals. 

Naming Mobeetie

Jul 8, 2012

Mobeetie has a long history of firsts.  First established town in the Texas Panhandle, first post office, first court house, first judicial system and jail, first school, and first reported tornado- a killer storm that took seven lives in 1898.  To this day, even though a virtual ghost town, it is considered the,  "mother city,"  of the panhandle.

Longhorn History

Jul 1, 2012

A look at the background of one very tough breed that helped  to feed the west.

Early Birds

Jul 1, 2012

Most plants in Skip's garden got a jump on spring, producing foliage, buds, flowers, and fruits earlier than usual, and thus allowing an amazing harvest of ripe tomatoes in mid-June.

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