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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.