Prairie Ramblings

Saturday afternoons, 2:30 central during Silver Rails
Written and voiced by
Karen Madorin

A sixth generation Kansan, Karen Madorin cherishes the prairie in a way only one who has left a beloved homeland and returned can.  A writer, amateur photographer, and former teacher, Karen loves finding fossils from the ancient inland seas  as well as  learning about  modern  pioneers who harvest Kansas wind. Each week Prairie Ramblings takes you inside everyday life.  It is a celebration of living the good life on the high plains.

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Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

The barn kitten version of the city mouse and the country mouse

Credit peeksintojoyce.blogspot.com

 Remember the childhood story about the country mouse and the city mouse? I loved to read that book as a little girl. Why it appealed to me, I don’t know. However, since late this summer my daughters and I have had the opportunity see observe the differences between country cats and town cats.

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Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Sun April 13, 2014

Sharks in Kansas

Credit thefossilforum.com

Sharks swimming in Kansas waters? Looking for dorsal fins cutting through waters where I fish, wade, and swim gives me goose bumps. I’d already spent too much time focusing on such worries as a teenage body surfer in Huntington Beach, California.

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Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Serendipity on Highway 183

Serendipity- The full moon setting in the west, while the sun rises in the east.
Credit justmakethecoffee.com

Some words stick in the mind, and serendipity is one those memorable terms rattling around in my cranium. In college, I hung out at a retreat called Serendipity House. I’d never heard the expression before, so after my first visit, I hit the dictionary.

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Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Fri March 14, 2014

Let Mother Nature release your inner artist

Scott Wade's dirty car art like this inspires Karen Madorin to think outside the box when it comes to a canvas.
Credit http://www.dirtycarart.com/

Recently, a friend sent me a link to “Scott Wade’s Dirty Pictures.”  It sounds like something that should make me blush; however, it is actually a site detailing a clever artist who turned his dirty car windows into canvases for spectacular drawings.  With recent snow melt and the resulting swampy driveway, I  wondered if I couldn’t save some money on canvas and take up sketching on our pick-up and car windows.

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Prairie Ramblings
8:00 pm
Fri March 7, 2014

I see the moon, and I know it by name

Credit tropicoftaurus.net

If you took an evening walk or happened to look out your window eastward last Thursday, you saw what some call the Worm Moon, a term American Indians introduced.  While these nomadic people didn’t follow a Julian calendar, they knew the importance of using seasonal lunar phases to record passing time.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri February 28, 2014

Bread dough by hand is best

Credit saidanotherway.blogspot.com

Here’s a challenge: can you tell the difference between handmade and machine made bread? Handmade means no mixers, no dough hooks, and no electronic devices of any kind until it’s time to pop those risen loaves or rolls in the oven. If taste buds can’t tell a significant difference, why would anyone choose an old-fashioned technique to do a job?

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri February 21, 2014

Snow day brings new revelations

Credit lilbitfarms.com

Like my students, I appreciate occasional snow days. Waking to hear a DJ listing my school on the school cancelation list reminds me of finding an unexpected twenty dollar bill in an old pair of jeans. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

There's beauty in the eye of the beholder

Credit kaweahoaks.com

Living in the same region and sharing roads, doctors, schools, and hair stylists doesn’t mean people see a common experience from the same perspective. Everything that’s happened to individuals prior to those events colors their interpretations. It’s true of two kids who grow up in the same house with the same parents but tell two different stories about their upbringing. People spin their own explanations. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

A prairie rabbit shows me the Zen way of life

Credit thefieldbrookreserve.com

One part of Eastern thought that intrigues me is the Zen  concept of intentionally living in the moment and experiencing that moment fully. I suppose that is a  major reason  why I enjoy the out of doors so much.  It’s hard to hike, camp, bird watch, fish, or hunt if you aren’t fully aware of your surroundings and the relationships of those elements with one another. Not long ago, I spotted a Zen rabbit on one of my walks, and it gave me much to consider.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Fri January 31, 2014

Small business creativity is alive and well on the high plains

Dog grooming hits the road

City dwellers take for granted easy access to services. With strip malls in urban areas sprouting like weeds in a wet summer, finding a groomer and pet care is as easy as taking a drive around a section is for me. During that four-mile drive in a city, people have to choose which business to support. In small prairie towns on two-lane highways where customers are in short supply, it requires ingenuity to figure out how to meet people’s needs and make a buck at the same time.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri January 24, 2014

Cosmic Sand Pile

Credit thezarembas.blogspot.com/

 Remember the joy you found digging in a great dirt pile or a big sand box when you were a kid? As youngsters, my brother and I spent hours creating our own geography, which included mountain ranges, deep valleys, sloping hills, and raging rivers. All we needed was sand, a couple of spoons or trowels, and water.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

The Best Dining On the Plains is Found in Small Towns

Credit http://sf.funcheap.com/

City friends sometimes ask if I miss eating at popular chain restaurants. When I first moved to rural Kansas, I did miss running to Olive Garden or Red Lobster. Now days, I’m happy to wait until a local organization hosts a foodie fundraiser. I’ve learned that’s where you find homemade-by-neighbors fine dining. These cook’s reputations are on the line, so they don’t serve just anything.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri January 10, 2014

Ode to the Public Library

Credit theguardian.com

Watching how much my toddler granddaughter loves books reminds me of a seven-year-old,  toothpick-legged child who thought she was a big girl when her momma handed her anallowance on Saturday mornings. Along with that shiny dime, that little girl’s mother permitted her to trek uptown-- first to the dime store and then to the library. The coin was spent in no time.  It took much longer to wander up and down the bookshelf aisles searching for the perfect three or four titles to carry home so she could escape into those well-turned pages for a week of exciting adventure.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri January 3, 2014

Winter Morning Shadow Plays

Credit nps.gov

One of my favorite childhood memories or maybe even adult memories involves casting finger shadows of rabbits, birds, and other creatures onto a blank wall. One morning, I noticed Mother Nature playing her own shadow games on Big Creek below my kitchen window.On weekend mornings, I look forward to seeing what sorts of fun the “old girl” can concoct using barren branches, agile squirrels, and flitting birds.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Frugal Good Times

Credit sarahhearts.com

Go to enough auctions of people who survived The Depression, World War II, the blows of the 50s, and the one car families of the 60s, and you’ll find  boxes of small square table cloths and probably more than one deck of regular or pinochle playing cards and maybe a box of dominoes. These inexpensive, reusable items were ingredients for Friday and Saturday night good times as well as the center of family gatherings at holidays.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
6:07 am
Sat December 14, 2013

Solstices Remind Us of Rhythms Our Hearts Know

Credit chateauamber.eu

I can’t imagine living in times prior to scientific understanding of the year’s shortest day and longest night, the winter solstice.  Before easy access to candles, kerosene, and electricity, this was a worrisome season. Little besides faith the sun would return comforted ancient people through increasingly long nights.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

Annie, get your gun-- and a mixing bowl

Jillian, Ellerbe, N.C., Winchester SX 3 in Mossy Oak Duck Blind finish.
Credit npr.org

Who says a woman's place is in the home?

Not so long ago,most  people considered serious women hunters a rarity.  Their appearances on outdoor channels were uncommon, and you couldn’t find camouflage or blaze orange specifically designed to fit feminine  curves.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
4:00 am
Sat November 30, 2013

The Force: Music

Credit grandmashousecac.com

It’s interesting how certain tunes and lyrics transport our minds from the present to another time and place. I can’t listen to “Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog” without finding myself traveling backward through time to age fifteen when I rode shotgun up and down the main drag of a small Southwest Kansas town. With our windows rolled down, summer breezes riffled our hair until a comb could hardly pass through it. Oncoming drivers blared horns to greet one another as part of the nightly ritual. These discordant sounds disrupted KOMA tunes that set the rhythm of our popping bubble gum.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri November 22, 2013

Holiday Baking Cooks Up Memories

Credit coupondivaqueen.blogspot.com

As soon as nights get longer and colder, I find myself scouring cook books and magazines for festive recipes.  The irony is that I may whip up one of two of these temptations, but always, always, I return to childhood standbys.  While new flavors tease family taste buds, traditional recipes comfort and connect us to loved ones and times long gone.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri November 15, 2013

Jack Rabbit Coming Down a Country Road

Credit sparselysageandtimely.com

Having learned to drive in Southern California where merging with rush hour traffic was a driver-ed mandate, I relish our area’s slow-paced traffic.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri November 8, 2013

From Pumpkin Patch to Kitchen Delight

Credit birdworms.com

Seeing photos of my granddaughter’s visit to a pumpkin patch reminds me why these seasonal venues draw visitors from miles around.  Walking among vines to eyeball and then pick and carry home these great orange globes connects people to the soil that grew that particular squash and to the sun and rain that nurtured it. It’s like holding an electrical wire and getting the full buzz, only without the shock and spasms.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri November 1, 2013

Autumn Uglies

Credit beyondthefieldsweknow.org

Those of us who share our country homes with wildlife love spring time when we see the babies.  Nothing is cuter or sweeter than a newborn fawn unless it is six or seven baby raccoons following mom to the creek.  On the other hand, nothing is funnier looking and yet more charming than a flock of recently feathered turkey poults trying to catch grasshoppers as they follow their mother through tall grass.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri October 25, 2013

High Plains Grasses Provide the Palette of Autumn

Credit hutchrec.com

The palette of autumn colors in western Kansas dazzles me every year.  I know many folks think foliage tours in eastern states reveal the best seasonal color, but I wish they would drive across the prairie with me.  The colors may not be quite so obvious as the hardwood forests in the East, but anyone with a good eye can enjoy our fall hues.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

The Great Hedge Apple Insect Experiment

Credit http://joycewallace1.blogspot.com/

Normally, I avoid sequels.  I don’t want to know what happened after Rhett left Scarlet standing in the door with his famous line echoing in her mind.  I definitely didn’t want to see Rocky triumph more than once.  However, I must write a part two to the hedge apple saga.  If I don’t, that tale’s audience may enter the next bug cycle with unfounded hope.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

The Magic of Monkey Balls: Truth or Tale?

Credit wikipedia.org

    

“Hedge apples, direct to you!” An Internet site suggests that placing these objects “around the foundation or inside the basement provide relief from cockroaches, spiders, box elder bugs, crickets, and other pests.” Hedge apples. Aren’t they ugly fruits that look like a green brain? In fact, green brain is another term for this wild pod along with the terms Osage orange, hedge balls, monkey balls, and horse apples.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri September 27, 2013

A Weekend to Remember

Credit windriver.org

 Last week’s gusting winds did more than catch  arms and legs  in slamming doors, blow hair in directions it’s not intended to go, and make me tilt at a 60 degree angle in order to prevent joining a bazillion tumble weeds traveling hither and yon.  It set my nerves on fire and prepared me to enjoy a perfect weekend.

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Folklore
5:18 am
Mon September 23, 2013

Towering Sunflowers Predict…

Credit eyes4mwanza.blogspot.com

  Folk wisdom, especially weather-related folk wisdom, captured my attention when I first learned the saying, “Red sky at night—a sailor’s delight and red sky at morning—a sailor’s warning,” from my grandmother. I’ve tried to determine whether or not her wise words consistently ring true over the decades, but so far--no verdict.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

Drought, A Tree Root, and No Plumbing

Credit acquaplumbingllc.com

  When I left home to attend a five week National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Teacher Seminar, my husband devoutly promised he’d water my flowers.  By the time I left, velvety purple petunias, coral moss rose, and vibrant snapdragons already showed heat distress.

While in North Dakota, I kept track of western Kansas weather through phone calls and monitoring the Hays Daily News.  Though some rain fell, I knew the only way my flowers would survive was through regularly hosings. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
10:30 am
Mon September 9, 2013

Miniature Dinosaurs on My Hilltop

Credit umich.edu

From the time I toddled until I finished 3rd grade, I called oil boomtowns dotting Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico home. During those years my family lived in this stark and beautiful region, my dad would bring me bits of petrified dinosaur skeleton he found near rig locations where he worked. These bones-turned-stones gripped my imagination until I added a dinosaur tooth and a dinosaur coprolite or fossilized doo to my rock collection.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

If the Santa Fe Trail of the Past Met Highway 50 of the Present, There’d Be No Boring Travel

Credit usends.com

As a youngster riding down Highway 50, I never questioned how this piece of asphalt connected me to the past of either Kansas or our nation. It was a boring ride that didn’t have interesting scenery unless we happened to drive through a storm with writhing clouds or pass through at sunrise or sunset.

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