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 Episode
8:01 pm
Thu January 10, 2013

For the Love of Wildness

A while back, I read a book titled For Love of Wildness by retired Game Warden Terry Grosz.  I wish I’d found it earlier in my marriage to help me understand my husband’s love for his work.  This time of year, I always needed a good reminder of why he chose his profession and why he devoted so much time and energy that wasn’t always appreciated.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
7:18 am
Fri January 4, 2013

Discarded Christmas Trees

Driving around local communities in January, one is sure to spot the Christmas tree mulch site.   Some of the trees tossed willy-nilly inside bright orange snow-fence sport strands of tinsel, all that remains of their holiday décor.  These annual tugs at my heartstrings should not surprise me since discarded Christmas trees never fail to trigger a sad moment.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Dust Storms and Attacking Tumbleweeds

Growing up, I heard story after story about the Dust Bowl from my parents and grandparents.   Dad described his mother shoveling rather than sweeping post-storm drifts.  Grandma told how she placed wet sheets over her children’s beds to protect their lungs as they slept.  She’d launder the linens the next day because they got so dirty.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Clearing the Air

In China that was the year of the horse or sheep or some such beast.  Around my country home, it was the fall of the skunk. 

Driving up our 1/8 mile long entry road the other night, I counted four black and white creatures in my headlights. Since those were visible, who knows how many stinky little pests ran around outside my vision.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
11:22 am
Fri December 14, 2012

What I Learned Living with a Bow Hunter

I grew up in a hunting household.   My dad made an annual pheasant pilgrimage to Kansas.  He also spent time stalking javelina and deer in Arizona, but he was always a rifle hunter.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu December 6, 2012

Swagger and Blink

The bucks fight for her attention, but the doe is oblivious.

If junior high dances are anything like they used to be, on the way inside, you pass noisy boys jostling one another for dominance.  You hear snippets of saucy trash talk, see manly posturing with exaggerated shoulders and aggressive chins, as well as smell a mixture of colognes designed to tantalize the fairer sex awaiting that evening’s Prince Charming. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Lucky Hunters

After every rifle season, lucky hunters celebrate their success stories, recounting details of the hunt to their friends and anyone else who will listen.  Over the years, I have heard many a tale about the one little turn of good fortune that transformed the ordinary hunt into the extraordinary hunt.  One story I never heard ought to be told because that hunter is the luckiest of them all.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
12:18 pm
Thu November 29, 2012

Autumn Sounds Different

Autumn sounds different on our rocky hilltop.  As the temperature drop and days grow shorter, life looks and sounds considerably altered than it did just six weeks ago.  We have new guests at the bird feeder while other frequent diners headed South weeks ago.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu November 15, 2012

Ancient Rock Connects Women Past and Present

Weekend trips were my father’s favorite way to unwind.  One of his favorite getaways was a  ranch east of San Diego along the Mexican border.  Semi-arid and craggy, it’s mystique appealed to me as well.  It was a relief to escape the crowded Los Angeles basin to this uncomplicated ranch nestled amidst sage-dotted hills.  The land’s sparse vegetation and up-thrust boulders made it difficult for man or beast to inhabit. 

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu November 8, 2012

Orange and Black Ellis Bugs

Like death and taxes, I count on box elder beetles invading every year.  These nuisances creep into every crack and crevice of our house, silently multiplying until nowhere is sacred.  I have even had them fall off a showerhead while I shampooed my hair.
Unfortunately, I don’t know much about these creatures other than that they show up like a bad penny every fall. They squeeze through airtight windows, out of electrical sockets, and under door jambs like Mongol hordes.  What lures them, I don’t know.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu November 1, 2012

Buffalo Grass Miracle

Weather in Kansas often leaves a person feeling a little schizophrenic.  If it confuses me, what does it do to vegetation and animals that live outside?  At this moment, our climate is causing some abnormal buffalo grass behavior.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:06 pm
Thu October 25, 2012

Sandhill Song

Leaves changing colors and a sudden nip in the air proclaim autumn’s arrival more forcefully than any date on a calendar can..  With that change comes an ancient song.  Like steps on the porch announcing a visitor, this tune is the sound of summer’s exit and fall’s approach. Vernal musicians herald ice storms and frosts that destroy lingering tomatoes and late summer blooms.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu October 18, 2012

End of Summer Sunbathing

I remember college days . . . waiting for the first warm day of spring when my friends and I headed to a nearby lake . . . unveiling our winter-white bodies to piercing rays of pre-summer sun.  It felt so good to lay my bathing suit clad body on the softness of a worn patchwork quilt.   While vitamin D mixed with UV rays coursed through our sun-starved carcasses, my friends and I agreed  that this was bliss.  If I close my eyes, I can still feel the sharp edges of small stones pressing into my spine and the sensation of solar beams soaking into my belly and face.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu October 11, 2012

A Corn Maze, Roasted Peanuts, and a Kansas Pumkin Patch. Does Life Get Any Better?

Gold, scarlet, and orange leaves and grasses, blue skies muted by just a hint of vernal gold, air crisped by a gentle breeze, and burnished milo fields.  What more could anyone ask for on an October weekend?  Not much, unless you want to toss in a cornfield maze, a pumpkin patch full of traditional pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins, and some odd gray - blue pumpkins, a toasty wood fire designed for roasting marshmallows and peanuts, and hayrack rides.  

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
9:56 am
Fri October 5, 2012

Canine Happy Hour at the Fruit Drop

When I first met my husband, a field-trained black lab owned him.  Rebel was an intelligent canine with a once in a lifetime personality. The retriever and the man had enjoyed a rustic bachelorhood  at Meade  State Fish Hatchery.  Dog and man led an idyllic life hunting, fishing, and working fishponds located far from town and people.

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Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:01 pm
Thu September 27, 2012

Early Morning Rambles

Sunrise on the Prairie

An early morning walk makes you healthy, wealthy in the abundance of nature, and wise in discovery.   It also makes the four-legged family friends very happy.  Karen Madorin is greeted by cardinals, rabbits, and the wide open vistas that bring to mind the smallness that early pioneers may have felt.

Prairie Ramblings Episode
1:32 pm
Fri September 21, 2012

The Gold Coronado Missed

Hiking Boot Covered with Pollen

The search for gold compelled Spanish conquistador Coronado into Kansas.  Ironically, he found gold more valuable that the metal he hoped to find, but unfortunately did not recognize the value of the gold dust coating his boots and leggings.  Pollen is the essence of life, but without pollinators moving from plant to plant, creatures of every kind would lack fruits, vegetables, grains, and grasses. 

Prairie Ramblings Episode
8:00 pm
Fri September 14, 2012

How to Catch a Hummer

One of Fall's gifts is a migratory visitor to the High Plains.  A hummingbird feeder, some sugar solution, and a little patience brings a  hummingbird outside Karen Madorin's kitchen window.

Prairie Ramblings Episode
10:30 am
Sat September 8, 2012

The Insiders Guide to a Country Wave

One-finger city waves typically reflect someone's frustration, but in the country it simply means, "Good to see you."  Waves also reflect acknowledgement, warmth, and  personality.   For example, confident drivers use the pointer finger version, pickup and truck drivers seem to prefer the pointer and middle finger union wave, while some drivers are so relaxed they keep their plam on the wheel, and raise all four or eight digits in unison.   Urban drivers have said one of their favorite things about driving in the wide open spaces is greeting other drivers with a good, old fashioned, country

Prairie Ramblings
10:30 am
Sat September 1, 2012

Fireflies Secret Love Signal

The dance of the fireflies has a hidden meaning.  The little beacons are signaling they are looking for love, and they are under a time crunch.  With only two weeks to find a mate and propagate, it gives adults new insight into the childhood tradition of catching and putting them in a jar. 

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