Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Tallgrass Prairie

We spent a delightful, but smoky, weekend in the Flint Hills.  Mike participated in a hands-on workshop to experience the prairie fires - from behind the camera lens.  I hope to show you a few of his fire photos soon!

Traveling down the turnpike on Saturday toward Emporia we saw these wonderful muffin-clouds.  In my experience, there is often a tornado right around the corner from these babies...  but we were able to escape!

We stayed in Cottonwood Falls at a great B and B called Stonehouse 1874.  It was here we met Lucy and Ethyl (oops... this should be Ethel!).
Lucy and Ethel are European Cream Retrievers.  (Think American Golden Retriever - but European and Cream-colored!)  They live at the B&B and they are beautiful.  Billie, the owner of the B and B, will be raising more of these dogs - they are pretty rare in the U.S. now.
Mike spent his day and evening out in the fields with the fires.  I dropped him off at the Flying W Ranch bunkhouse.  The porch columns were all carved like totems.
Some of the photographers stayed overnight here at the Bunkhouse...  here's the bath house.  Seeing this made me pretty happy we had a room at the B and B!
The sky was very beautiful out there at the bunkhouse.
While Mike was running around jumping through fires and trying not to melt his shoes, I spent some time in Cottonwood Falls.  There were lots of fun things to see!  These photos were taken at an old antique shop.
Check out the tricycles mounted on the side of the building.
Remember these?
And these??
These guys were so gorgeous.  Mike got much better pictures of them... maybe he will share some with me for a future post.
You always feel a little bit like you've gone back in time in those wonderful old towns in the Flint Hills - and being behind a car like this on the road makes you totally believe it!
I am always on the lookout for old stone houses.  This one in Cottonwood Falls definitely caught my eye!  I thought it was in remarkably good condition...  turns out it is brand new!  It is just great!  Just one block off the main street.
Here it is from another angle...

This is the Buck Creek Ranch on the way to our B and B outside of Cottonwood Falls.  This one is definitely old... the real deal!!!  Fantastic...

Traveling north on 177 toward Council Grove is the Lower Fox Creek School.  It has been carefully preserved.  A real jewel.
May 1882.
The prairie all around the schoolhouse had already been burned.
Leaving the schoolhouse and driving north to catch I-70, we saw many fields being burned.  I liked this photo because of the contrast of the two sides of the highway.
And of course, we spotted another old stone house... this one abandoned.
This collie was so funny.  She was not concerned about the fire at all... but she was very concerned about us!  I think she was trying to warn us to get away.  Just like Lassie!!!
We drove through Council Grove - which was along the Santa Fe Trail.  My favorite thing was the old store.  Last chance for supplies between Council Grove and Santa Fe, New Mexico!!!  That is a long, long way!
The store had a great slogan...  Last chance for beans, bacon and whiskey.  Apparently those were the food groups back then!
The Flint Hills are studded with redbud trees and they are beautiful right now.  It was fun to come home to these which grow right outside my office window.  Ahhh... "there's no place like home."

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