Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The calm before the wind-chill...

I took a nice, long walk again today.  I think we had 60* on the thermometer today and very little wind.  So unusual for us here.  I wanted to spend some time outside so I took one walk up to the mail box before the mailman drove by.  It's a two mile round trip.  Then I took a pasture walk out into the wide open plains.  There isn't any livestock out there right now because it is mostly used for spring and summer grazing.   Just a short way into my walk, I saw a badger -- a blonde badger who saw me and popped right into a hole as quick as a wink.  I was so hoping I'd see him again and could snap a picture for you, but it was not to be.  So I'll show you somebody else's picture of the blonde badger.  When I say the badger was blonde, I mean that he matched the pasture grass, unlike many badgers who are very dark or silver in color.

Photo courtesy of Wilderness College.

Do you see the cow trail worn into the grass?  I often find myself walking in cow trails when I go hiking out into a big pasture.  The grass is tromped down and it's usually easier to walk in the trails, but sometimes the ruts are too deep for a two-legged creature to walk in and I must forge my own path. 

 This is an alkali area of the pasture.  It's spongy and the white stuff is very salty.  You don't ever want to drive in a low alkali spot or you might sink the outfit up to the frame.  Nothing much grows here except some salt grasses and weeds.  One pretty weed is called Saltlover (Halogeton) which is poisonous to livestock.

I found a cow carcass scattered about in one spot.  She's been out there a long, long  time.

 
 And this must be one of Badger's holes.  There were at least four holes on this ridge.  The thing is to have several holes in which to hop into quickly and to have lots of storehouses for a long winter.

How about that expansive sky and prairie together?  Breathtaking, isn't it?

Turning back toward home, you can faintly see the barns, granaries, hay corrals and homes.  You can also see that the sky is changing and a cold front is blowing in.  We've had high winds since dark and the winds are expected to hang around and increase for a few days as the temperatures drop.  Combined, they will give us sub-zero wind chills between -15 and -20.  Brrrrrr!  We've had such a mild winter so far, that I shouldn't complain when Real Winter hits.  (Well, I might complain, but it IS winter after all.)

Back home the low sun invites itself in at about 3 pm and warms the house up a little.  Coffee time!  Come in and have a cup!

14 comments:

  1. Your landscape is so different and so many things I have never heard of. I really enjoyed this post...and the blond and blue scenery.

    When you go walk in the pasture what is your goal? Do you walk in a straight line and back again? Or do you make a big circle? How do you decide when to turn back? Do you time it? Or is there some landmark? These are all things I would be thinking if I were to take off walking there.

    That badger is really interesting. What ears! And claws!

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  2. The third photo from the bottom is breathtaking! I absolutely love it! WE had such mild days before today hit....it's been snowy and windy, a blast of real Old Man Winter. I think by Monday it will be -20C...not bad, but still BRRR after so many lovely days!

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  3. I always love your pictures of your land; I can't get over how flat it is (I'm in Pennsylvania) and how the prairie seems to go on forever. It really is breathtaking.

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  4. Wow, it's so remote! Your badgers look a little different to ours. God's creation is an amazing and diverse thing! xx

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  5. Thank you for taking me on your walk with you! That will undoubtedly be as close as I ever get to a long hike in prairie grass. I LOVE the pic of the fluffy prairie grass with its zigzag path, and the billowy sky. Beautiful! Glad you could enjoy it before the cold sets in :)

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  6. Wouldn't it be fun to be neighbors together to take the pasture walks? Your photos are beautiful. And thanks for the picture of the badger - in my mind I was picturing more of a ground hog or prairie dog!

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  7. Wayside Wanderer,
    You asked some interesting questions about my pasture walks. My goals. Well, the last few days I've walked out there, I did different things. One day I walked straight out to the next fence line and then made a big circle. There is a round stockade way out there that I walked to and also a water tank that I wanted to look at. When I saw the badger, I knew I wanted to walk back to that area and see if I might catch him out and about. I don't usually time myself, but sometimes my tired feet or legs tell me it's time to turn around and go home. There are different ponds and reservoirs that I consider as landmarks and also fence lines. I can see the buildings too so I know where I am. Badgers are very interesting and can be mean too. Usually they will pop into a hole or scamper away when they see humans, but if they are bringing in an antelope or other prey into their hole, watch out!

    On yesterday's walk the goal was to see the badger again, but I didn't. I didn't walk as far as the previous day because I had already walked up to the mailbox. The scenery was very pretty yesterday with that sky!

    Tina, I do think our badgers look much different than those of the UK.

    MK, I think it's funny that you call our prairie grass "fluffly." It looks fluffy from the pics, but it is anything but fluffy. Quite dry and stiff right now.

    Thimbleanna,
    I'm happy to clarify what the badger looks like. He's a big creature and a tough guy of the prairie.

    ~Jody

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  8. Just a lovely walk. I love how big the sky it and how blue. I liked the picture of the badger.
    It must be so nice to live out like that. When you said about following the cow trails, I always loved to follow them through the pastures too.
    Stay warm, next time I would love to stay for coffee. :)

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  9. Oh, how thrilling! I have never really looked at an American badger before. He's VERY pretty! Your walks are fascinating, Jody!
    Yes please. I'd like some coffee!

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  10. Your walking posts always take my breath away! Such different beauty than here. We've had unusually mild weather too. Even though badgers are tough little critters, they do have a cuteness about them don't they?

    Blessings!
    Deborah

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  11. Thank you for taking us on your walk with you. Every landscape has its own unique beauty. Your grass and sky are stunning, and I also love the sunshine coming into the house.

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  12. I love experiencing the cold weather through your blog! It would be nice to have to "warm up" with a cup of coffee at your table :-)

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  13. Good idea to take advantage of the warmth. Ours has left us too. The cold front blew in about 3 days ago and it's COLD!!

    Blessings, Debbie

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  14. lovely walk; thanks for taking us along!

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