Saturday, June 07, 2008

Short grass prairie

Have you ever been to the short grass prarie country of southwestern Kansas and the Panhandle of Oklahoma? Clear, unbroken blue overhead and grass, sage and soon-to-be tumbleweeds crunch underfoot. Can you imagine the buffalo in a pasture like this?



The would have to avoid these brushy red cedar saplings and spiny yucca clusters to get at the best tufts of blue gamma and wirey buffalo grasses.



The prairie is very large and very dry, but not without color.



Here is a prickly poppy.



We better not get any closer to the critter who lives in the lacework of tunnels under this patch of prickly poppy.



That buzzing sound is this baby western diamondback rattlesnake's way of saying "No visitors please." (The image isn't very good because I took this photo with my cell phone camera and I didn't want to get too close or agitate the animal during the hottest and most stressful part of the day.)

Here is a wild sunflower. Most states classify this flower as a noxious weed. On the other hand, it is the state flower of Kansas. I've always wondered why.



Don't step on this bull thistle.



Here is the most commercially important grass that grows on the Great Plains, hard red Russian winter wheat. Harvest is another three or four weeks away depending on the field.



You can see how dry the plains are. Please support efforts to care for and responsibly use these lands. Thanks.

10 comments:

Maria said...

This looks very similar to to my prairie....

Except we have had so much rain this spring that even the drylands look green.

david mcmahon said...

I've never seen a bull thistle before!

Cecile said...

This was very nice, Skeeter. Thanks for visiting the Onion and commenting on my Red Sky. I thought it was such a nice way to start my day. Hope you haveing a great weekend.

Leah said...

This is such a great post--especially for me, a huge Laura Ingalls Wilder fan. I especially love the books in which they travel and settle in the Kansas prairies...

Suzanne said...

Cece spelled having wrong. Think I should tell her?

Hi baby. What a great post. I love native flora and fauna, so this mattered. I'm almost to the point where I think I shouldn't touch a thing. Just let life happen. What do you think? A worthy goal?

Love you,
Me

bindhiya said...

Dear Skeeter,
Beautiful pictures!!!
Thanks for sharing..this beauty with us..
love and ((hugs))
bindi

CIELO said...

Nay, never been to the short grass prarie country of southwestern Kansas, or the Panhandle of Oklahoma, but they certainly look a lot like our High Desert Country, here where I live...

Cheers!

cielo

Robyn said...

HELLO! friend! It has been a while. Great post, didn't really see the snake but that's ok, they creep me out...way OUT! Come by and visit and see a great blog I discovered!
Hugs,
Robyn

Eva said...

Skeeter, that was such a beautiful tribute to the prairie! I felt like I just went for a little visit over there! Thank you for that post.

Lavinia Ladyslipper said...

Short Grass Prairie: sounds like the title of a lovely poem. Thank you for these lovely pics of the unusual botanical wonders of the prairie...