Friday, April 5, 2013

This day in Iowa History

The harmonious trill of American toads rises from ponds throughout Iowa.

From The Iowa Nature Calendar by Jean Prior and James Sandrock, illustrated by Claudia McGehee

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Midwest Nature Quote of the Week

The prairie had many faces, and men saw them in different ways. But whatever the prairie’s variables, there were some constants. Big, it was, and overwhelming.

John Madson, Out Home

Monday, April 1, 2013

Excerpt from Esther's Town

Often it was the lot of the boys in a family to herd cattle over largely unfenced prairie lands rich in native grasses, succulent and nutritious. The boys took their cattle our to graze in the morning and returned only at dusk. Sometimes boys would merge their herds and then separate the cattle as they returned to their own yards. When he reminisced many years later, father would still mourn the "hundreds" of jackknives he said he lost while herding cattle on low grasslands across the river from the Lee homestead. But more than the exaggerated number of knives he claimed to have misplaced while whittling sticks as his family's cattle grazed, father lamented new-century devastation to the prairie he has tromped. Diesel shovels and bulldozers made huge, ugly spoilbanks of riverside pastures as they quarried rich glacial gravel deposits for use in surfacing roads and manufacturing concrete. The pits not only yielded salable sand and rock but must have provided a rich harvest of father's jackknives as well.

Esther's Town, by Deemer Lee