Friday, February 18, 2005


Brown Headed Cowbird Chip Pic
Posted by Hello

Cowbirds

I will admit--I am prejudice-- about birds. I especially do not like the Brown Headed Cowbird.

This bird is showing an alarming growth in the United States. The reason it is alarming is that it is a parasite bird. It lays its eggs in a nest of another species and lets that female raise her young. Somehow it times this process so that her eggs hatch a day or two before the host bird. These chicks then are more mature and able to get more of the food the host female makes available. Then the host chicks usually die.


There are many of these birds in Kansas at least there are many around where we live. I do not know statistics as to whether they have affected our song birds. At any rate, they are definitely not my favorite bird.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Smoky Hill Trail

Several weeks ago I wrote about the Republican river valley and the Milford Lake. While I still have that information out of my file, I wanted to write a little about the Smoky Hill River.

As I said, Dan and I grew up between these two rivers. As children, we did not realize the history surrounding the rivers. The Smoky Hill River runs from the west to east, ending at Junction City where it joins the Republican River to form the Kansas River.

With the discovery of gold near Pikes Peak in 1859, a shorter route to Colorado was established following the Smoky Hill River and called the Smoky Hill Trail. The Trail, surveyed in 1858, was considered the most dangerous crossing of Western Kansas because of repeated conflicts with the “hostiles.” When David A Butterfield established the Butterfield Overland Despatch, in 1865, Indian raids were common with many of the stations destroyed and men killed. A very interesting account of one raid is found in the Raynesford Papers. The BOD only ran two years, with the Union Pacific Railway following almost the same route in 1867. However, once long wagon trains that previously formed at Council Grove to follow the Santa Fe Trail now formed at Junction City to follow the Smoky Hill Trail. It should be noted that familiar names of the day were present to protect travelers, such as General Custer, Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp, and Buffalo Bill Cody.

Dan grew up less than a mile from the river and about six miles from Junction City. His Dad spoke of ruts through one of his pastures. The first stop on the route was at a spring that still flows near his home. Last year we received permission to visit the area and the picture I posted was taken of the Smoky Hill River. Years ago, Dan showed me a little head stone near a fence row in their pasture. We have since not been able to find it. However, we thought it might have been a victim of the Trail.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Soup Supper

Last night the SHARE group came to my house for soup and our yearly planning session. This is one of my favorite all-vegetable recipes. It is particularly good in the summer when fresh veggies are readily available, but Dan was able to find everything in the produce isle. I served the soup with hot bread from the bread machine & real butter (give me a break--the soup is low fat)

TOMATO MINESTRA

1 Tbs. olive or canola oil
1 lg. onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. each dried basil & oregano
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 can (17 oz.) stewed tomatoes
1 can (14 oz.) reduced-sodium beef broth
2 beef broth cans of water
2 celery ribs,chopped
2 carrots, pared & chopped
2 small zucchini, sliced
1 small yellow squash, sliced
1 can (15-19 oz) chick peas, drained
2 cups chopped escarole or spinach
1 cup uncooked small bowtie pasta
grated Parmesan cheese

In lg pot, combine oil, onion, garlic, basil, oregano, & pepper. Cook until onion is soft, stirring occasionally. Stir in Tomatoes, water, broth, celery, carrots, zucchini & squash. Bring to boil, reduce heat & simmer 30 minutes. Add chick peas, spinach & pasta; cook about 20 minutes until pasta is tender. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired. 8 servings (4 if you eat like we do)

Note: Last night I was in a hurry so I added everything & cooked until pasta was done- the carrots were a little crunchy, but it was OK.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Sunday, February 13, 2005

By and large, mothers and housewives are the only workers who do not have regular time off. They are the great vacationless class.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

My daughter, who is a mother and housewife, and her husband took a mini vacation to celebrate Valentines Day weekend in Chicago. This is the first time we have kept grandchildren for any length of time. Here are some observations on our weekend.

I thought I worked hard at my job, but I have definitely forgotten how much work it is to keep up with two active preschool boys. I am going back to work to rest up.

No wonder I weighed about 15 pounds more when I was home with our two children. I feel like I’ve eaten all weekend. There is no way a half a Kudo bar or pop tart is thrown away, same for the half peanut butter sandwich. Then there is popcorn, chocolate milk, and those crazy delicious Skittles.

There is no chatting over coffee in the morning. It’s up and at it.

If you volunteer to watch grandchildren for a weekend, it is easier if it doesn’t rain the entire time.

I can’t remember how to keep the clothes from getting dirty 10 minutes after they are changed. I went through the entire wardrobe in one day.

The bigger the mess the better—they loved the Paper Mache.

It seems so many of the television shows are loud—I mean crazy loud. My favorite is “Big Red Dog” I don’t think that’s the name, but anyone with kids knows.

Children never get tired of games.

Children never get tired.

Are children just smarter and better looking now days? All of our grandchildren are brilliant and beautiful!