Post 698: Happy 148th Birthday, Nebraska! (You don’t look a day over 100!)

I’m a native-born Cornhusker. So are Andy and Dougy. Naturally, on this 148th birthday of our favorite state, we have to whoop it up a little and be thankful no bison herds numbering in the 10s of millions trample through our backyard. Of course, all of that organic, um, “poop” (to use the technical term) would make a great soil amendment for our garden!

Western Hemisphere's largest stabilized sandbox, kitties' delight!

Nebraska Sandhills: Western Hemisphere’s largest stabilized sandbox, kitties’ delight!

The Nebraska Sandhills area is my favorite part of Nebraska, though the Pine Ridge area is pretty fascinating, too!

24 thoughts on “Post 698: Happy 148th Birthday, Nebraska! (You don’t look a day over 100!)

    • Well, there is that one tree between Fargo and Wichita Falls, Texas…! (Actually, Nebraska is well-known for Arbor Day and tree planting, and there are more trees in the state now than 148 years ago,)

  1. My Little Mom is a Cornhusker, too!!! I just overheard her talking today about a family vacation she took to Ft. Robinson when she was a kid. Fun to see this!

    • Ft. Robinson is lots of fun! You can rent barracks during the season or stay at the lodge. The barracks are a bit rustic, but maybe seven people can stay in them at a time. Families oftentimes rent them for reunions or a summer vacation on the Pine Ridge. (Chadron State Park, Nebraska’s first, is just down the road a few miles, and it makes a nice day trip, too.) What is nice about Ft. Robinson is it’s centrally located, making it ideal for a home base to see other regional attractions in Nebraska and the adjoining states, all within a hour or so of the fort; it’s set in one of the prettier parts of Nebraska (the Pine Ridge); it is an historic frontier fort, not the stockaded kind of Hollywood films, but one set in a region with sandstone bluffs; one can hike, horseback ride, and do other activities on the grounds; there is a theatre where melodramas are performed each summer; a couple of museums relating to the geology, paleontology and history of the area; and more. The only bad thing is it’s so popular, that you have to make reservations to stay at the inn or barracks the year before practically.

      • I fear it was indeed I-80. I was in transit each time. I do have a beautiful pair of earrings that my father bought me on one of those trips…in 1969. Turquoise. I was most impressed by all of the corn fields.

        • Yeah, I think Nebraska is second to Iowa in corn production, and most of that is irrigated with Plate River water. Out here, irrigation is done mostly with wells, drawing on (and drawing down…) the Ogallala Aquifer. On old maps of my town, you’ll see a Bronco Lake on the western edge of town. Irrigation by wells drew the water table down so far the lake disappeared, dried up. A lot of the lakes you see in this state are where the water table is higher than the level of the ground. In wet meadows, you might be a bit disconcerted (or amused!) by the way the ground sinks and rebounds where you step. Cutting hay in those meadows is problematic, however, and though the grass is lush and tempting, it is easy to sink a tractor into the muck by getting too far into the wet meadow: Greed is rewarded with a day of pulling out a tractor, hoping not to sink whatever you are using to unstick it, too. If you’d travelled down Nebraska Highway 2 instead, you would have seen endless grass and cattle in undulating sand hills. (Namely, what you see in the photo above!)

    • Ted Turner bought up lots of ranches in the Sandhills for this purpose, too. They can be found at Ft. Robinson State Park (Northwest Nebraska, west of Crawford) and the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge, taking advantage of the great range in the Sandhills which historically supported large herds of bison. I’m suyre there are other places where they are raised on a small scale in Nebraska as well. Custer STate Park in South DAkota is a great place to see bison. (North Central Nebraska) (I checked out the Rainshadow El Rancho”…sounds like a grower one would want to support!)

  2. Happy Birthday Nebraska- you sure are young compared to Massachusetts, my town is 100 years older than you 🙂 Please visit us for a cat in the hat themed giveaway.

    • Well before statehood, this was a region for fur trapping. There are lots of French surnames among the local Lakota! The first white intrusion dates back to Lewis and Clarke’s expedition

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