Category Archives: Nebraska

Look! The world is waking up!

April – beautiful month of early Spring and the welcome return of birds and flowers and leaves on trees. Motivation and new energies coming at us from all directions.
www.nebraskahighway2.com is undergoing a complete redesign of the website. We are making the website semantically correct — to aid those with visual disabilities and also making it responsive. Those visiting and traveling the highway and exploring the communities are relying on their smart phones and tablets for information on events and ammenities. Will they find you?
We are also updating the Farmer’s Markets page so the information is accurate and up to date. In anticipation of the thousands of visitors that Nebraska will play host to this August alone for the total solar eclipse and that huge economic stimulator we want your business to be found.  The total solar eclipse alone will bring hundreds if not thousands of dollars into our communities and our businesses need to make the very most of it!
We are working towards the date of June 1st for our total renovation to be up and live including the webpages for the bannercommunities of Broken Bow and Lincoln! A big order but well worth the investment. Speaking of investments, will your business be found on the internet by visitors this summer? Place an ad on www.nebraskahighway2.com and reap the rewards of having an ad accessible 24 hours everyday by anyone in the world!

SUMMER DAYS in FEBRUARY! WHAT?

sandhills along Nebraska Highway 2
sandhills along Nebraska Highway 2

The weather in Nebraska is always varied. The saying “if you don’t like the weather just a wait a few days” is well known around our State. This week – In FEBRUARY – we are enjoying warm, sunny 70 degree temperatures. And in two days we will have a winter storm watch bringing a possible foot of snow for the northern and western sections of our State. What? Yes, say the weather predictors. Oh, okay.
I have been attending the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference in beautiful Broken Bow, Nebraska this week. Yesterday, we traveled a few miles out of Broken Bow into the Sandhills and visited the Kinkaiders Brewery. What a lovely day it was. The business owners shared their stories of how they came to start their business, the support from the community they received and their hopes for the future of their business. We then broke into groups and toured the buildings and the taproom and enjoyed a cool beverage outside on the deck.
Supper was deliciously provided by Kinkaider’s restaurant chef, MIchelle Paris, a longtime chef from Portland, Oregon.
The first day of the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference was full of information, lots of laughs, great food and drink and the opportunity to meet many new and familiar faces from around our State. Looking forward to today’s full schedule!

Leaving It All Behind

There was a time when I was an absolute news junky.  Read newspapers, listened to morning and evening news shows… no longer.  Now I want to shut out the nonsense, the ugliness, the tradgedies happening here at home and abroad.  The best way to do this?  Get out there on the highway and drive.  My favorite drive is on Nebraska highway 2 of course.  Westward bound.  Up to Halsey National Forest.  On to Mullen.  Maybe out to Crawford and the beauty of the Pine Ridge area of Northwest Nebraska.  Open spaces.  Big skies.  The feeling that you can go forever into solitude and nature.  And escape the noise of the civilized world that’s not so civil these days.  How about you?  Where is your favorite drive?

Its May– New greens — New Hopes

It seems looking back that Nebraska highway 2 has been my mother… she raised me… sent me soaring to the faraway horizons…

We grew up not far from the farmer immigrant germans who settled near the mighty Missouri river where the roads rolled up and down over hill after hill. Our lives were in the city but our center was a small town in southeast Nebraska and we traveled that highway 2 almost every weekend.  We were going “downhome” as my father said.  Downhome was a small farm on the outskirts of a small town.  We could walk into town as we grew old enough.  Grampa was the town barber and for a few years he and Gramma owned and operated the town hatchery and the town Variety store.  We also rode our bikes back and forth from the farm to town when we were permitted.  There were no worries about child kidnappings or busy roads.  We enjoyed a freedom children today have no idea of.  Even the city life we lived was one without fear.  Playing outside after dark, taking the bus downtown alone, walking or riding our bicycles anywhere in the neighborhood.  Now, we keep a close eye on our children at all times, accompanying them on their neighborhood journeys, having them check in consistently, it is a different world then what we grew up in.

Family vacation times are important for ourselves and our children.  Exploring our home state or traveling to places farther away, experiencing new horizons and meeting the great people living in the small communities is so important in developing a sense of place for our families.  The world is out there to be explored and for memories to be made to take back home and relived.

Each of the communities along Nebraska Highway 2 are planning events for you to share in.  Visit the community pages on www.nebraskahighway2.com to help you plan your travels along the highway and make some memories!

Living the country life!

Things have changed.  That seems an obvious statement but really, things have changed.  In the past it was expected that once the farmer’s child graduated from high school they went on to college or university and settled in a large town or city to make their way.  Few returned to the farm or small town where they were raised.  There weren’t enough opportunities to make a living for themselves and their young families.  But now!  There are so many opportunities to work from home via the internet and  to live in rural areas and on farms or ranches.  And where there are young families there are  opportunities for other businesses to grow and thrive to meet the needs and wants of these young families.  Have you considered moving to a small community.  A peaceful, clean, community focused home town?  And just why not?nh2

Beautiful October

The summer has whispered good-bye and brilliant golden October is upon us.  I hope you took the opportunity to travel our place in the world, so much to see and so many people to meet here in Nebraska.

The weekend of October 16th through the 18th will be the annual Sandhills Journey Byway “Follow the Rails Art Trail”.  Visit the website at http://followtherailsarttrail.com.  Meet artists and the communities that support them.  The weather looks promising and will be a work of art itself.

 

Tulips and Easter eggs

nh2Glad the hot weather did not stick around very long. Much much too early for that kind of heat. Now this feels like Spring, 40 degrees and sunny skies. The tulips are up and here and there are a few purple hyacinths. Spring is lovely when its cool and the blooms open up. The flowering trees with their cotton ball white flowers and those with their bright yellow blooms are everywhere in this neighborhood.
Since January I have been taking yet another class from the local community college. As a liberal arts university student I have found that I was lacking in business education even though I have worked in a law office for 25 years. My paralegal education touched on businesses but mostly business law.  There is not much marketing in a law office business as it mostly word of mouth and the bookkeeping I did relied on the software packages on the computer. Delving into an entrepreneurship class has opened my eyes to many aspects of running a business and acquiring customers and keeping those customers happy and provided for.  The small town communities need thriving businesses in order to survive and tourist dollars will add to improving economics in small town communities.  Due to the internet, many young people are returning to their small town roots to live and raise their families.  But they still need amenities close to home and businesses need to grow.  Please support small businesses.  They support many wonderful people, things and places.

Today, the Spring road is beckoning again and as everything is greening up it seems a great time to get out and explore Nebraskahighway2 and meet people in the communities and make some new friends! Happy Oestre and welcome Spring!

Lunch with the Governor

I attended the Tenth Annual Nebraska Agri/Tourism workshop in Kearney, Nebraska on February 24, 2015.  First I have to say the drive from Grand Island to Kearney was spectacular with the thousands of geese and cranes rising from the Platte River and exercising in the warmth of the rising sun. The sky river of birds extended for miles and miles.
Our  morning workshop was with business growth specialist and author, Joe Calhoon.  Joe was fantastic and highly motivating!   He reinforced my belief that business is about people and meeting their needs. Not just your business’ customers/clients but the employees of your business as well.  A book, “On the Same Page” was provided and I came away with many pages of notes and ideas I wrote while listening to Joe Calhoon speak.
I shared my table with two hospitality and culinary students from Central Community College in Hastings, and Garry Clark, the executive director of Cuming County Economic Development in West Point, Nebraska and Betty Sayers of Nebraska Rural Living and the Chicken Dance Trail based in Holdrege, Nebraska.

There were representatives from the Nebraska Economic Development Commission, the Nebraska Tourism Commission and many agri/tourism business owners from around the State of Nebraska. The agri/tourism businesses included a lavendar farm, a nature retreat, a bird watching farm, several wineries, bed and breakfasts, breweries and more.

We had a working lunch listening to speakers including Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts.  Governor Ricketts emphasized “Growing Nebraska” by cutting taxes to encourage new business growth and an emphasis on education. I was most impressed by our Governor with what he did after he finished speaking and returned to his place on the podium. The following speaker was from the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission and a few minutes into her presentation she began to struggle to clear her throat. The Governor discreetly asked for a glass of water and took it over to her. Returning to his seat he looked out at the audience and commented, “I am a full service Governor” much to our delight!  It was a thoughtful, caring thing for him to do.

Joe Calhoon returned as the keynote speaker and spoke to us about how to “Build a remarkable business and live an extraordinary life”. He reminded us of how lucky we are to live in this time and this place and to have the opportunities we have to make the world a better place for ourselves and for others.

Four different sessions were held in the afternoon with different focus and concerns including safety, financial opportunities for your business, farm transitions and how a “little” farm business can become world known.

It was good workshop and I thank the Nebraska Tourism Commission for putting it all together.

Nebraska is a wonderous place in the world to live.

January 2015

The new beginnings of the year 2015 resonate with positive feelings and great hope of what is to come.  No resolutions this year only a more enlightened way of thinking and dreaming of traveling the roads of Nebraska.  When the roads are clear and free of ice.   I am thinking a lot about the weather and those travelers on the roads that will be controlled by it. I hope everyone checks the different weather forecast sources and looks ahead to their travel ways and how it will intersect with wintery mother nature.

We had our own encounter with wintery mother nature last weekend when what usually is an hour and 1/2 drive turned into an overnight stay only 40 miles from our home. I did not check the weather forecast, only the darkening skies, and we headed out into the dry late afternoon. Soon there were little drops of moisture on the windshield and the drivers on the opposite side of the interstate were creeping along at a very slow pace. Soon an suv pulled up on our left to pass and then —- zing!!! across the road right in front of us and off to our right he or she slid……. made me think of the Wizard of Oz and the house inside the tornado and different creatures flitting by. Then a second vehicle… only this one spun around and was facing us and then … zing… off the side of the road he (or she) went. Thankfully the cooler headed driver was at the wheel and we were able to creep to the next off-ramp which happened to be a town with motels and such. We crept crept crept off the road and slid against the curbs like a pong game. I YELPED and found a motel directly across the road from where we were and yes they did take dogs… We were landed for the night.

Days running like water

It’s harder than you would think to make writing in this blog a daily habit. Always so many things that require your hands. Writing, knitting, washing dishes, petting animals, introducing yourself and shaking hands, caressing your loved one’s face, typing on the computer, even walking the dog requires your hands. So you make a decision as to where your hands will be used and for how long. Some actions take a set amount of time. Others could go on indefinitely. Like writing. The danger of free form writing is that it may roll on long after anything of worth has been said. Should you edit free form writing? Doesn’t that take out the “free form” of it?

The days keep rolling by like running waters. Some I have participated in fully, other days I just put in an appearance and observe the world around me. Many happenings in other places get my attention — the protests taking place not only by groups in the streets but by professionals who are front and center in the media, making a statement of solidarity with the protesters in the streets.

And still the days roll by. The stress of the holidays becomes more tangible but stopping to remember holidays of the past and the joys and love that were shared mellows out the feelings of stress and panic that are just below the surface. And in addition to wanting the holidays to be joyous for our loved ones, this year we have the added event of our daughter graduating from the university here in Nebraska. That in itself is great cause for celebration. Because you see, our daughter never does things the easy, average way. She is also raising three children, now alone, and is going through the pain and drama of a failed marriage and being abandoned by her husband the children’s father. But, there is icing on this cake, she has a job waiting for her which she will start the Monday after graduation ceremonies. So there is much to celebrate as these days roll by like running waters. Much.