I can hear you!

Early spring in the central Platte river valley brings birds, hundreds of thousands of birds.  Coming to see this mass abundance of birds are visitors from all around the world.  The big draw are the Sandhill Cranes and the Whooping Cranes.  The Sandhill Cranes are usually more easily found than their taller, white brothers, the Whoopers.

This early Spring weekend Murphy, my nebraskahighway2.com traveling companion, and I set out to watch the spectacle of the cranes leaving the river to move out to the cornfields to eat.

To make things more interesting, it was the weekend that time SPRINGS forward.  Time doesn’t actually change but our clocks do. Or should.  Do I set the clock forward before going to bed or after I get up in the morning.  Would thisclock change interfere with my sleeping pattern over the night?  I opted to leave the clock alone and determined when I wanted to be at the river according to when the sun would rise and the cranes would begin to move.  I chose to ignore the clock/time thing and move according to the sun.

Sunday mornings are usually quiet and few if any others are on the roads at sunrise.  This was true in town but once we arrived at the river park with its viewing bridge we found a small population with cameras, binoculars and cups of hot coffee.  Being as there were too many vehicles to park close to the river we found a parking place further away from the river but the birds flying overhead had no concerns about parking places.  In the early morning dim light the noise was almost deafening of honking geese and chortling cranes.  The waning full moon lit up the western sky and illuminated groups of birds flying across it.

We traveled out to surrounding fields only to find them empty of corn and cranes.  The rising sun warmed up the sky and clouds into pinks and golds.  And overhead the birds were waking up.IMG_0014

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.

Cold days are for shiverrrring and remembering warm days…

My travels along Nebraska Highway 2 on October 18th was the perfect October drive.  I followed the Rails Art Trails from Grand Island to Thedford.  The first stop at the Buffalo County lake just east of Ravenna was art of a most natural kind… watched the reflection of the cottonwood trees while Murphy the dog romped and smelled the smells. On our way we passed a lovely doe standing in a small protected field who stopped grazing to watch us pass by.  Another of those picture times that by the time you stopped and focused the object of your photo would be long gone.

My next stop was at the Sinclair station on Nebraska Highway 2 in Dunning, Nebraska.  A Sandhills Journey sign swings outside and a promise of pottery work awaited inside.  Once inside the station, there it was… shelves of pottery pieces – bowls, plates, match stick holders – made locally by Sandhills Pottery.  Of course a couple of the pieces were purchased.  I had a nice conversation with Michael, a scooter tramp whose gleaming harley sat outside.  One of his two, he shared, and his travels on two wheels had taken him to all lower 48 states and through 4 Canadian provinces.

After bidding Michael and Dunning, Nebraska good-bye, I passed by Smokey the Bear advising that the fire danger was moderate in the nearby Halsey Forest and we headed on to Thedford, Nebraska to experience what art work was being showcased there and learn something about this sandhills town.

 

sunday afternoons are not always for napping

Watching the skies turning grey again and I am fighting the urge to go take a nice Sunday afternoon nap.  It after 12:00 so its legal, right?  but I have this list — well in my head anyway– of things I wanted to accomplish this weekend and now its Sunday afternoon — already.  I did get the Mason City page up on www.nebraskahighway2.com yesterday.  Only two businesses listed on the site but seeings how Mason City does not have a motel, restaurant or even a bar anymore, it is great that there are at least two businesses that travelers would be interested in stopping to see.  I learned a bit about Mason City’s history.  It was quite a busy little town for some years.  The high school closed in 1966 so one can only imagine the demise that would follow.  However, the town is nice.  The community center on Main street appears to be thriving and up the hill is “The French Table”, an eclectic art collector’s dream.  Right off of the Nebraska 2 highway is “Cooper’s Corner”, for hunting and gun enthusiasts.

Next weekend is the “Follow the Rails Art Trail” which runs from Grand Island along nebraskahighway2 to Alliance.  A wonderful opportunity to get out on the highway and explore what these welcoming Nebraska communities have to offer to YOU!