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Midwest Skies Like These Should Be Illegal

Sunrise midwest skies should be illegal

Midwest Skies Like These

I usually wouldn’t have thought to grab my camera for my five-mile trip to the post office this week. I’d just finished hauling no less than ten bags of wet cedar mulch from my truck and to the backyard garden areas! But for whatever reason, just before I left, I grabbed my camera gear. And this was what was waiting for me. 

Oh my, it took my breath away, even more than the heavy bags of mulch just moments before. 

It was an absolute feast for the senses: The endless shades of blue in the sky, the fluffy and multi-dimensional white clouds, the brightness of the new spring green, and the whispering, warm winds. 

And then this, with the fence and windmill:

midwest skies like these

Midwest Skies Like These

And if that wasn’t enough to send me swooning, here is more:

beautiful midwest skies like these

This scene reminds me of the days when we would just plop down in the grass and do nothing.

“When you’re a kid, you lay in the grass and watch the clouds going over, and you literally don’t have a thought in your mind. It’s purely meditation, and we lose that.”

~Dick Van Dyke

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5 Fun Places in the Flint Hills

top 10 places to visit in the flint hills

From a National Park to a Friday night jam session, there are plenty of ways to have fun in the Kansas Flint Hills!

  1. One of my favorites is the Friday Night Jam in Cottonwood Falls. This fun evening was hosted for years at the Emma Chase Cafe, 317 N. Broadway before Sue Smith retired and closed her restaurant. These days you can find the fun right down the street at Prairie PastTimes, 220 1/2 Broadway in Cottonwood Falls. You are welcome to bring your instrument (any instrument) and join the jam. Also, you don’t need an instrument if you want to just enjoy the music. This is some good old-fashioned fun.

  1. The Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve is a United States National Preserve located in the Flint Hills region of Kansas, north of Cottonwood Falls. Of the 400,000 square miles of the tallgrass prairie that once covered the North American continent, less than 4% remains, primarily in the Flint Hills. The preserve protects this significant portion of the remaining tallgrass prairie ecosystem. My favorite part about this stunning location is the 40 miles of hiking trails. Bring your camera!

  1. The Flint Hills Scenic Byway (K-177) in central Kansas entertains for 48 miles through the beautiful hills and tallgrass prairie. Council Grove, with some two dozen historic Santa Fe Trail sites, anchors the northern end of the tour. You can find the byway map and more information about the Flint Hills Scenic Byway here. And I’ll just say it again, bring your camera!

  1. Wamego is a small community in northeast Kansas, surrounded by the Flint Hills. For a little place, Wamego packs in a lot of fun attractions! Aside from the drive to Wamego, my favorite aspect is the Oz Winery. At Oz Winery, you can purchase wine, cheese, chocolate–pretty much all a girl needs! It’s one-stop-shopping!

  1. And last but not least, in Manhattan, Kansas, check out the Flint Hills Discovery Center. The Flint Hills Discovery Center has exhibits that explore the culture, history, and ecology of the Flint Hills in Kansas and Oklahoma. The permanent exhibits are arranged in nine topical zones including an interesting theater experience. For a lady who would rather be on a gravel road than in the city, I must say I love the architecture of this beautiful building! And once inside, one of my favorite exhibits is The Winds of the Past. Don’t worry, I hate the wind too, but that’s not what this is about. This one is about the culture and society of the natives who lived on the tallgrass prairie over 10,000 years ago.
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Fences

debra gail photography

Good fences are not only about making good neighbors.

Fences provide purpose to all sorts of things.

For example, a fence can limit access to an area. It can also provide a barrier to animals. Sometimes a fence is just for aesthetic purposes.

Most fences that I come across are barbed wire.

What I love about fences is that for a pretty much dull subject, a fence can provide all sorts of interest to a photograph.

A fence provides a line with seemingly endless depth. And that line can disappear into the snow, the fog, or the prairie. Furthermore, a fence leads us on a path throughout the image.

fence photography


About the images below: most are shot in Kansas, although some are in California and Oregon.

Additionally, there are various perspectives on fences throughout this post. Some have a subject other than the fence itself.




Behind a barbed-wire fence along a gravel road in Marion County, Kansas, a windmill peeks out from behind the tallgrass prairie.

Flinthills, Kansas, barb, barb wire, country, country school, ecosystem, grass, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, school, tall grass prairie
Marion County, Kansas

In Butler County, Kansas, the hedge-post, barbed-wire fencing seems to disappear into the horizon. Our eyes follow the fence deep into the photo and around to the rising sun.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Butler County, Kansas

photography


In this photo, the spring flowers capture the attention. The old fence post and barbed wire provide little more than perhaps scale, although I liked the contrast in the natural versus human-made qualities.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Near Millerton Lake, north of Fresno, California

The metal fence posts in the image below provided interest for me; one is straight and the other is not. The crooked post draws my eye to the warm sun rays above.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Butler County, Kansas

Although the barbed-wire fence below is in the foreground, it is the gently-sloped hills and blue skies that are the focal point in this image. The fence lends some interest and color contrast to the image.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Butler County, Kansas

I love the lines that this simple fencing provides, on both sides of this one-lane gravel road in the hills.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Chase County, Kansas

This metal fence provides a barrier to the almost 300-foot drop at Salt Creek Falls.

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Salt Creek Falls, Willamette National Forest, West of Willamette Pass, Oregon

Although the four trees in the middle ground are interesting, my eyes are drawn to the white-tipped T-posts. Morning Clouds Art Print.

Fences, Flint Hills, Kansas, cowley county, barb, barbed wire, country, ecosystem, grass, great plains, waterfall, grassland, midwest, pasture, prairie, rock wall, tall grass prairie, oregon, california
Cowley County, Kansas

fence photography

This little chipmunk enjoys the warmth radiating from the barrier fence and ledge at Crater Lake.

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Crater Lake National Park, Cascade Mountains, Southern Oregon

And finally, this fence. Wait!! There is no fence!! 😨

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Rim Drive, Crater Lake National Park, Oregon


One of my FAVORITE websites is The National Park Service. Please go check it out and plan a trip to the one closest to you!

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Winter Blues – on the Kansas Prairie

winter blues blue skies kansas prairie landscape photography fine art prints flint hills

winter blues kansas prairie

This post is all about the enchanting blues found throughout the winter prairie!

For all their grandeur, the plains offer sustained beauty throughout all seasons, including winter.

kansas prairie blue skies

Captured in Butler County, Kansas

flint hills winter blues

I love sharing my images of the beautiful scenes, landscapes and nature photography from the Flint Hills of Kansas.

Captured in Butler County, Kansas

kansas prairie

The Tallgrass prairies of the Flint Hills deserve promotion that highlights the vitality, beauty, and preservation.

Once upon a time, the Tallgrass prairie covered 170 million acres of North America. Within about 30 years, most of it was plowed under and developed.

Today less than 4% of the Tallgrass prairie remains, mostly here in the Kansas Flint Hills.

landscape photography fine art prints flint hills chase county kansas
Captured in Butler County, Kansas

kansas flint hills

What is now a sea of grass was at one time a shallow sea of water!

Between 200 and 300 million years ago, the “flint” (a gray and white limestone and steel tough chert), began to form from this Permian Seafloor and with it the famous Flint Hills.

The result was rocky land considered unsuitable for plowing but excellent for pasture. The natural prairie cycle of fires, animal grazing, and prairie weather has sustained the tallgrass prairie and its diverse plant and animal species ever since.

A beautiful National Park in Kansas: Last Stand of the Tallgrass Prairie – Tallgrass Prairie National Park.

The Tallgrass preserve protects a nationally significant remnant of the once vast tallgrass prairie and its cultural resources. Here the tallgrass prairie takes its last stand.