HPPR Environment

Awareness:
geography
geology
hydrology (water, aquifers, rivers)
flora
fauna (wildlife)
climate
weather
ecosystems
climate change

Management & conservation
water conservation
soil conservation
wildlife protection
policies & regulations

Luke Clayton

As a young boy growing up in northeast Texas, I would read the outdoor magazines and dream of one day fishing in the remote, pristine waters of Canada. There was something about this wild country that has always drawn me like a magnet. The cry of the loon on a still evening while casting for pike, walleye and lake trout in waters where the fish have never seen a hook or,  enjoying a noon meal of very fresh fried walleye or pike cooked over a campfire on an island surrounded by pristine water is something every angler should experience.

Our Turn At This Earth: Dream Women

Jun 28, 2018
Public Domain

In the dream, a little girl stands beside a row of women. The women are dressed demurely in dark dresses such as the ones my mother’s mother wore—navy blue with tiny polka dots or dark green bordering on black. They sit erect in straight-backed chairs, their hands folded in their laps. The girl moves from one woman to the next, asking, “Do you have any magic?” Each, in turn, smiles indulgently at the girl. “Oh my! Why no, dear.”

How might have Native Americans and early settlers washed up after a day in the Dust Bowl, in an age before shower gels and laundry detergent pods? The answer probably won’t surprise you, as the aptly-named native tree is the subject of today’s Growing on the High Plains.

Luke Clayton

Regular readers might remember an article I wrote about hunting eastern turkey up in Oklahoma at the vast 45,000 acres “Choctaw Hunting Lodge, located less than an hour west of Hugo, OK.  This past week, I made my second trip to this outdoor wonderland, this time with several great friends including Larry Weishuhn, aka “Mr. Whitetail”.

From Texas Standard:

Most discussions about how to solve climate change involve limiting greenhouse gas emissions. But what if there was another way? A new study co-published by a team of researchers at Harvard and a Canadian company called Carbon Engineering says there is one.

Our Turn At This Earth: Finding The Right Words

Jun 21, 2018
Creative Commons CC0

It’s happened many times. There I’ll be driving innocently down a western Kansas road, and a stretch of buffalo grass will reach out and grab me, almost pulling me into the ditch. Often, I’ve had to stop the car and get out, as I did one February afternoon a few years ago.

From grapefruit to Cadillacs, everything looks prettier in pink! And flower gardens are no exception. So what’s the preferred puce-petaled posy for High Plains planters?

On today’s Growing on the High Plains, we’re delving into the “pinks,” the quintessential cottage flower also known as Dianthus. From their humble origins in English gardens to the palette of 300+ species that exist today, the prolific Pinks have been providing a playful pop to garden perimeters for centuries.

A legislative audit released Tuesday concluded that while wildfires in Kansas are becoming more frequent, a lack of resources and coordination are hampering the state’s ability to fight them.

Firefighting duties and resources are spread across three separate agencies, which auditors said is complicating wildfire response and communication between state and local officials.

Each spring, ranchers across the Eastern Plains look at their land and ask an important question: How much green can they expect this season?

In this case, “green” refers not to money, but grass. And the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently launched a new tool to help cattlemen predict just how much they can look forward to.

Luke Clayton

Lake Fork- Round up a foursome of still very active old guys, all a few months away from their 68th birthday and chances are pretty good they have some “stories”. After all, there is just under 300 combined years of living amongst this group, plenty of time to amass untold life experiences, many of which are just down right funny!

Our Turn At This Earth: Nature Fix

Jun 14, 2018

Back in my late 20s, after my marriage had ended, I just couldn’t stand being in the city. I fled to the Mojave Desert every chance I got, because in the wilderness, with no people for miles upon miles, I felt less alone. That sounded crazy whenever I said it out loud, so I seldom did.

Last week we set the roots of our two-part tale of the mighty onion, peeling back the odorous history, health benefits, and cultural significance across the globe. On today’s installment of Growing on the High Plains, let’s bring it back home—to our own back yards! We’ll discuss the many layers of growing and harvesting from your onion patch.

US Fish and Wildlife

A fire in northwestern Oklahoma has consumed over 4,000 acres, with the damage stretching into northeastern New Mexico.

As KFOR reports, fire crews struggled to contain the so-called Porter Fire, which began in Cimarron County. The fire was attributed, like most of the recent fires on the High Plains, to “high temperatures and low-relative humidity.”

Our Turn At This Earth: Taking Notice

Jun 11, 2018

Today, rather than share my observations of the High Plains, I devised an exercise to encourage you to explore yours. I hope you enjoy it and that it brings you some insight into your relationship with the land. You can do this in your head, but it will be more informative if you do it with your feet, nose, hands, eyes, ears, and, if you’re particularly adventurous, maybe even your tongue.

Drive to a place where intact (not over-grazed) pastureland borders bare farmed ground or a planted field. Stand at the fence facing into the pasture, or if you’re comfortable doing this, crawl through the fence, walk a ways and sit down. Whether it is hot or cold out, windy or calm, smell the air and experience the feel of it on your skin and in your lungs. Take deep breaths. What do you smell?

Luke Clayton

Options, that’s what this week’s column is all about. We fishermen have several options when it comes to wetting a line for sport or, in many cases, a fresh fish dinner! We can own our boat which comes with some “built in” costs in the form of initial cost, fuel, registration, etc. etc. Or, we can hire the services of a fishing guide to enjoy a day on the water at our favorite lake. A few lucky anglers either own or have access to property with a fishing pond. We can fish public reservoirs “from the bank”.

Marjorie Kamys Cotera / The Texas Tribune

Water restrictions in New Mexico have created a supply crunch for the fracking industry, so more free-flowing Texas water is helping to fill the void. But not without controversy: A top New Mexico politician says Texans are pumping his state's water and piping it across the state line for oil drillers.

From The Texas Tribune:

There's nothing quite as distinctive as the familiar spice and tang of a cut onion. Whether you've pulled them wild from the yard or someone's slicing a shallot, leek or chive for an aromatic meal. 

Today on Growing on the High Plains, we'll take a bite out of the many layers of biology and history that make up the common onion. You'll laugh. You'll cry. And you'll do it all again next week in part two! 

 

There’s a new strategy when it comes to combating the smells and air quality concerns that arise from large-scale animal feeding operations: Blame the company, not the farmer.

And if a recent federal case against the largest pork producer in the U.S. is any indication, it’s a model that could benefit contract growers — people who don’t own the livestock they raise but own the property and the barns.

From Texas Standard.

Wild boars, feral swine – many call them feral hogs. But as lots of Texans know, they’re the source of much angst and misery. Feral hogs cause property loss of more than $1.5 billion nationwide, about a quarter of which is in Texas. And that may be a conservative estimate. Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is stepping in with what it hopes is a solution.

Colorado farmer Steve Kelly brushes aside a small mound of dry yellow dirt to reveal a sugar beet seed that’s no larger than a peppercorn. It seems insignificant, but the seed is different from what he planted more than 20 years ago.

“The quality of the beet wasn’t as good and yield and everything that way wasn’t as good either,” he said.  

Now all but 5 percent of sugar beet seeds in the U.S. are genetically modified, or GMO.

Luke Clayton

A hunt this past week with some great friends fortified my belief that the great outdoors is the perfect place for like-minded folks to bond friendships that last a lifetime. I first met Jeff Rice and his lovely wife Demi a couple years ago at, of all things, the Wild Hog Festival in Ben Wheeler Texas. I was there with my book, Kill to Grill, the Ultimate Guide to Hunting and Cooking Wild Hogs and serving as one of the judges of the wild hog cooking contest. Jeff and Demi stopped by my booth and an instant friendship was formed.

Kansans Can Fish Without A License This Weekend

May 31, 2018
CC0 Creative Commons

If you want to go fishing in Kansas but don’t have a license, this weekend is a great time to go.

Each year the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism designates a weekend allowing people to fish without a license. "Free Fishing Days" allows those with fishing poles the opportunity to fish for crappie, catfish, largemouth bass and bluegill at state lakes and rivers.

The Environmental Protection Agency is getting heat from farm country, where pro-ethanol groups filed suit against the federal agency Tuesday over renewable fuel exemptions, calling it “abuses of … authority.”

Two of the nation’s most influential players in agriculture policy, at a meeting in the heart of the country’s Grain Belt on Wednesday, tried to ease worries about the pending farm bill and a budding trade war with China.

New research shows that Kansas is slowly seeing a shift in when it gets its rainfall during the year.

Depending on the region, Kansas typically receives between 35 percent and 41 percent of its annual precipitation during the summer months of June, July and August. But during the past 100 years, that trend is slowly shifting toward the spring.

Kansas Highway Patrol

After receiving nearly 10 inches of rainfall Monday evening, parts of northwest Kansas experienced heavy flooding that damaged roads and caused a highway closure.

Flooding occurred along the Saline river, which rose four-and-a-half feet above its previous record height. The floods washed out smaller roads and temporarily closed Highway 283 north of Wakeeney.

Southwest Kansas received around one to two inches of rainfall. Larry Ruthi, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said that while these rains will help alleviate the drought, most parts of Kansas are still facing a rainfall deficit.

Tony Fischer Photography / Flickr Creative Commons

A couple of weeks ago, HPPR reported on a herd of buffalo the state of Oklahoma had put up for auction.

The herd, consisting of around 60 head of bison, was located at Foss State Park, near Elk City, about 90 miles west of Oklahoma City. The animals were being auctioned on the state of Oklahoma’s surplus auction site.

Luke Clayton

Luke's guest on today's show is Larry Weishuhn, aka. Mr. Whitetail.

Larry is host of Dallas Safari Club's TV show, "Trailing the Hunter's Moon" and a long-time authority on whitetail deer.

In today's show, Larry and Luke talk about whitetail fawn survival and the importance of leaving what appear to be abandoned fawns alone.

Our Turn At This Earth: The Exploratory Impulse

May 24, 2018
Pexels

At age 12, my older brother Bruce knew more about the native plants in our pasture and the birds in our windbreak than I would learn by the time I was 30. I brought his wrath down on my head once for placing stamps of cardinals and woodpeckers, muskrats and badgers—crookedly, poorly torn, and in the wrong spaces—in his Junior Audubon Society booklet. But for the most part, I didn’t share my brother’s drive to understand the natural world.

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