Friday, April 29, 2011

Flint Hills Burning

Each April, if you head west on I-70 towards Manhattan or Southbound 35 at night, you'll notice a warm glow coming from the hills around you.

This was always something that fascinated me as I'd drive back to school from a weekend at home. I never really understood what was going on but I knew I was intrigued and knew I was bound to learn more.

This was my first year doing the burn in the Hills, start to finish. We have around 4,000 acres in the beautiful flint hills where our Black Hereford Girls and their new babies summer along with our commercial herd. One of our favorite times of the year is finally getting all our cattle out on this lush and nutritious native grass. The nutrients and endless acres will help our babies grow big and strong and help the cows prepare for another year of being pregnant ( our girls are troopers!)

But I digress... back to burning. There is something very surreal about holding a book of matches in a 1,000 acre pasture and having your father in law telling you to light and drop. I was a little hesitant at first but after much reassurance that the back burning was complete, it was totally safe, and I wouldn't get yelled at for setting a pasture on fire, my hesitation quickly disappeared and I was a pyromaniac with a free pass!!


Hoag(my husband) and I went to the farthest back corner of our pasture to fire away. Now, let me tell you a secret: when the wind is blowing 50 MPH straight towards your only exit out of the burning pasture of doom... that is NOT the best time to try to take pretty pasture burning pictures! It took my boots starting to melt to my feet as I watch the fire licking across the viewfinder to wrap it up and hit 5th gear.

There was a 'storm-a-coming' and we were on a mission to get everything lit and mostly burned before it all came pouring down.. God, on the other hand, had a different schedule for our day.

Now, for those of you who are new to the game, myself included, there are so many amazing benefits for the land and wildlife to this prescribed burning. But, instead of boring you with my interpretation of the facts, I figured if you really want to know, Here is a great article !Grassland Management with Prescribed Fire

Until next time!

Hi There!

Lets get the formal introductions over with! I'm Natalie. A Kansas native, horse enthusiast and explorer of all new things. I met my husband almost 4 years ago and have been married into his ranching family for most of that time. Since the day we met, I knew my world would never be the same.

These are our cowboys. And they are definitely cowboys.

Without them, our ranch would be filled with jerry rigged fences, untagged 2am babies, and smoothly running four wheelers. They make the ranch day go round and we appreciate them every day.

So here we go! We do things a little differently around here. Between cattle, gardening, cooking and life; each day offers a new challenge, story and laugh. I hope you enjoy!