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About Our Home on the Range

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALocated along the Smoky Hill River, our farm is in an area which has a rich history dating to the days of US Calvary troops, a fort to make safe passage for settlers heading West toward Denver and beyond, as well as a new railroad being built to cross the prairie connecting East and West. The original part of our home dates to the days when General Custer, Wild Bill, and other notorious wild West characters may have frequented a trading post housed here. They, travelers on the Butterfield Trail (connecting Kansas City to Denver), soldiers (original Fort Harker was located about 200 yards from the house) early settlers, and railroad workers could get their needed supplies here. Today, digging anywhere reveals artifacts from that era.

IMG_20141007_135432_027The land has some top soil, but underneath is pure sand, revealing a time in history in which this was part of the river bed. The rolling hills of this area makes for good drainage and most of our land repels heavy rains when they rarely come. Though this area is zone 6a by the new USDA mapping, we experience 20-40 or more days of temperatures over 100 in the Summer, and Winter temperatures of 10-15 below zero. With very hot summers, our 30” of rain in a year is putting our subsoil moisture at a continuously dangerous level.

Wildlife is plentiful in this area. Wild turkeys have replaced the once populace pheasants, deer population has exploded over the past 50 years, bobcats, coyotes, and foxes are plentiful. With the river just a couple hundred yards from the house, and the river bed covered with trees, there is a great shelter for many kinds of birds. Our bird feeders now attract many species of birds, including our beloved cardinals, and they provide entertainment throughout the Winter.  As the birds kick out seed from the feeders, our free-ranging chickens and many cottontails love the ‘discarded’ grain!  The woodpeckers, finches, and many other species provide a special atmosphere here on the farm.

Our greenhouses provide a special atmosphere for propagating lavender, along with housing Wanda’s cacti collection, and many other special plants we have gathered over the years.

Our home on the range is the only home we have had since we were married in 1999.  And, like many of you, THERE IS NO PLACE LIKE HOME!!