Tag Archive | the prairie

What Does Detroit Have To Do With The Prairie?


This question was asked of me, and I actually was trying to think of an answer knowing one had nothing to do with the other, unless Detroit had been relocated to a cornfield which I figured was not the case. After some back and forth questions the person finally said, “Your blog name is prairie writer, but your books always have Detroit somewhere in them so are you a prairie writer or a Detroit writer?”

I had never thought of it in those terms, but I suppose that is how the two are related; a Detroit writer living on the prairie, although, I have been far removed from Detroit for several decades but it calls to me sometimes. They say the place where you are born does that, and I guess that must be true, more or less, because quite without knowing how Detroit always finds it way to my books.

This is one of those books. The title is misleading and sounds like anyone who ventures to Detroit ends up dead. Just not true, and it’s really about a man who travels to Detroit for nefarious reasons, a homeless man living behind a dumpster, and the woman who walks between the two. It’s also about a town rising up to take care of their own.

Maybe, I need to get myself back to Detroit for a visit so I can write about Boise, Sacramento, or Seattle.  Just saying.






Serenity At The Bird Feeder

woodpecker-1186209_960_720They numbered many, and came as pairs to the tree with the feeders; two Woodpeckers, four Blue Jays, and two Cardinals, as in they flew.

Sharing without a leader not knowing about the food, except that it was there, and seemed not to  worry soon it might be gone, but were content to sing and share.


Showing no indication of haste or fear one might get more. Watching it seemed somewhat sad that multi-colored birds, had learned to sing and share when many people had not.



Spring Comes To The Prairie

The lawn has been mowed, twice, and the dandelions are springing up; and yet, the winds prevail and it’s still jacket weather. The heavy blankets have been taken from the bed, twice, and brought back to keep us warm. Yesterday it rained before the sun came out as it passed by, then sleet pelted the windows. We’re supposed to have a lightning and thunder event in the night, and I can hard wait. Summer, they tell me, is just around the corner, but I’m not sure what corner, but I think it’s hiding somewhere down around the Texas Panhandle. I had a prairie garden that’s gone dormant, and I’m not so sure it’s coming back this year. I don’t know for sure, but it seems we’re trapped in the house wishing to be outside but unwilling to brave the elements to do so. I can’t imagine how the wagon trains traversed this hostile environment, because I find a trip thought the yard a hair rising experience. I guess this is how spring comes to the prairie, but we’re in April now and we should be seeing flowers, but we’re not.

What Happened Here??

bison-526805__180    Centuries ago, rolling plains covered in tall grass and wild flowers was christened ‘prairie’ by French explorers; a word meaning meadow grazed by cattle. The cattle were Bison or Buffalo; the gentle giants and lords of the prairie.

Thus was the Buffalo Nation, a land shared in equal parts by nomadic plains Indians, the restless wind, and buffalo. Existing in a time before white man ventured forth, the prairie held sway; a gentle whisper of wind echoing across a vast sea of grass disturbed only by the distant rumble of thunder as herds of large hulking buffalo shook the ground in their thunderous approach.

The triangular shaped patch of swaying grass covered what is now Wisconsin; North and South Dakota; Minnesota; Nebraska; Kansas; Iowa; Indiana; Illinois, Missouri; Oklahoma; Wyoming; Colorado; New Mexico; Texas; and sizeable parts of Montana. Collectively, this was ‘The Great Prairie’.

Eventually white man did come, the buffalo were systematically killed, the Indian tribes vanished from illnesses brought by the white man, starvation as the buffalo were was killed off, and the remainder was herded into reservations. Sadly, the Buffalo Nation died as it had been born; effortlessly and without fanfare.

As the prairie became devoid of buffalo and Indians, settlers moved in seeking land, a better way of life, a sense of adventure, or they came not quite sure why. Descending onto the prairie from every direction intent on being farmers, in short time found they could not. The tall grass and wild flowers had rendered the prairie soil dense and full of roots. The wooden plows could not cultivate the thick turf, and the settlers begin cutting out sections of the dense sod, and created little houses with it.

It would not be until 1837 that an Illinois blacksmith invented a steel plow that could cut through the prairie soil, and the age of John Deere was born. As the soil became tillable, the ‘Great Prairie’ shrank as homesteads emerged. The homesteads gave birth to little villages and towns on the vast horizon. The towns and villages grew into bigger cities and towns with homes of all type and size including the rise of the sky scrapper. The little homesteads turned into sprawling farmlands, factories emerged, and without anyone barely giving notice, ‘The Great Prairie’ had been tamed, and ceased to be.

With the death of  ‘The Great Prairie’, a greater entity was born; the Midwest; a huge chunk of land comprised of twelve states; Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Missouri.