March 18, 2009
'Tis the Season ...
By Kim Hiss
... for shed hunting and pasture burning in Kansas. Blog Reader Lou A. has been sending me updates on life in her corner of The Sunflower State this month, so I thought I'd share her experiences and excellent photos.
To start, Lou's 2009 shed harvest was up to 17 at last count, as evidenced by this pic of her daughter Shawn and their "naughty" dog (and horn-hunting partner) Stella. Among their most prized finds was a left shed with five points, which Lou said has a long and "sexy" brow tine. But her favorite was only about 4 inches long with a "cute little fork" at its end.
The brownish-orange tinted horns in the photo were some of the seven Lou was lucky to find (so far) after they burned off their pasture this year. As a New Yorker who's never seen such a thing, I was really into her description of it:
We burned off our pasture early this year -- with low winds and the burn ban lifted, we didn't want to wait to see if we got a better day later. If you've never seen something like this in person, it is quite impressive. The tall mixed prairie went up and the fire roared across it in a matter of a few minutes (about five). Cedar trees are an extra bonus -- besides being a foe to the natural prairie by soaking up way more than their fair share of water and choking out native plants, they burn up hot and fast. I saw a fire ball about fifty feet high last year when a group of five went up at the same time (Murphy's law, no camera). Just in case you are wondering, I'm a bit of a fire bug.
Well, Lou, congrats on an impressive horn harvest, and thanks so much for the updates and photos -- I wish we had room to run more of them! -K.H.