After the Storm

The sun is shining this morning and everything looks beautiful after the 12.8 inches of fresh snow that fell here in Manhattan, Kansas yesterday. It is frigidly cold, though, and the schools and some businesses are closed; so not too many people are out and about town. It is hard to believe that it was almost 60 F degrees here a few days ago!






Stay warm! Have a lovely day!

Early Autumn on Konza Prairie

I was out on the Konza Prairie the other afternoon and it was just about the prettiest that I have seen it.  The grasses are starting to put on their autumn colors – subtle shades of golds, oranges, reds and purple – before they turn brown for the winter. It is delightful to walk on the trails and hear little besides the wind blowing through the grasses, the songbirds and crickets, and the crunch of one’s own footsteps. In some places, the grasses are tall enough that I could extend my arms almost straight out from my sides and touch them with my fingertips as I passed by.


Weekly Photography Challenge: Change

The First Methodist Church – a beautiful, historic church that is located one block north of The Morning Star – gets a new roof. Brrr. I bet it’s cold up there.


Storybook Snow

A widespread blizzard, named Winter Storm Q, passed through the midwest yesterday depositing 10.4 inches of snow on Manhattan, Kansas and even more elsewhere. Sunshine and blue skies were a welcome sight this morning, especially to travelers stranded due to cancelled flights. Here is a photo that I took earlier today of snow that deposited itself in a wave on the roof of our neighbor’s porch. I thought that it looked like something out of a storybook illustration. So pretty, but so cold!


Be Careful What We Wish For …

Going through my photo library, looking for images of winter, I came across this photo that I took 5 years ago today. It was a good reminder of the ice storm that struck Manhattan, Kansas and large parts of the midwest in 2007. Parts of town were without power for 10 days. As pretty as it was, brrr … it was cold!


Though the temperatures have gotten quite cold – a low of 9 degrees F. yesterday – I’ve still heard a few people expressing a wish for some real winter weather. But let us be careful what we wish for.

A Dry Year

Like the rest of the American Midwest, Kansas has been experiencing a severe drought this year. In Manhattan, we are 13 inches below average rainfall as we approach year’s end. I was reminded of that statistic this morning. Heading out to the Konza Prairie to take photos of the changing seasons, I was struck by how low the Kansas River was when I crossed the bridge over it; so I pulled over into a boat launch area take pictures of the low water. It appeared quite shallow. I can’t imagine boating here.


The other side of the riverbed is just below the trees in the background.


The picture below is of one of the old bridge supports. (The new bridge, above, is not far away.) If you look closely, you can see where the river is trickling past in the background.


I decided to take the opportunity to photograph some of the native plants that had bloomed earlier in the year.


While doing so, I stumbled upon this piece of driftwood. For a split second, I thought that it was a rattle snake. Afterward, I was rather keen to get back in my car.


When I got to the prairie, several of the creek beds were bone dry.


The deeper ones had a little water. Small plants were thriving in the puddles at the edges where the water was drying up.


But overall, it is pretty darned dry.


It’s All in the Architectural Details

My favorite thing about living in an historic neighborhood is the variety of architectural details. Unlike many modern neighborhoods in which properties are expected to conform to a set of design standards, in the older neighborhoods, there were often a great variety of styles. The Morning Star is part of the Houston and Pierre Streets Historic Residential District. The houses in this district are from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s and represent  Queen Anne, Italianate, Classical Revival, Tudor, and Vernacular Folk styles. Built in 1902, our house, a Queen Anne “transitional”, is one of the newer ones. This afternoon, I went for a stroll around the neighborhood and photographed some of many details one can see just walking around. The first three photos are from our house.