Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Islands in the Stream

Living on the plains is a lot like island life, which I am familiar with from the west coast of Ireland and the Outer Hebrides of Scotland. Ranches here are islands in a sea of grass and sand intead of surf and foam. Some of the life rules of both environments are shared: have plenty of supplies on hand, plan for self-sufficiency, and be able to handle enforced isolation during periods of weather embargo. Islanders and plains ranchers are tough, independent-minded, often hard-bitten, and pretty much indomitable. (More about this later perhaps.)

All over the plains now are little islands of trees that mark the sites of old homesteads and ranches. The current trend of the loss of the Little Guy will just make more and more of them. Sometimes you see them miles out away from the road and you can't help but think that a family made a life for themselves there once.

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