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Six days until Blinddog Smokin’ and a Husker guitar

August 14, 2015

So . . . six days until the Blinddog Smokin’ show – do you have your tickets yet? (See here for my original post on the August 20th concert.)

Look at these folks. Don't they look like the instigators of a raucous good time?

Look at these folks. Don’t they look like the instigators of a raucous good time?

The 10-day forecast has a ZERO percent chance of rain that day, and with the normally low humidity and evening cooling, it’s gonna be an awesome night out at Five Rocks!

gering 10 day forecast august 20 2015So go buy your tickets now! It’s $5 cheaper than at the gate to buy ahead, and you also help the concert organizers to sleep at night, when they see that, yes, tickets are selling for this fundraiser event. Tickets are available at Star-Herald, KNEB, Gering Citizen, Platte Valley Bank, Valley Bank Gering locations, ABC Nursery, Gateway Realty. Go get ’em!

Also, if you go to the concert and help the Soroptimists raise funds to help women and girls in our community, you will have the opportunity to buy in to a 50/50 raffle, and you could bid to win a custom Huskers acoustic guitar from Thrasher Music (complete with two free lessons from Steve Thrasher).

Now ain't that a purty gee-tar? If you play (or even if you don't), how can you call yourself a true Husker fan if you don't have a Husker guitar? The guitar that will be auctioned is #22 on the limited production run of 100 guitars. They aren't too common!

Now ain’t that a purty gee-tar? If you play (or even if you don’t), how can you call yourself a true Husker fan if you don’t have a Husker guitar? The guitar that will be auctioned is #22 on the limited production run of 100 guitars. They aren’t too common!

There will also be adult beverages and food for sale, so bring some money and come prepared to have a good time.

(Without me! *sob* Circumstances still haven’t changed. I still can’t go to the concert. Boo hoo!)

You can’t beat blues/funk at Five Rocks

August 6, 2015

You guys, I am seriously bummed!

There’s a blues/funk band – Blinddog Smokin’ – coming to play Five Rocks Amphitheater in Gering on August 20 for a fundraiser concert, and I can’t go!

*sad face*

Look at these folks. Don't they look like the instigators of a raucous good time?

Look at these folks. Don’t they look like the instigators of a raucous good time?

I attend a lot of charitable functions in this area, and I have fun, but I don’t always enjoy myself to the point that I would think, “Man, I would totally do that again, and invite all my friends!” I reckon I would at this particular benefit concert, though. (A couple of other fundraisers I would totally invite my friends to: that movie-themed costume party at the West Nebraska Arts Center and the Girls Night Out events at the Midwest Theater as well as the Greek Festival supporting the Assumption Greek Orthodox Church in Bayard – which is, incidentally THIS WEEKEND!)

Blinddog Smokin’ has some serious professional street cred (is “professional street cred” an oxymoron?) – they were nominated for a 2015 Grammy Award for best blues album, which they worked on with Dr. John! (Those for those of you who don’t know blues, Dr. John is a funky N’awlins-influenced bluesman – NOT a sex shop on 27th Street in Scottsbluff. You’ll probably be familiar with his 1973 popular hit Right Place Wrong Time.)

Five Rocks is just an awesome venue. I think the flavor of blues comes out best either in a claustrophobic little club or out in the open air, where the notes can ring out and expand. And since the band has a good dose of funk, too – it’s better for it to be outside, where the music can have more room to breathe!

Kelly’s Liquor Cabinet will be at the event, too, selling adult beverages to further enhance the musical experience.

On top of all that, this event, with the help of sponsors Platte Valley Companies, Kelley Bean, Thrasher Music and media sponsors KNEB, Star-Herald, and Gering Citizen, will support Soroptimists International of Scotts Bluff County in their drive to help women and girls by supporting local charities with grant funding. You get to have a good time for a good cause – what could be better than that?

Disclosure: I’m a member of the Soroptimist club sponsoring the event. I happen to think the women and girls in this world could use a little boost. The frontman of Blinddog Smokin’, Carl Gustafson, agrees. Here’s a quote from him in a story in this week’s edition of the Gering Citizen:

“I have three daughters, a step daughter and two granddaughters,” he said. “They are the joy of my life.”

. . . He recalled when the band toured Egypt. He was appalled at the treatment of women.

“They were quite simply chattel creatures, subject in every way to men,” he said. “If the Soroptimists can bring some joy and enlightenment to the downtrodden women of the world, why on earth wouldn’t we be in favor of a benefit for them?”

Yes, this Chicagoland girl is sad to be missing Blinddog Smokin’. (Though I will have to admit, despite having grown up in the Chicago area, my personal blues street cred is pretty much limited to dressing up like a reasonable facsimile of Jake Blues from The Blues Brothers movie.)

jakeBut I will be happy again if I know that YOU, my readers, can go to the concert and have fun in my stead. I expect to have some tickets in my hot little hands this afternoon, 15 buck apiece – any takers?

Here are the deets on the event:

WHAT: Blinddog Smokin’ blues/funk concert

WHEN: Thursday, August 20; gates open 6:30 p.m., music begins 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Five Rocks Amphitheater, Gering

COST: $15 presale, $20 at the gate. Tickets available starting Friday at KNEB, Star-Herald, Gering Citizen, Platte Valley Bank locations, ABC Nursery, Gateway Realty, and Valley bank Gering locations, as well as from Soroptimist members (like me!)

FUN STUFF: adult beverages and food will be available, there will be a 50/50 raffle, and also an auction for a custom Husker guitar from Thrasher music. I’ll update the post if I can get a photo of said guitar.

HIGHER PURPOSE: to raise funds to help Soroptimist International of Scotts Bluff County help women and girls in Wyobraska

Go! Go, my pretties! Enjoy the music! And please – share this link, or the event on the local Sorpotimists Facebook page! Share away!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

Hail in the garden, holes in the leaves

July 28, 2015

I could not be a farmer around here. My nerves couldn’t take it.

It’s not a matter of “if” we’ll get hail in any given year, but “when, how big, and how much.”

I’ve written about hail numerous times on this blog already: here, here, here, here, here.

This year, I’ve been home to note hail on April 8, June 16, June 17, and July 28. There have been several stories in the regional news about various crops destroyed by hail, either soon after planting, or, as now, just before harvest. Hail might inconvenience me, but it really hits farmers hard.

The June 16-17 storms ripped up my garden.

A sad, hailed tomato plant.

A sad, hailed tomato plant.

The June 17 hail was kind of pretty. I'd like to colorize this image and print it and hang it up as part of my western Nebraska art collection.

The June 17 hail was kind of pretty. I’d like to colorize this image and print it and hang it up as part of my western Nebraska art collection.

The garden recovered, but I remained paranoid.

Guarding against a hailstorm that never materialized on July 5.

Guarding against a hailstorm that never materialized on July 5.

By the time yesterday’s hailstorm hit, most of the plants were too big to be protected under cover anymore.

The storm featured some large hail, but it was short-lived, thank goodness. No noticeable damaged to the house.

The storm featured some large hail, but it was short-lived, thank goodness.

The garden suffered some broken stems and leaf holes, but it should pull through OK. No visible damage to the house, and the car was safe in the garage.

The garden suffered some broken stems and leaf holes, but it should pull through OK. No visible damage to the house, and the car was safe in the garage.

While I was inspecting the hail holes in the plants, I discovered another source of leaf holes: cabbage loopers on the broccoli!

On the younger leaf in the foreground: cabbage looper caterpillar damage and several tiny cabbage looper eggs. In the background, a mature leaf sports a hail hole.

On the younger broccoli leaf in the foreground: cabbage looper caterpillar damage and several tiny cabbage looper eggs. In the background, a mature leaf sports a hail hole.

Here's a blurry photo of a cabbage looper caterpillar I found on another broccoli leaf.

Here’s a blurry photo of a tiny, green cabbage looper caterpillar I found on another broccoli leaf.

I’ve been asked several times, “Don’t you get ‘worms’ in your garden broccoli?” I always answer, “No.”

The reason we don’t is that, as soon as I notice cabbage looper eggs and caterpillars on the broccoli plant, I wage a “pick and smush” campaign against the eggs and caterpillars.

The cabbage plants seem to be further along for the first cabbage looper assault this year. It’s harder to find all the eggs and caterpillars with more and denser leaves to pick through.

So, this year I may wind up with a few ‘worms’ in my broccoli. If the hail leaves us alone and lets my garden continue to grow, that is.

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

Weekend Colorado trip

July 23, 2015

One of the benefits of living in western Nebraska: we’re close to the Rocky Mountains and the population center of the Front Range, which has all kinds of businesses and services you can’t get in rural Nebraska.

This past weekend, Bugman and I made the 2.5-hour trip to Fort Collins to get our nearly 10-year-old Subaru worked on (thank you, Dellenbach Subaru, for making our car drive like new again, and for treating us so well). As a friend said, bringing a Subaru to a Colorado dealership is like taking it back to the mother ship. There are a TON of Subarus in Colorado. I think it’s the state vehicle or something. (As opposed to Nebraska, where the pickup tuck clearly rules. See also the fifth photo in this post, about the time Bugman and I attended a spring cattle branding.)

We brought our tandem along for the ride, so we could get in some Cycle Greater Yellowstone training while our car was being worked on. Many thanks to the Fort Collins Cycling Club for their excellent website, which enabled us to find a route of just the right length and difficulty. We chose the Five Dams and Bellevue Loop, which gave us some good hill climbing along with lovely views of Horsetooth Reservoir and the city below.

Oh, yes - there was some climbing.

Oh, yes – there was some climbing.

 And some nice vantage points to watch people waterskiing and paddleboarding on the reservoir.

And some nice vantage points to watch people waterskiing and paddleboarding on the reservoir.

That night, we did some more things we can’t do back home: checked out a microbrewery and ate Ethiopian food.

The next morning, we hit the Spring Creek Trail in Fort Collins for a Virtual Beat The Blerch 10K a friend had organized, starting from Ross Natural Area. Fort Collins really has an excellent trails system.

So Blerchy!

So Blerchy!

We took the long way home, heading west out of Fort Collins into the mountains on Poudre Canyon Road . . .

This is not a fast drive, but it is pretty, and there are lots of picnic areas along the way.

This is not a fast drive, but it is pretty, and there are lots of picnic areas along the way.

. . . so we could visit some friends in Walden, Colorado – Dan and Kathi Manville. They run the Paradise Lanes bowling alley and restaurant on the south end of Walden. I highly recommend a visit if you’re in the area, for the food if not for the bowling. Plenty of comfort food options, good side salads, and some craft beer selections, including our favorite for this visit – Wooly Booger, from Grand Lake Brewing. (We cracked up every time we said Wooly Booger. Yes, we know it’s a fly fishing term, but still . . .)

This was my not-so-great drive-by picture on the way out of town.

This was my not-so-great drive-by picture of Paradise Lanes on our way out of town.

We had the opportunity to explore North Park with the Manvilles, which was a real treat because Dan grew up on a ranch in the area.

visit with friends

We saw some bighorn sheep and deer. No moose, alas, despite Walden’s claim to fame as the “Moose Viewing Capital of Colorado.” We did see plenty of wildflowers, though!

The place was lousy with asters, with a few Indian paintbrush thrown in for variety.

The place was lousy with asters, with a few Indian paintbrush thrown in for variety.

Some alpine paintbrush, too.

Some alpine paintbrush, too.

We looked to be on the tail end of fairy trumpet flower season.

We looked to be on the tail end of fairy trumpet flower season.

There was a good amount of larkspur blooming as well, with some giant hyssop blooming here in the background.

There was a good amount of larkspur blooming as well, with some giant hyssop here in the background.

The yellow toadflax was pretty (AKA butter-n-eggs), but I later found out it's a non-native invasive plant that's escaped from domestic gardens.

The yellow toadflax was pretty (AKA butter-n-eggs), but I later found out it’s a non-native invasive plant that’s escaped from domestic gardens.

The toadflax was also crawling with insects, which Bugman had to check out.

The toadflax was also crawling with insects, which Bugman had to check out.

The dusky beardtongue was lovely.

The dusky beardtongue was lovely. This photo does not do justice to the deep, glowing maroon color.

And my favorite - the mariposa lily.

And my favorite – the mariposa lily.

It’s only a 3 1/2 -hour drive between Walden and Scottsbluff, via Laramie and Cheyenne in Wyoming. Really, we ought to be getting out there more often!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw

Flashback to June flowers

July 15, 2015

Have you been missing my wildflower posts from Scotts Bluff National Monument? I’ve been missing my hikes up the bluff. I’ve got excuses, of course. (Out of town, too busy, schedule changed, trail was closed due to rock slides, etc.) But now I’m just getting to downright procrastination on the posting.

Here are some images I took back on June 23. Many of the flowers can probably still be found out there.

The prickly poppy - one of my favorites.

The prickly poppy – one of my favorites.

Plains sunflower

Plains sunflower

The platte thistle - this one's a native plant, and important for pollinator species, judging by the number of insects I often see on the flowers.

The platte thistle – this one’s a native plant, and important for pollinator species, judging by the number of insects I often see on the flowers.

Not sure what this one is.

Not sure what this one is, but it’s got a beetle on it.

This Little Brown Jobber landed on a dried yucca spike near me. I'm not so good at identifying LBJs. Lark sparrow, perhaps?

This Little Brown Jobber landed on a dried yucca spike near me. I’m not so good at identifying LBJs. Lark sparrow, perhaps?

A late-blooming large-flowered townsendia.

A late-blooming large-flowered townsendia.

Here's an out-of-focus photo of a clustered cancer-root bloom. It's a parasitic plant that lacks its own chlorophyll.

Here’s an out-of-focus photo of a clustered cancer-root bloom. It’s a parasitic plant that lacks its own chlorophyll.

A folded prickly pear blossom, ready to unfurl as the day warms up.

A folded prickly pear blossom, ready to unfurl as the day warms up.

There's an opened bloom!

There’s an opened bloom!

Scarlet globe mallow

Scarlet globe mallow

There were just oodles of spiderwort. Must be a good year for them.

There were just oodles of spiderwort. Must be a good year for them.

As opposed to the yucca. Not a particularly spectacular year for yucca blooms.

As opposed to the yucca. Not a particularly spectacular year for yucca blooms. But this ladybug looked handsome on a prior season’s yucca spike.

I'll slip in one more insect photo here - a bee assassin.

I’ll slip in one more insect photo here – a bee assassin. They don’t just eat bees. They’ll eat pretty much anything they can catch.

Here's a view from the Monument I don't often see. On this day, I hiked all the trails one top of the Monument, when usually I would just hike the Saddle Rock Trail up and then down again. I was in search of something that I, alas, did not find.

Here’s a view from the Monument I don’t often see. On this day, I hiked all the trails one top of the Monument, when usually I would just hike the Saddle Rock Trail up and then down again. I was in search of something that I, alas, did not find.

Here is a photo that my friend Rick Myers had shared just a couple of days before, taken at the Monument, which led to my fruitless search that day. I had no idea there were barrel cacti up there! Maybe one day I will find it!

Here is a photo that my friend Rick Myers had shared just a couple of days before, taken at the Monument, which led to my fruitless search that day. I had no idea there were barrel cacti up there! Maybe one day I will find it!

Copyright 2015 by Katie Bradshaw, except barrel cactus image by Rick Myers

Monument Marathon + Husker game = H-E-L-P!

July 7, 2015

This may seem a little early, but HELP! Can you volunteer for the Monument Marathon on September 26?

You can sign up here.

We’re about two months away from the race, but there’s a wee note of panic in the back of my mind. The Monument Marathon and Half starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 26, 2015.

And there’s this:

husker schedule on race dayAAAACK!

We always knew it was a possibility. There was one year when race day coincided with a night game. But a game that starts at 10 a.m. on race day? Ay carumba!

There’s not a lot we can do about the schedule of the race. We have to set the date at least a year in advance, so that runners in the current race can get info about next year and so we can advertise nationally. We also have to work around big events at Western Nebraska Community College (Celebrate WNCC), in the community (Harvest Festival at Legacy of the Plains Museum, which is on the race course), and in the racing world (Omaha marathon, Denver marathon). We also need to try to hit the sweet spot for Goldilocks weather – not too hot, not too cold; no snow, no hail.

Which leaves the race crew at the mercy of our community of Husker loyalists – if you are not going to the Husker game that day, will you commit to volunteering at the race?

Your community needs you!

This race is a huge opportunity for us to showcase how awesome we are out here in western Nebraska (we currently have registrants from eastern Nebraska as well as Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Tennessee, Missouri, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Utah, Florida, Washington, Indiana, New York, Arizona, and California). The volunteers are a HUGE part of what makes the Monument Marathon a success. Case in point, here are some quotes from race reviews on Marathon Guide:

The entire community is very welcoming and supportive and you get the sense that they really do want you to finish the race and have fun at the same time.

And the volunteers! To a person, enthusiastic, supportive, and performing their tasks with aplomb.

The enthusiasm of the volunteers and other crowd at the aid stations was fantastic!

As for volunteers, what can I say? These people are AMAZING! This is why I gave 5 stars for spectators – it’s mostly a rural run, but the numerous aid stations and volunteers were absolutely cuckoo excited to see each runner!

Enthusiastic volunteers & friendly locals help make this small event fun and refreshing.

Everyone in the town and all of the volunteers are super friendly, and the small-town feel is really special.

The organization was flawless, voluntter staff was so darn friendly you thought you were in ‘Mayberry’ or some place like that.

If you’re thinking, “Gosh, I really want to be a part of this, but, Huskers . . .”, rest assured: there will be some kind of radio / TV / scorekeeper function happening that day at the race so you can keep up with the game! (Race crew members are Huskers fans, too!)

Shoot, this juxtaposition with the Husker game could turn out to be a pretty cool thing. What if the aid stations and homeowners around the race course turned the marathon into a big, miles-long outdoor tailgating party, with TWO entities to cheer for: the Huskers and the runners? This could really be a lot of fun!

If you’re excited to help out, show your Husker pride, and welcome runners to our community, mark your calendar and sign up here, so the race crew will know we can count on you!

More information about volunteer position needs and training schedule will be available as the time draws nearer, but, gosh, it’d sure be nice to see those volunteer signup numbers start climbing now, so the race crew has one less thing to worry about.

Here’s a note from race director Jennifer Rogers about volunteer positions:

Usually whenever I present for volunteer recruitment, I tell people we have needs before, during and after race day and that you don’t have to be a marathon expert, we just need enthusiastic people to help make the race experience great.  And there’s different times people can give on race day too.  If they’re a course marshal at the start of the full course, they could be done in an hour.

Still, if you can make a significant commitment to help out on race/game day, it’d be much appreciated!

Will I see you there?

Top 10 Reasons Why You Should Run the Monument Marathon in western Nebraska

July 7, 2015

Katie Bradshaw:

Hey, y’all. If you’re thinking of doing the Monument Marathon, get yourself registered, y’hear? :-)

Originally posted on Wyobraska Tandem:

I’ve been awfully frustrated the last couple of years. I have so far been unsuccessful at getting my friends back in Iowa to come participate in the Monument Marathon and halfout here in western Nebraska. (Somehow, they got their signals crossed, and some of them wound up going for the “Monumental Marathon” – No, guys! No! That is in Indiana!! WAY different!!! The MONUMENT Marathon in western Nebraska actually goes around a National Monument – Scotts Bluff National Monument, to be precise. I have no idea what claim Indiana has to being “Monumental.”)

I’ve already taken it upon myself to do blog posts about the highlights of the Monument Marathon course (in 2012, the first year of the race) and a mile-by-mile accounting of the course (in 2013). What more can I do to persuade people that the Monument Marathon in western Nebraska is The Place To…

View original 1,201 more words

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