My Prairie Playland

I was among a group of people a while back when we were asked to tell a little bit about ourselves and where we were from.

Fall splendor on the farm

One of the first people to do so, and I can’t remember where in Minnesota he was from, said he lived in God’s Country.

The very next person to introduce herself – I believe she was from northern Minnesota – said the first man must be mistaken, for she lived in God’s Country.

Now, it was simply a bit of light-hearted and good-natured ribbing, to be sure, but it got me thinking.

As I strolled through the back pasture of our family farm Saturday afternoon, camera in hand, I knew I lived in God’s Country. Yes, right here in southwest Minnesota.

Big Bluestem

Everywhere is God’s Country – just admit it. No one else could delight us with the rich blue hues of a prairie slough or the color saturation as a setting sun casts its rays over a tall patch of Big Bluestem.

Those images demand I sit for a spell and admire.

For a lot of years I dreamed of living elsewhere. I still think about it every now and then in my travels.

Just this year I told my folks I’d love to live up near Alexandria (after our July fishing expedition there); and then I wanted to move up to Grand Marais (after a September adventure there with Mom). Mostly, I’m happy wherever there is a lake, trees and space to get away from it all.

I was a bit saddened as I rode the 4-wheeler through the back pasture Saturday, thinking it would be the last time this season I’d get to explore without the fear of bullets whizzing through the neighborhood.

Pasture fence

I imagine a nephew or two will be walking the tall grasses starting next weekend during Minnesota’s pheasant opener, and continuing right on into November, when they will hide out for the elusive big buck.

My quiet thinking place will turn into a battleground between man and beast – or man and bird, depending on the weekend.

And so, the season will change once more. The winds will blow, the snow will settle in and then, come spring, I will have my prairie playland back again. It has everything I love – water, trees and solitude.

6 Responses

  1. Michelle Hull

    Hello Julie! I happened upon your article through the West Central Tribune (Willmar). Very nice read- and even nicer to realize I am probably related to you! My uncle is Alvin and my grandparents are Ailt & Henrietta (I’m sure I don’t have to give a last name with those first names!). Small, small world and the Internet just makes it a little bit smaller!

    1. Julie Buntjer

      Hi Michelle, and yes, we must be related. Glad you liked the blog – the home farm I write of is just a short drive from your grandparents’ farm. I haven’t seen them for a while, but my folks visit them often.

  2. Cheeky

    Lovely photo’s, Julie.
    Except for the flooding last month, it’s been a beautiful autumn. I envy the fact that you can go visit a farm. I wish I could jump on a 4 wheeler and go sightseeing with my camera. There is a subtle beauty about the prairie that I appreciate more and more. You captured some of the beauty I appreciate the most this time of year with the pictures you included. Thanks for the eye candy.

    1. Julie Buntjer

      Thanks Cheeky for the lovely comments. I recommend you go exploring the “back country” anywhere around Worthington. There are some great public lands for exploring, especially south of town where Pheasants Forever and the DNR have cooperated to purchase marginal lands. Don’t forget your camera!

  3. Tom Nelson

    A true prarie was in existence when I lived on the farm, the land to the west and extending nearly to the slough was unbroken land. My mother would take me to pick crocus flowers in the spring on that land and tell me stories of growing up on a farm . Your photos were beautiful and brought back many memories. Thank You.

    1. Julie Buntjer

      Tom, I always appreciate your comments about the farm where you grew up. I consider us both very fortunate to have experienced life on that little parcel of land. I am now very curious about the crocus flowers and will have to roam the pasture in the spring to see if they are still a part of the unbroken land we have remaining out there. Thanks for reading!

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