The Worst Hard Time…

Today we saw Horton Hears a Who with Marlena, Da, and my friend Susan and her kids. It was a surprisingly good movie, and stayed relatively close to D.R. Seuss. I was pretty happy with it, and Marlena really enjoyed it. Tomorrow my brother comes into town, and we will be enjoying some additional familial silliness.

As for now, I am off to bed with a copy of The Worst Hard Time, a book my Dad got me on the Dust Bowl in the 1930’s. We have farmland in eastern Colorado, and I have been trying to help Dad figure out what to do with the land when the time comes to pass it on. Do we donate it? Sell it to a land trust? Seed it and let it go? There are so many options. He got the book in the hope it would give me a better understanding of that part of the State, and therefore a better idea of what we should do with our portion when and if it passes to my brother and I.

It is a complicated decision, but I am excited to learn more about the phenomenon of the plains in our country. Most people don’t realize the historical and environmental significance the displacement of prairie grasses played on our eco-system. The farmland we use in Colorado is really best suited to grassland, as the soil will simply up and blow away during drought if there is no grass to keep it in place. During the droughts in the Great Depression, the land had been over utilized for farming for years beforehand, the topsoil would just lift off the ground and blow away. At one point, in a single afternoon, on April 14, 1935, double the dirt than was moved for the construction of the Panama Canal was lifted into the air and thrown about the plains. (That’s more than 300,000 tons of Great Plains topsoil.) The actions we took on the Great Plains during the first part of the twentieth century resulted in dirt storms that caused pneumonia, black outs, and other environmental phenomena far more dramatic than anything our generation has witnessed.

Oop… I hear the sounds of a particularly snuggly young man demanding more of his mother’s attention. Otter and Monkey both have been extra glommy ever since Dad and I went into the City. I have been covered in crawling, snuggly children for days. I am going quite mad really.

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