Ties To The Land

I’ve always felt a strong tie to the land here.  My family has owned over 500 acres of land since the late 1800s and I grew up farming parts of it with my father Frank and my grandfather Russ.  I was so anxious to join them in the fields in fact, that when I was 12 I decided to rotary hoe the corn myself.  So I hooked up my grandfather’s Allis Chalmers “C” to the rotary hoe and started hoeing.  Unfortunately, I didn’t know I was supposed to look back to make sure everything was working properly.  The hoe had plugged up almost immediately and I had buried several rows of corn.

Neither my father nor my grandfather yelled at me — they just got down on their knees beside me and we uncovered the buried corn.  I farmed with them until my grandfather retired in the mid 1970s and my father retired in 1991.  Since then our family has cash rented the fields and pastures to neighbors, and while this has removed me from the daily operation of the farms, I still try to spend as much time there as I can.

Lori shares my love of the land and we recently partnered with the Nebraska Land Trust (NLT) to protect it through a conservation easement.  In a world where short-term profits guide practically all farming decisions (please click here for exceptions to this approach), this easement will legally protect the agricultural, environmental, and archaeological values of the land in perpetuity, whether our family owns it or not.

On June 5th, 2012, a team of three archaeologists, led by Nebraska State Historical Society archaeological curator Trisha Nelson, helped Lori and the kids and me begin a salvage excavation of a Native American earthlodge that is rapidly eroding away on a steep bank overlooking the Beaver Creek.  This is a dream-come-true for me — I’ve always known there were Native American remains on the property — but this is the first chance I’ve had to work with professional archaeologists to systematically explore anything.  I’ll be posting updates about this project on this site over the course of the dig on the Archaeology page.

Visitors are always welcome to our land, but we do request that they contact us first.  We’ve had a lot of problems over the years with trespassing and vandalism, and the land is posted.  But we’re always happy to give permission and even tours to anyone who will show us the courtesy of asking…