Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Limestone fence posts, and the Post Rock Museum in Kansas

An old fence post made of limestone

Imagine farming someplace that wood was so scarce that you used rock for fence posts instead. 

Back in the late 1800s you didn't go to the big home improvement store for fence posts. You got your ax and saw, hitched up your team of horses or mules, drove out to the nearest source of trees. In western Kansas or the Oklahoma Panhandle, that source was miles away, and likely only found along creeks or streams. Then you could start chopping down trees, trimming to length and hauling them back. 

That natural limestone is starting to look better as a fence post material. 

In the Oklahoma (and I'm sure Texas) Panhandle and western Kansas, you can still see rock fence posts from over a hundred years ago. 

Driving tour (of sorts)

Coming home, I drove south down US Highway 183 through western Kansas. As I got near the town of La Crosse, in Rush County, Kansas, I kept seeing more and more of the old stone fence posts. That got me thinking about the men with the axes and wagons and no trees. 

Turn off at this sign for a short scenic turnout of post rocks. 
Sign says "Post rock and Rush County historical museums, La Crosse, Kansas"
Two county roads intersect with the state highway, giving a short (maybe a mile total) and easy drive where you can get up close with still-standing fence post rocks. 

Fence line with rock posts

From US Highway 183, take Rush County Road 245 south, then Avenue I east back to Highway 183. (Or do it in the other order, either way works). The red sign is at the north intersection on this map. 

Map From US Highway 183, take Rush County Road 245 south, then Avenue I east back to Highway 183.


Museum

In La Crosse, Kansas, there's a museum for the post rocks and the architecture built on them. 

Yes, architecture. Wood was scarce, and squared off posts were available, so people built houses and buildings from stone. 

House built from post rocks

Close up of the post rock built wall

The museum also has several restored buildings, including a railroad depot and a 1916 bank. 

More photos at Flickr

See more of my pics of the scenic turnout, the post rock museum and the restored bank

Nekoma Bank restored building


Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Our eco friendly answer to Memorial Day Flowers: succulents



My sister Connie Foote and I decorated family graves together. We would not consider using fake flowers. We just couldn't see generating more trash.
Last year we planted some flowering plants from the local nursery, but we knew the grounds keepers would be mowing them down soon.


This year we are trying succulents, like stonecrop.
When my farm store brought out their plants at the first of the season, they had some stonecrop and sedum varieties that they labeled "thrives on neglect." That sounded perfect! So I bought nearly all the little ones they had.
We planted them in the flower urns or even in cracks in the ground alongside headstones.
We're hoping that they will be able to survive throughout the year without watering or any care.
We had a few of the tiny plants left over, and I divided them into new pots. I have enough to do all the graves next year even if none of the existing plants survive.
It's an experiment, and I will update you!