A January Blow

Author Photo
By Mary Conley

Dear friends of farmers, Larry and I just spent a long weekend at our hobby farm located in southwest Nebraska near the Kansas border. We had a nice few days doing inside tasks that have been on our mental to-do list for some time. The weather warmed up and tried to coax us outdoors, but we prevailed. Then, Sunday afternoon, we were startled by a howling wind which we usually can’t hear from inside our house. Larry went out to look and then called to me from the front steps. I soon grabbed my camera and took several pictures.

Our house sets low and is sheltered on nearly three sides by trees. So here we were, standing on our front steps in a nearly calm house yard, watching something fierce happening only about 50 yards away. It is winter, but it was not a beautiful, snowy whiteout. No, it was a nasty, dirty brown-out from blowing top soil coming off the pastures and fields northeast of us. The thick dust not only blocked out the scenery, but brought with it scary pictures of the dust bowl era. This land is in its fourth year of drought, and it is a somber time and place.

The beginning: The wind shifted to the north and the temperature dropped 20 degrees in two hours.

Contrast: Our house yard was nearly calm, but something fierce was happening just 50 yards away.

Nothingness: The dust blotted out the landscape.

Published on Jan 28, 2014