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Time To Stalk Nebraska’s Wild Asparagus

Shrubs are flowering. Apple blossoms have emerged. Reliable indicators that tell me I now will find one of my most valued vegetables in Nebraska’s rural landscape — wild asparagus. Sure enough, I was right! Wild asparagus has many varieties and is a popular spring wild edible in Nebraska. To me, wild asparagus is one of the earliest signs of winter’s final end and the beginning of a new growing season. Asparagus growing rogue and freely in the countryside is no different from the cultivated kind, except that it has a fresher, …

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Wild Foods In Your Backyard

As the trees bud, the lawns green and the flowers bloom, did you know that may have food growing in your yard, lot, garden or field? I bet you do! Now that spring has finally sprung, some of the more prolific, more accessible wild edible foods make their initial appearances. It’s when edible wild plants are at their most tender, tastiest stage. And your own backyard, garden, vacant lot, alleyway or patch of woods or prairie, could very well be the closest and most productive place you’ll find to forage this time of …

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Anxiously Awaiting The First Morels Of The Season

Tersh Kepler of Omaha, NE is closely monitoring his yard for the appearance of dandelions. Why? Because, that will be his sign that morel mushrooms have popped up in his river bottom woods. Many folks in Nebraska are getting antsy to head to their morel mushroom picking spots along river and creek woodlands. But, when will the morels emerge? Kepler says the sprouting of dandelions in his Omaha yard will be the indicator, however,  he knows there is more to it. Whether vigilant for dandelion flowers, tree buds, blooming lilacs or flowering woodland …

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Cowboy Ultra race set for May 12-13

LINCOLN, Neb. — Nebraskans are invited to participate in the third Cowboy Ultra, a two-day race that will guide runners (solo and relay teams) along sections of the Cowboy Trail. The Cowboy Ultra will take place on May 12-13. There will be two races from Valentine: 54 miles to Long Pine and 105 miles to O’Neill. Registration is $65 and $80, respectively. The event, organized by Angry Cow Adventures, is limited to 50 people. For more information on the Cowboy …

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Bassway Strip WMA kayak landing improvements completed

LINCOLN, Neb. – Improvements recently completed at Bassway Strip Wildlife Management Area enhance access to the Platte River’s north channel for canoeists and kayakers. The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission enlarged, reshaped and surfaced with river rock an existing primitive boat landing to facilitate easier and safer river access. In addition, a parking area was expanded and resurfaced with gravel. The improved launch site also provides emergency responders quicker access to the river. The canoe and kayak landing is located …

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Water trails guide available from Game and Parks

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Nebraska Game and Parks Commission has published a guide designed to assist communities in creating, upgrading, promoting, funding, permitting and maintaining successful water trails. This guide, Floating the Good Life, a Guide to Developing Water Trails in Nebraska, provides information about the types of streams in Nebraska and how they behave differently, creating unique challenges for water trail operation. The guide details the launch site design process, and it discusses universal access and how a launch …

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Springtime Foraging: The Dryad’s Saddle

While there will be more chilly, frosty nights — and yes, most likely, more snow — in the Nebraska countryside over the next several weeks, it is safe to say that spring is coming! So, in advance of those days exhibiting warm sunshine, calm breezes and moist conditions, there is a widespread edible, palatable fungi that you need to know. Along with finding and picking morel mushrooms, there is the dryad’s saddle to harvest in your favorite woodlands. Dryad’s saddle? The Dryad’s saddle (Polyporus squamosus) , a.k.a., pheasant back’s mushroom, or hawks wing, is …

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Is It Time To Begin Looking For Shed Deer Antlers?

Is it too early to go out and try to find shed deer antlers on my hunting lands? After all, there is snow cover and snow drifts in places. On the other hand, I am hearing rumors of bucks dropping their antlers earlier than normal on the Great Plains. So, when should someone venture to their deer woods and fields in search of those prized shed antlers? Beginning in late December and continuing through April, white-tailed and mule deer shed their antlers for regrowth purposes …

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Winter Wild Edibles

Foraging for wild foods on a cold, snowy day in Nebraska’s wintry landscape is an interesting and enjoyable outdoor activity. After all, foraging doesn’t have to be a fair-weather activity, right? But, let’s get this straight: Foraging for wild plant foods in winter is not easy. It’s tough, it’s rough, it’s cold, it’s hard work. Frigid temperatures, snow cover and low-light add to the difficulty. Winter foraging can sometimes be about slim-pickings, too. However, if you have basic knowledge of specific plants, bundle up and put forth the effort …

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An Open Letter to My Grandson on His 2nd Birthday

Dearest Jackson Edward, Today is your birthday, your second birthday. My grandson, this is the day we celebrate you. I’ve been thinking back about the interesting directions on how my love for you has continued to expand this past year. Yes, you’re two, and it’s occurred to me that my love for you actually goes far beyond your connection to me. I see it when you continually say: “Ouuutsiiiiide!” There’s no place you’d rather be in any season than outside, on our porch, on your deck at home, at …

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