Prairie Preserve

A native grassland remnant turns landowners into stewards.

| July/August 2009

Burning Field for Pasture Health
Pasture Grass Should be Mowed 

When my husband David and I hit our 40s, we didn’t experience a midlife crisis, but we did hear the siren song of country life. We started to dream of owning land. And that dream led us to purchase a most lovely patch of Missouri prairie that fulfilled our dream and so much more.

I can’t say what it was that finally pushed us into making the decision that forever changed our lives. Maybe it was being bumped a little too hard in a crowded mall, or sitting in a cloud of exhaust fumes during rush hour. We wondered what it would be like to replace police sirens and booming car stereos with birdsongs and breezes whistling through the trees.

A dream realized

For more than 20 years we’d lived in a suburb of Kansas City. We raised two daughters there, enjoyed the parks, the giant oak trees that lined our streets and the convenient location. I worked in the legal department of a bank at the time, and David was a systems analyst for a telecommunications company.

After months of searching, we found our land, a 105-acre tract in Cass County, Missouri. We fell in love with its wild beauty, towering oak trees, fragrant cedar groves and wildflower-filled meadows.

On a sunny day in April of 2000, with signed paperwork in hand, the car full of camping gear, and our black Lab squeezed in between sleeping bags and a rolled-up tent, we headed to the property. Once there, we hiked across a field of waist-high grasses to an old elm tree with a decrepit deer stand wedged between its branches. Using weathered boards nailed to the trunk, we pulled ourselves up onto the rickety platform and looked out over what we’d just spent a hefty chunk of our life savings on.

“Are we crazy?” I asked my husband.

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