Land and Sky Scenic Byway, Dwight D. Eisenhower

(Frank) Today on Around Kansas you’ll see just how fun the northwest part of Kansas can be in our story about the Land and Sky Scenic Byway! Next learn why Dwight D. Eisenhower will be honored with the first national memorial of the 21st century; then enjoy a poem from Ron Wilson and we’ll end with a look at the unassuming buffalo gourd. Stay with us!Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

(Frank Chaffin) How come I always start? (Deb Goodrich) You’re the boss Frank. (Frank) I don’t know. Good morning. [Laughs] I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) And this is Around Kansas. Anyway, good morning. Do we have breakfast here today, or what? (Deb) You can’t eat those. In my attempt to educate the masses out there, the great unwashed who don’t know about such things. Buffalo gourds, I love just walking around picking up stuff. These things have fascinated me. When I was a kid Frank, my granny grew gourds. Did your granny– did your folks grow gourds? (Frank) No [Laughs]. (Deb) Well my granny, being the most creative person I ever knew, raised gourds. She raised those long neck, the dipper gourds. Remember the dipper gourds? You see a lot of craft people had them for birdhouses, and we did that. But we also actually use for dippers. Frank, do you remember when you could actually drink from a dipper, and nobody thought you’re going to die if you drank from a common dipper? (Frank) Yes. (Deb) We drank from a dipper – we had dippers at church. I can remember when I was a kid, you’d go up to – we didn’t have running water in restrooms and stuff in the church. We were lucky to have them in the house [laughs] actually it was in the church. We had it on the pulpit, and everybody teases me about the way I say that. From the pulpit, there was a little flower arrangement every Sunday, and then there was a dipper and a bucket of water. (Frank) Pool pit. A pulpit. Like, okay. I’m shocked. (Deb) Sue Ann Seel, would give me grief about this all the time. She and Betty Lou Pardue – you can ask them about how I say “pool pit”. But anyway, but I digress. Anyway- (Frank) Why are these called buffalo gourds? (Deb) I guess they were just around where the buffalo were. I don’t know, but they- (Frank) You made it up? (Deb) No, I did not make it up. I don’t make this stuff up. You can’t make this stuff– and I don’t have to make this stuff up. But I’ve always loved gourds because granny and I would do all that stuff. These, actually they’re two really pretty ones. I’ll bring them out later because we’re going to a segment on gourds. I know you can’t wait. We’re going to talk about them. [Laughter] (Frank) Are we going to have to cut away, because I’m waiting for her to tell us what this thing is too. Anyway- [Laughter] (Frank) I think we’re going to have to go the story on buffalo gourds, or whatever these things are called. (Deb) Now that’s- (Frank) This one is empty. (Deb) We’re saving that for last Frank. Actually, it’s got seeds in it. Listen closely, probably deaf. Anyway, since I would go out in Western Kansas – in fact one day, Heather and I were out driving around, and I made Heather stop. Our producer, I made Heather stop, and while I pulled up some buffalo gourd plants, I was going to bring them back to Topeka, and I forgot them and left them in the car. But now, I have them just all around the house. It’s a great world. (Frank) Does she have buffalos now in her car, or what? (Deb) No. We- (Frank) Sorry, that was bad. Bad joke. (Deb) That was bad. That was bad. You can’t wait to get to this, can you? We got some other stories to come in between but, I know you can’t wait for the buffalo gourd story. Stay with us.

(Frank) We’re back. I’m going to sit up straight in my chair and behave. (Deb) I’ll try. I’ll try. All right, we had the dedication of the latest, the Land and Sky Scenic Byway, out in far northwestern Kansas. It was an awesome time. I got to help with tours at Fort Wallace the day before October 5th. All the big wigs are coming out. That night, we had stargazing on Mount Sunflower with our friend, Brenda Culbertson. Remember Brenda, from up near Holton. She is at the observatory up there. She came out to Mount Sunflower and helped educate people about the all of the stars. I’m telling you, Frank, living out there, we don’t live in town. We live up in the country. The sky is so big. It scared me the first couple of nights honestly. I’d walk outside, and I’m, “Whoa,” it was like being in outer space because- (Frank) Now, when you see the Milky Way, and everything out there- (Deb) You see the Milky Way and you just – stars on the horizon in either direction. It’s something. But the Land and Sky Byway obviously celebrates the land and the sky because, it would include the Arikaree Breaks, and all that great different landscapes you get on the high plains. It’s beautiful, and visit the Travel Kansas website to find all the scenic byways that have been designated. I think this one is number 12. They’re just great little scenic drives and wonderful little communities, and it’s just a great way to just bite off a little chunk of Kansas at a time, and enjoy it just a little piece at a time. The latest of the dozen designated scenic Kansas byways to be dedicated is in the far northwestern corner. The Land and Sky Scenic Byway follows 88 amazing miles along Kansas Highway 27 from Sharon Springs north to the Kansas-Nebraska state line. Travelers along the Land and Sky Scenic Byway have the opportunity to experience the Wallace Branch of the Great Western Cattle Trail, scale the highest point in Kansas at Mount Sunflower, and explore the deep canyons and rugged landscape of the Arikaree Breaks. Crossing Wallace, Sherman, and Cheyenne Counties, this byway includes the towns of Sharon Springs, Goodland, and St. Francis. The byway is also the only one in the state that focuses on agriculture and features thousands of acres of rotating crops, livestock and wildlife along the route. The Kansas Byways Program was formed to identify and designate scenic roadways for the enjoyment of the traveling public in Kansas. It is related to the National Scenic Byways Program, a project of the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act (ISTEA). The National Scenic Byways Program seeks to identify and designate national scenic byways to increase tourism and educate the traveling public about our nation’s environment, history and culture. These roadways serve as natural, social, cultural and economic resources for the visitors to the state of Kansas, the people of Kansas and the local communities in which the roadways are located. The program is a cooperative effort among private citizens, local groups, local governments and state government agencies.

(Frank) We’re back again. You know, we were the 34th State, and we also have the 34th president. Isn’t that interesting? (Deb) That’s a cool fact, Frank. Did you vote for him? (Frank) Well, I wasn’t quite old enough yet [laughs]. Believe it or not…anyway. [Laughter] (Frank) But no, I was not old enough yet to vote for him, I was old enough to vote for his successor. (Deb) Cool, yes. (Frank) Anyway, we’re talking about Dwight David Eisenhower, who of course had a brilliant military career, and then became the President of the United States. He grew up in Kansas. (Deb) He often talked about Abilene and how much it meant to him, and how much it meant to come from such a place. I can remember going out there; maybe we were on the first times I was in Abilene. I’m just looking down the tracks and thinking, “This is a good place for a general, or somebody with that kind of responsibility to be from.” Because that’s a wonderful, quiet place you can go back to when your mind – when seems like everything is just craziness all around you. Ike is one of only a couple of people when he was president; it was like a step down from where he’d been [Laughs] as the Supreme Allied Commander. (Frank) Yes, he and Mamie actually met at – it was at the University in Lecompton. (Deb) No, that was his mother and daddy. (Frank) Well. (Deb) Nice try. [Laughter] (Frank) You mean I actually missed that? (Deb) Almost Frank, almost. (Frank) – a non-Kansan has to tell me… I do have a good story though about the Eisenhower Memorial. (Deb) That’s a great story. (Frank) Let’s go to it. Congress approved the Dwight D. Eisenhower National Memorial in 1999. Since then, folks from Tom Hanks to Tom Brokaw have contributed to the memorial, honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower as the Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II and the 34th President of the United States. Senators Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran serve on the bi-partisan committee overseeing the project and Senator Roberts is chair. Why a memorial to Ike? Well, the committee has a lengthy list of reasons. First, Ike understood war as only a soldier could and believed the possibility of World War III, a nuclear war, would be unwinnable for mankind. He set in place a strategy for winning the Cold War that was followed and implemented by future Presidents until the collapse of the Soviet Union. He was influential in bringing World War II to an end and his efforts throughout the War, especially with the planning and execution of D-Day, stopped the Nazi war machine. He also ended the Korean War and maintained active communications with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. This Memorial will not only tell the story of the young man from Kansas who became a great soldier, a U.S. President, and a world leader, but will also reflect the story of America – humble, isolated beginnings, and a rapid ascension on the world stage. Ike’s example is an inspiration that, through leadership, cooperation, and public service, we too can achieve the American dream and make a difference in the world. Eisenhower, like America, rose to the occasion with courage and integrity. Dwight D. Eisenhower´s dedicated service to his country spanned 50 years. It is appropriate that the first national presidential memorial of the 21st century will honor President Eisenhower. If there was ever a moment in our nation’s history to recognize a leader committed to both security and peace for the good of his nation and the world, now is that time. Designer Frank Gehry incorporated elements of Ike’s roots in Abilene in the extensive memorial. “He represents what we should all try to be,” said the artist. Visit the website for more information.

(Ron Wilson) One of the great organizations for farmers historically was the 4-H Club, which is now open to youth, from the new settings; city, or rural. But this is my tribute for the 4-H Club, “Head, Heart, Hands, and Health”. My voice began to quiver, and my knees began to knock, as I had to go forward to give my 4-H talk. I stared down at my paper. My throat just seemed to choke. I was too shy to stand up in front of all these folks. Somehow the words came, and my voice came back big as I told the club about how to show a market pig. It was a rough feeling for a kid I will allege, but then we all stood to recite the 4-H pledge. For head, heart, hands, and health we took the vow, to pursue a better life and make the best, better somehow. My 4-H journey had begun. It took me far and wide, thanks to friends and caring leaders who stood right by my side. I learned that I could give a talk, and then we had good eating. I learned I could judge livestock, and preside over a meeting. Those skills would serve me well, as I progressed on through my life. I found a fellow 4-H’er when I met my lovely wife. Now, our kids are members of the 4-H organization, which makes them part of the third generation. The members still recite the pledge and stand in unison, and have recreation when the business part is done. I see the younger members who get up for their first talk, with their voice all aquiver and their faces pale as chalk. Be assured that I will thank them, and give them lots of praise. For I know that they will learn and grow, throughout their 4-H days. Happy Trails.

(Frank) Okay, I do hear the seeds in- (Deb) See, you hear them in there. They have been used for rattles and everything. This is our haul from the other night. A baseball. There is no end to the uses for these Frank. There’s just no end. These are like little babies, right here, I just pulled the – (Frank) I see. (Deb) Yes, pulled the piece off so you could see that. All right, I had a nice crop of these going in my barnyard, and I had picked these two. These are obviously the prettiest in the bunch, aren’t they Frank? Wouldn’t you agree that those are the nicest? (Deb) All right, these are the nicest in the great barn thing. They do look like little watermelons. Alright, I go back out the other night, and I’m going to pick these so I can bring them in here and show them to you guys, and I go out there, and our horses have stomped all over that vine. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) There wasn’t a thing left. I was so mad. Dr. Jake and I get in the pickup and we drive around the mile section right there, looking if anybody had pulled up behind us, looking for vines and of course it’s almost dark, and I’m blind as a bat anyway, which is why it took me a couple of shots to shoot the snake the other day. But he spotted these, and he went out and picked these out for me. I couldn’t even see him in the grass. (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) Honestly, he had to pick them all for me. But I just love these things. You can see they start drying, and I’ll talk about this in the segment, about all the uses, but I just think they make wonderful decorations; you could paint them. This could be a snowman, Frank. (Frank) [Laughs] You can make yourself a Carmen Miranda hat. (Deb) [Laughs] You could be replaced, you know that? (Frank) [Laughs] (Deb) You’re going to love seeing this gourd segment, I know. Back to the barnyard for another versatile plant lesson! This unassuming plant has many names: buffalo gourd, calabazilla, chilicote, coyote gourd, fetid gourd, fetid wild pumpkin, Missouri gourd, prairie gourd, stinking gourd, wild gourd, and wild pumpkin. It clings to the roadsides in central and western Kansas, and is ideally suited to the plains, having adapted to semi-arid climates and sandy soil. It does not require a lot of rain. One reference said that it is particularly well suited to “marginal agricultural lands.” According to the website, Medicinal Plants of the Southwest, American Indians have used this little gourd for thousands of years. It has been used traditionally in various ways as a food, cosmetic, detergent, insecticide, and ritualistic rattle, said the site. The plant is easily recognized as being a member of the squash or gourd family by the large, yellow, trumpet bloom common to squash or pumpkins. It grows quickly, and with a very long taproot, helps hold the soil in place, though some consider it a nuisance. The taproot can be several feet long and weigh over a hundred pounds. It has been used for laundry soap and shampoo. The website described medicinal uses as everything from a pain reliever to a de-wormer, disinfectant to ulcer cure. As a source of food, the gourd may be cooked like squash when it is young and the seeds may be roasted or ground into meal when the gourd browns. I picked them to dry and decorate. Since painting gourds with my Granny, I have loved their versatility and beauty and these are perfect for crafting. Like so many things beneath our feet, this common little gourd is not so common after all.

(Frank) We’re still putting away gourds. Anyway, I’m Frank. (Deb) I’m Deb. (Frank) We’ll see you somewhere- (Frank & Deb) -Around Kansas. (Frank) [Laughs]

Closed Captioning Brought to you by Ag Promo Source. Together we grow. Learn more at

No Comments Yet.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.