f you cold see Nebraska through my eyes, you would see through the window of my home, which once housed each Nebraska-born generation of my family, I see the vast and glorious Nebraska landscape of my ranch before me. The family ranch was homesteaded in 1887 by my great-grandparents. Its unique land erupts with badland formations, prairie grasslands, and the burnt pine and cedar forest converging along a lengthy limestone and clay cliff to the west of my house - the very scene my great-grandparents viewed 130 years ago and I view now. The ranch and its unique landscape is known as a Natural National Landmark, but to all generations beginning with my great-grandparents, it was and is simply beautiful.
When I ride horseback, I marvel at the same prairie the Native Americans once trod in search of food and shelter while following the bison herds. Like the Native Americans with the bison, I have a kindred lifestyle with my cattle. In recent years, very little change has happened to this historic and familiar landscape, despite a few buildings rising and falling, wind erosion, fires, and floods. Walking across this land today must feel similar to when the Paleo-Indians also walked along the land 10,000-15,000 years ago.
Despite little change occurring in my ranch’s landscape in the past 15,000 years, I am amazed at the sight of the distinctive badlands knowing they have undergone a drastic change in their own history. The badlands provide a home to 30-million-year-old fossil remains of animals that roamed freely across the backdrop of my ranch. Those animals were unlike wildlife that now exist on this unusual geographic wonder. The structural remains of these animals indicate the changes this landscape has undergone. I truly believe I am fortunate to experience the beauty of Nebraska.
My name is Jean and this is Our Heritage Guest Ranch in Northwestern Nebraska at Crawford through my eyes.