A visit to Kansas

October 17, 2012

Here we are in Kansas, land of cowboys and cattle.

We have come to KS for nine days.  We will attend the anniversary of Zion Brethren in Christ Church, located north of Abilene (more about that in a later bog), meet with the BIC pastors of the area to discuss current issues in BIC World Missions, and have a few days of vacation.

We are starting with vacation, spending three days with Jerry and Vi Dalke on their farm south of Hillsboro. Vi is one of JoLene’s cousins.

Here are two of the berry-producing trees I find on the farm. The evergreen with the blue berries is the Eastern red cedar. The other tree, with the tiny, cherry-like fruit that the birds love to eat, I cannot identify. Do any of my blog readers know what it is?

As I walk around the farm, I see Eastern bluebirds, Western meadowlark, great blue heron, harrier, white-crowned sparrow and black and white warbler, to name a few.

Along the roads I see a corkscrew type of support on the electrical lines.

I have never seen this before Does anyone know what this is and what the purpose is?

Today we went to see the Underground Salt Museum at Hutchinson.

What an adventure! A hoist ride 650 feet below the land surface – walking through a broad underground walkway – looking at various museum displays – learning about the rock salt that is mined here for use on America’s roadways and for cattle feed. There are 150 miles of tunnels here! This is a working mine, but the tour and museum area are far from where the current work is under way.

Above, the long passageway with information about the salt deposit here and the mine. The walls and ceiling are all natural salt deposit. The floor is “salt-crete” instead of concrete. Photo from the Museum’s web site.

Trams used for one of the rides through the tunnels. This photo is also from the Museum’s web site.

 

A sample of rock salt at it is found in the mine. The color is mostly white with black streaks from mineral impurities. This sample looks pink because of the effect of my flash.

 

A photo I took of our group ready for a train ride. I guess my flash is second-rate, hence the poor image quality.

It is always 68 degrees down here. Fresh air is blown into the mine 24 hours a day.

88 of the vacated “rooms” are used by Underground Vaults and Storage to store thousands of valuable records, movie films and artifacts from U.S. and around the world. I wonder if they would like my old sermon manuscripts and handwritten notes!

There are 13 salt mines of one kind or another in the U.S., but this museum is the only one of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

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