Roadside Flowers

Wildflowers in roadside ditch in O'Brien County

I LOVE it here!

Location: In the ditches along 450th St. near Gaza

Name: Luellen Kay Phelps

Residence: Primghar, Iowa

What, Who, How or Why attracts you to this place?

I really enjoy the variety of plants and wild flowers in the ditches. Each year is different, with some plants in higher numbers one year, while others wait their turn to shine in future years. I love learning their names by looking them up in books and online. With a huge percentage of Iowa given over to farming, there are only tiny pockets of nature here
and there, and they are very precious to me. When parts of the ditches are mown, a wonderful aroma is released. I think it is sweet clover. I gather it and make fragrant wreaths for the house. I look at all the baby cottonwoods in the ditches and imagine they will be allowed to grow, and how beautiful our road would be then!

What makes you happy about O’Brien County?

The smaller streams that still run clear are really exciting finds. I love to see the fish and minnows and frogs and tadpoles. I feel very happy when I see wildlife such as deer, owls, rabbits, pheasants, coyotes, wood ducks and herons.

One memory of “touring” O’Brien County:

Most of my best memories are from gatherings at the Prairie Heritage Center. The first time I ever tasted freshly pressed apple cider was at the Prairie Heritage Fall Fest several years ago. It was so good!! I now have my own apple press. At the same festival I was able to ride in a wagon pulled by beautiful draft horses. They are my favorite kind of horses. I also have a very fond memory of making an owl calling device at the center, which we actually used.

What did you learn during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

I learned that many Americans are capable of cooperating and taking the advice of scientists to keep infections down as much as possible. We can overcome urges to think only of ourselves, and money and greed, and to think about protecting the vulnerable. I learned that one can get used to wearing a mask.

What is one of your favorite quotes?

“ Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard. “ Chief Standing Bear

Roadside wildflower in O'Brien CountyRoadside wildflower in O'Brien County