Plains Folk

Plains Folk, a commentary devoted to life on the great plains of North America, is now a special weekly feature on Main Street. Written by Tom Isern of West Fargo, North Dakota, and read in newspapers across the region for years, Plains Folk venerates fall suppers and barn dances and reminds us that “more important to our thoughts than lines on a map are the essential characteristics of the region–the things that tell what the plains are, not just where they are.” You can hear Plains Folk once a week during Main Street, weekdays at 3 pm CT with a repeat at 7 pm CT.

To read more Plains Folk commentaries, click on the “archives” link.

Recent Shows

  • The Mystery of the Martyrs of Walhalla

    When Charlotte O. Van Cleve happened on the grave of Cornelia Leonard Spencer in Walhalla in 1885, as described in a previous essay, she set in motion a train of remembrance that runs right through to a remarkable historic site in Walhalla Hillside Cemetery today. The site of the Martyrs of Walhalla is beautifully situated […]

  • Discovering the Martyrs of Walhalla

    You look at period photographs of Charlotte Ouisconsin Clark Van Cleve, and you think, this is a tough old woman. Born in 1819, she grew up in a military family at Fort Snelling and other posts. She married an officer, Lieutenant Horatio Van Cleve, in 1836. They served at various posts for two decades until […]

  • The Canvasback on a Prairie Marsh

    Fortunately, my Labrador retriever is gullible. Frequently this time of year, as we range the countryside, a nesting bird—this morning, a hen mallard—erupts noisily from the grass, rising in a ruse to draw danger away from her nest. My Angie, bless her heart, goes for the fake every time. Which is good, because as both […]

  • Jewels of the Plains

    Comes the time of a prairie summer when we give thanks for the treasury of wildflowers that adorn our landscape. “Jewels,” the self-taught horticulturalist Claude Barr called them—but I’ll get around later to him and his wonderful book, Jewels of the Plains: Wildflowers of the Great Plains Grasslands and Hills. You have your favorites, I […]

  • Mr. Abell’s Round Barn

    Gerald, my guide to the ghost town of Burnstad and its vicinity in Logan County, figured he could get us there, but not directly. He knew about the Robert Abell round barn, but the problem was, in this wet hydrological cycle we have seen since the early 1990s, many of the section roads of Gerald’s […]

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