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  Bitter Cold and Scorching Heat    
People on the Prairie
Temperature Extremes
Prairie to Farmland
Prairie Ecosystems
Prairie Restoration
Planting a Prairie Garden
Human Voices
Inspiration for Art
Restoration Game
Teacher Orientation
Winter on the prairie
Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Preserve

"The deep ruts in the road were frozen and glazed with ice; the wind had a clean sweep across the prairies, a sweep that sometimes seemed about to carry Jethro before it. Tears froze on his cheeks, and the cold pounded against his forehead as he trudged along, weighted by the heavy, over-sized shoes and the many layers of clothing. It was bitter, but not beyond the ordinary; suffering at the mercy of the elements was accepted by Jethro as being quite as natural as the hunger for green vegetables and fresh fruit that was always with him during the winter."
-from Irene Hunt's Across Five Aprils

"In the summer the sun was so hot it burnt everything yellow dry. Some days the heat was so intense that we were not allowed outside the shade of the house. One day I saw the horizon swimming in ripples like water and, as I watched, shapes began to appear."
from Brett Harvey's My Prairie Year: Based on the Diary of Elenore Plaisted

Although the settlers on the prairie learned to produce bountiful harvests, their new environment also brought them hardships. The prairie environment was one of hot, humid summers followed by harsh and bitterly cold winters.

Settlers found few trees and fewer lakes or ponds to help them escape from the intense summer heat. Through the summer, they were plagued by swarms of insects. 

In winter, freezing ice storms left everything coated in thick sheets of ice. Intense winds swept the prairie bringing swirling snow. People got lost travelling from one town or homestead to another in these snowstorms. Sometimes when the snow was particularly thick, they tied ropes to lead them between their barns and homes.

In the spring and fall, when settlers plowed the fields, winds coated everything with dust. It was hard to keep things clean.

People withstood these hardships for the promise of a bountiful harvest from the fertile soil. 

Prairie in summer
Sand Prairie Scrub Oak Nature Preserve 

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