Bobcat Ridge Natural Area

Bobcat Ridge Natural Area is one of our newest designated “natural areas,” even though it is outside the city limits.  Pioneers arrived in the area beginning in the 1860s, and various families through the years used the land for agricultural purposes — subsistence farming, dairy operations, then cattle ranching — before the last owners decided to let the city buy the land as a nature preserve.  And it is gorgeous up there!

This morning we strolled (on an accessible trail) to the restored 1917 log cabin:

Bobcat Ridge: Kitchen/Smith Cabin (1917, 2008)
Bobcat Ridge: Kitchen/Smith Cabin (1917, 2008)
View from the Kitchen/Smith Cabin, built in 1917, restored 2008
Bobcat Ridge: View from the Kitchen/Smith Cabin

It was apparently marginal crop and stock land around the cabin, but families managed to live off it for years.  One family had a kitchen garden, and also raised chicken, pigs, and milk cow — no money, but enough to eat — until the well ran dry.  The Natural Areas people installed a new well and hand pump in front of the cabin when they took over the land.

The Kid snapped a picture of a cottontail — she remains rather fond of these bunnies, despite the fact that one (or perhaps a family) of them ate her Arbor Day tree last year:

A Bobcat Ridge Natural Area cottontail
A Bobcat Ridge cottontail

Scattered behind the little cabin are various old farm equipment, including a hay raker, a press wheel for planting different grains, a wheat thresher, a ditcher, a plow, and this:

Bobcat Ridge Natural Area: Corn Planter

. . . . a corn planter, of course!

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