The Key to Living By Faith

The Key to Living By FaithMany readers can find the Old Testament somewhat confusing in the context of the New Testament, but it doesn’t have to be that way.  The New Testament actually makes the meaning and purpose of the Old Testament clear:

Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith.

—Galatians 3:24

Perhaps one of the clearest explanations of the Old Testament found in the New Testament is the book of Hebrews.  This book of the Bible provides an infallible commentary on much of the Law, explaining the purpose of the Levitical priesthood, animal sacrifices, and much more.

One of the books in the helpful New Inductive Study Series deals specifically with Hebrews: The Key to Living By Faith by Kay Arthur and Pete DeLacy.  The purpose of this guide is not to spell out answers to all of your questions, but rather to train you to find the answers in Scripture.  By marking key words, looking up related passages, tracking chapter themes, and interrogating the text, you will allow the Bible to interpret itself.

Along the way, you will learn what the Bible has to say about some of the topics that cause confusion among believers.  More importantly, you will see the doctrine of justification by grace through faith illustrated—in the Old Testament.

Particularly rich study guide!

Webster State Park

Webster State ParkWhile many Kansas reservoirs were constructed to counteract flooding in the eastern part of the state, some were built to combat drought in the western part.  The area of Webster State Park was settled rapidly during the late 1800s and even the first two decades of the 1900s, but after about 1920 a spell of population decline set in.  Much of the early growth of the region was due to the optimism of the “rain follows the plow” doctrine.  The decline was due to a vision-shattering drought which morphed into a terrifying Dust Bowl.

The leader of the movement to dam the South Fork of the Solomon River was a Rooks County woman named Lavina Fry.  Starting in the early 1930s, she put her pen to work, requesting the attention of state officials.  Progress could only continue if irrigation was possible, and a reservoir seemed like a sound choice.  Mrs. Fry’s proposal met with approval among most state officials, but they could carry the idea only so far.  To actually bring the plan to fruition, the resources of the Bureau of Reclamation would be necessary.

After persistent letter writing and lobbying, the Bureau of Reclamation finally moved to investigate the suggestion.  A study of the area in 1939 convinced federal officials that a dam on the South Fork of the Solomon River would be useful for irrigation purposes.  Bureau of Reclamation regional engineer William G. Sloan worked the proposal into a broader plan to irrigate the entire Missouri River basin, and in 1944 the United States Congress combined the Sloan plan with another idea from the Army Corps of Engineers to provide flood control across the region.

Under the Flood Control Act of 1944, the necessary authorization of Webster Reservoir was provided.  Funds, however, were slow in coming.  It was not until the Great Flood of 1951 that money was readily forthcoming for dam construction.

Work on the reservoir finally began in 1953.  The town of Webster was in the path of the inundation, but in this case the residents were largely in favor of the dam—they had worked hard to see the plan come to pass.  A new town was constructed two miles to the southeast without much protest.

The dam was officially completed in 1956, and irrigation facilities came next.  The state park was added to the lineup of Kansas parks in 1965.



  1. Take U.S. Highway 24 west out of Stockton, driving about nine miles from the intersection with U.S. Highway 183.
  2. Turn left on 10 Road and continue for about half a mile to enter the park.



Webster State Park is located in the Smoky Hills, near its intersection with the High Plains.  The vegetation that you will find at the park demonstrates much of the diversity of the former region, including mixed-grass prairie and limited areas of woodlands along streams.  The wildflower display is superb along the hiking trail.

An interesting mix of animals call this park home.  Both grassland and wetland birds can be spotted in the appropriate habitats.  Along the river, watch for a posing painted turtle, as well as signs of mink, beaver, and raccoon.  In summer, scan the cliffs for big brown bats.



Hunting is only allowed in the wildlife area west of the lake.  Space is limited, so be prepared for plenty of competition (hunt during the week for a smaller crowd).  Available species include waterfowl, quail, pheasant, turkey, and both mule and white-tailed deer.

Webster State Park
© 2015 Homestead on the Range


Fishing is fairly good at Webster Reservoir.  Your main opportunities most of the year will be crappie, walleye, wiper, largemouth bass, flathead catfish, and channel catfish.  However, when conditions are ideal, you stand a good chance of catching a bluegill, white bass, or smallmouth bass.

Winter fishing opportunities are available at this park.  Ice fishing can be productive.  Rainbow trout are also stocked in the stilling basin from October through April.



Coyote Trail: A mile-long loop for hikers only leads out of Old Marina Campground in the Oldtown Area.  Interpretive stops offer a closer look at the interesting flora and fauna of the park.  You will see both grassland and floodplain habitats along the way.


Other Opportunities

Learn more about the town of Webster from the kiosk near the picnic area on the south side of Highway 24, just before turning off on 10 Road.


Helpful Resource

Webster State Park
Information to help you plan your trip.  Brochures are also available for download.


Complete Series

Kansas State ParksKansas State Parks


The Breeding Toolbox: Crossbreeding

The Breeding Toolbox: CrossbreedingCrossbreeding is the final tool in the breeding toolbox. The term crossbreeding in its strictest sense refers to mating two purebred animals of different breeds together. This strict use of the word is typically preferred among pet breeders, but in the livestock realm crossbreeding is sometimes used to cover a wide array of breeding systems involving planned crosses between breeds. This includes breeding rotations involving three or more breeds, as well as the use of composite breeds, which are produced through mixing two or more breeds and then maintaining the resulting offspring as a pure breed. An example of a composite breed would be the purebred Braford. (We will use crossbreeding in its broader sense throughout this post.)

Another confusing term related to the practice of crossbreeding is hybrid. Different breeders use this noun very differently. Pearl White Leghorns are sometimes called hybrids even though they are produced by crossing bloodlines of purebred Leghorns—a concept we have already introduced as linecrossing. At the other extreme, in equines a hybrid would be the offspring of a mating between two different species, such as a mule.

Perhaps the best way to explain the term hybrid—at least for the sake of this discussion—would be to define it as any animal that displays hybrid vigor, which would include both the purebred Pearl White Leghorn and the crossbred mule. Thus a hybrid animal could be the product of either linecrossing or crossbreeding.

How It Works

In short, crossbreeding works by pairing unlike genes together to produce the phenomenon of hybrid vigor. Many health, reproductive, and performance traits are inherited in a very complicated manner and appear to be enhanced by hybrid vigor. Some of these traits include:

  • Disease resistance.
  • Longevity.
  • Egg production.
  • Fertility.
  • Milk yield.
  • Rapid growth.
  • Frame size.
  • Weight.

However, hybrid vigor does not guarantee that all crossbred animals will display all of these traits all of the time (more on that below).

The mechanism by which crossbreeding pairs unlike genes together was already discussed in the post on linecrossing. However, because in crossbreeding different breeds instead of different bloodlines of the same breed are involved, the effects are more dramatic. The offspring of a crossbreeding system will end up with more pairs of unlike genes than the offspring of a linecrossing system.

The extent to which variability will be introduced through crossbreeding will depend on how similar the two breeds are to one another and how consistent the genetics are within each breed individually. Hybrid vigor is typically maximized when:

  • Each parent breed is strongly inbred (and therefore very consistent).
  • The two breeds in question are very different from one another in many traits.

These two conditions ensure that the maximum number of unlike genes are paired in the offspring.


Crossbreeding is almost always practiced as a means of capitalizing on hybrid vigor. However, different crossbreeding systems are used to achieve different goals.

In terminal crossing, the crossbred offspring are not expected to reproduce. Two breeds are carefully chosen for their compatibility, each one being expected to bring to the table a specific set of positive traits to offset the negative traits of the other, resulting in offspring that are superior in some way to either parent breed. Those offspring will then be expected to perform in a given manner, such as laying eggs, producing milk, fattening up for slaughter, pulling a plow, or even (in the case of crossbred herding dogs) moving cattle. When the animals have passed their useful life expectancy, they will either be retired or butchered—not bred. This is because hybrid vigor is maximized in the first generation of a cross (more on that below).

Rotational crossbreeding systems involve breeding crossbred offspring back to one of the parent breeds. The offspring of this new mating are then bred to the other parent breed, and so on. Hybrid vigor is significantly reduced but not eliminated after the first generation in this system, since at least a portion of the genes will recombine and form like pairs again, as we will see in a moment. To raise hybrid vigor levels in subsequent generations, some producers introduce new breeds every so often.

In composite breeding, several breeds with desired traits are systematically crossed and recrossed until a stable population is achieved. This population is then managed as a pure breed, each animal being mated only to other members of the same composite breed. Obviously, this system is a compromise between consistency and hybrid vigor.

Sometimes crossbreeding is used to improve a pure breed in a practice called upgrading. In this system, the offspring of the initial cross are mated back to animals of the breed being improved. A series of such matings are made until the population reaches a desired percentage of purity. Upgrading is used for three primary purposes:

  • Eliminating inbreeding depression in a rare breed, as was done in Ankole Watusi cattle.
  • Introducing a new trait into an established breed; for example, many beef cattle breeds from Continental Europe were upgraded with Angus cattle to introduce the black coat color.
  • Changing breeds without selling an entire herd or flock and starting over from scratch.


The Breeding Toolbox: Crossbreeding
Red Star hen

Some crossbreeding systems are extremely complicated and require significant capital and a large land base to maintain, since several breeds have to be kept. Simple crossbreeding systems usually take one of two forms:

  • Terminal crossing.
  • Breeding programs that involve a sacrifice of hybrid vigor, such as keeping a composite breed or breeding crossbred animals back to each parent breed in alternation.

The major difficulty with crossbreeding is that hybrid vigor is maximized in the first generation and can only decrease thereafter, since the genes will recombine and often form like pairs again. Take the illustration of the black bull with a genetic formula of BB and the red cow with a formula of bb mentioned in the post on linecrossing. If these two animals are bred to each other, all of their offspring produced over their lifespans will be black, but will have the genetic formula Bb. Note what happens when this new generation is bred:

  • Bb bred to BB produces 50% BB and 50% Bb offspring.
  • Bb bred to bb produces 50% Bb and 50% bb offspring.
  • Bb bred to Bb produces 25% BB, 50% Bb, and 25% bb offspring.

No matter what we breed the hybrid Bb cattle to, we will end up with some like genes paired together once again, and therefore a loss of hybrid vigor.

Furthermore, because there are several ways that each gene pair can combine, mating crossbred animals will inevitably produce inconsistent results. Some of the offspring will be superior animals suitable for carrying on the breeding program, many will be merely average, and some will be very far from achieving the breeder’s goals. If the breeder has ample time and resources, as well as a clear plan, he can gradually shape this population into a stable and useful composite breed. For producers who are looking for the quick fix or the surefire solution, terminal crossing with a proven combination of breeds is probably a better choice.

Another problem is the mysterious aura that surrounds the concept of hybrid vigor. Crossbreeding is not a silver bullet. Crossing animals with poor health and temperaments does not magically produce animals with good health and temperaments, unless the genetic strengths of one parent happen to overlap with the genetic weaknesses of the other parent. In rare cases, the genetic weaknesses of one parent can actually mask the genetic strengths of the other parent. This is why there are proven combinations in animal breeding, crosses that are made over and over again because of their consistent results.

However, compromises must often be made when crossbreeding for hybrid vigor. The boost that hybrid vigor can give to a desired performance trait may come with a price. One of the hybrids preferred for commercial production of brown eggs is a cross between a Plymouth Rock hen and a Rhode Island or New Hampshire rooster. This combination, known by a variety of names including Red Star and Golden Comet, is a spectacular layer thanks to hybrid vigor. It lays tremendous eggs, however, and over time this will affect its health in a number of ways, from depleting its calcium reserves to damaging its internal organs. Likewise, commercial Cornish cross broilers put on the weight fast, growing those big, tender chicken breasts you see at the grocery store. Hybrid vigor causes this incredible growth—at the price of high mortality due to a number of leg and heart problems.

In some cases, a poorly chosen or accidental crossbreeding can result in the phenomenon of outbreeding depression. Outbreeding depression occurs when two populations, each suited for a particular environment or purpose, are crossed, resulting in offspring that are suited for neither environment or purpose. In other words, the crossbred offspring are inferior to both parent breeds, at least for any practical use. An example of outbreeding depression would be a cross between a classic llama and a woolly llama. A classic llama is combed out to collect a tough, durable fiber, although it is more valuable for its working ability. A woolly llama is sheared to obtain a fleece that can be spun like fine sheep’s wool. A crossbred llama has a coat with characteristics of both and the benefits of neither—its fleece contains too much coarse fiber to make a garment that anyone will enjoy wearing, but is too dense and woolly to permit the animal to regulate its body temperature when at work. Outbreeding depression is one of the reasons pure breeds arose in the first place and that very specific crosses are favored in situations when a little more hybrid vigor is required.

A Final Thought

As we have seen, all four of the tools in the breeding toolbox have advantages. They all have pitfalls, too. There is no such thing as a silver bullet in any area of life, including animal breeding. Each breeder must decide for himself what his goals are and must make sure that those goals are realistic and useful. Then he must chart his own path, using the tool or ideally a combination of tools that will bring him to those goals step by step.

Helpful Resource

Choosing a Breed of CattleChoosing a Breed of Cattle
Are purebred or crossbred cattle right for you? This book will help you decide with a practical comparison of the advantages of both options geared toward beginners. Free sample pages are available here.

General’s Pastel Chalk Pencils

General's Pastel Chalk PencilsWhen working with pastels, precision can be difficult to achieve.  Fortunately, pastel pencils make it easier.

Pastel pencils have several applications, but there are two situations in which they particularly come in handy:

  • Laying out an initial sketch to fill in with soft pastels.
  • Bringing out details to finish a piece of artwork.

The advantage of using a pastel pencil versus a corner or edge of a hard pastel is that the artist has more control.  The point can be sharpened just like any other pencil to create fine lines and tiny dots.

While there are many excellent pastel pencils on the market, the amateur artist will probably appreciate the balance between quality and economy that General’s pencils offer.  We have used many types of General’s pencils over the years and have always been satisfied—they don’t seem to break readily and they consistently produce good results.

This set comes with 12 colors of pencils, making it a useful and affordable introduction to pastel pencils.  A sharpener is included.  Use it exclusively on your pastel pencils to avoid smudging their tips with charcoal dust or smearing pastel colors on your graphite pencils.

Great choice for aspiring pastel artists!

Tuttle Creek State Park

Tuttle Creek State ParkTuttle Creek Reservoir has the dubious distinction of being one of the most controversial lakes in Kansas history. Tuttle Creek was named for local resident and Mexican–American War veteran Henry Tuttle. A dam on Tuttle Creek was authorized in 1938 by the Flood Control Act, partly as a safety measure, partly as a source of employment under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. Planning stalled for several years due to a lack of funding, but money became available in 1944.

When the residents of the area to be inundated by Tuttle Creek Reservoir realized that matters were coming to a head, a heavy protest effort was launched. The project dragged on until the Great Flood of 1951. With heavy rainfalls across the Midwest, the Kansas and Missouri rivers became overwhelmed. Eight feet of water covered the business district of Manhattan, Kansas, and similarly disastrous flooding occurred in Topeka, Lawrence, and Kansas City. Residents and businessmen of these cities began clamoring for the construction of a dam on Tuttle Creek and numerous other steams in Kansas and other states, as well. An appropriation was hastily pushed through the United States Congress in the final hours of the 1952 session, and suddenly Tuttle Creek was at the center of a national debate on flood control and dam construction.

Rural interests protested vigorously against the ability of a handful of large cities to destroy cropland and displace locals from their homes. Engineers worked out alternative plans involving small dams, flood-plain zoning, and improvements to river channels in heavily populated areas. Congress hesitated briefly in the face of such a determined opposition and refused to continue funding to the project in 1953. Ironically, however, the Great Flood was followed by an extended drought in 1952 and 1953. Big-dam proponents observed that a reservoir would ensure water quality and downstream navigation in such situations, and funding was restored in 1955.

Charged with the task of building Tuttle Creek Reservoir, the Army Corps of Engineers set to work preparing the land for construction. Roads and railroads had to be rerouted, homes had to be torn down, and entire cemeteries had to be dug up and moved. Construction affected ten small towns, as well as 55,000 acres of farmland. Court orders were necessary to convince some of the residents to leave, and construction dragged on for several years. The reservoir was finally completed in July 1962 and dedicated in June 1963.

An unusual flaw in the design of Tuttle Creek Reservoir was discovered in the late 1980s. Earthquakes across the country as well as historical records of earthquakes in the Manhattan area drew fresh attention to Tuttle Creek State Park. Seismic evaluations, using technologies that were new at the time, were carried out and revealed that the lake is near the most active part of the Humboldt Fault Zone, a series of faults running south through southeastern Nebraska before angling southwest through Kansas. Evaluations indicated that a sufficiently large earthquake could cause the dam to fail and inundate Manhattan. Work began to reinforce the dam with concrete walls and install a system of warning sensors, projects that were not completed until recent years.

Proponents of the big dam project felt justified in their views after major flooding hit the region in 1993. Tuttle Creek Reservoir held the water back for weeks, but finally steps had to be taken to preserve the dam. In late July, all of the floodgates were opened and the waters poured out of the spillway, creating a roar that could be heard clearly half a mile away, sometimes even further. When the gates were closed almost three weeks later, a 20-foot-deep canyon was discovered in what had once been a grassy area used for recreation.

Is Tuttle Creek State Park a success? Opinions vary. Water quality is becoming a major issue, with pesticides entering the water supply and silt slowly filling up the reservoir. Also, many former residents of towns at the bottom of the lake still feel that something of value was lost when their communities were inundated. On the other hand, the reservoir probably saved a considerable amount of money in flood damage in 1993, and the park is definitely a valuable tourist attraction, drawing more visitors on a regular basis than any other state park in Kansas.

Tuttle Creek State ParkDirections

  1. Take U.S. Highway 24 northwest out of Manhattan.
  2. Turn right on Kansas Highway 13 and continue for about 1-3/4 miles.
  3. Turn right onto River Pond Road and continue about 1-1/4 miles to reach the park office and pay station.


Tuttle Creek State Park is located on the northeastern edge of the Flint Hills. Its habitats are quite varied, ranging from marshes to tallgrass prairie. While the woodlands at this park are not extensive, they contain diverse species, such as oak, hickory, walnut, and maple, among others. The grasslands take center stage, however.

Wildlife species vary with the landscape. The lake harbors an impressive array of waterfowl and shorebirds, while smaller ponds attract bald eagles, muskrats, and beavers. The grasslands are home to an abundance of birds and mammals, ranging from the coyote to the greater prairie chicken, as well as some uncommon and hard-to-spot sparrow species.

Rockhounds will love the opportunities available to them at Tuttle Creek State Park. Limestone boulders and outcroppings are visible in several places, but the highlight is the canyon near the spillway. This part of the park, already conveniently excavated by the flood waters of 1993, is packed with fossils.


An abundance of wildlife and an extensive system of public lands makes hunting excellent at this park. Many hunters have enjoyed successful duck hunting in the marsh, while deer and turkey are readily available along streams. Other options include dove, quail, pheasant, and squirrel.

For practice and educational programs, stop by Fancy Creek Range in the Fancy Creek Area at the north end of the lake. Targets are provided for both archery and firearms. A new archery range is also available in the River Pond Area.

Tuttle Creek State ParkFishing

Flathead and channel catfish reign supreme at Tuttle Creek State Park. However, crappie and white and largemouth bass can be caught in brushy areas, and saugeye are frequently present near the dam. For trout fishing, try your luck at Willow Lake in the River Pond Area below the dam.


  • Cottonwood Trail: This easy hiking trail is about a quarter of a mile long one way and runs through the eastern side of the River Pond Area. As you walk, you will learn more about the flora and fauna of the park.
  • Cedar Ridge Trail: A handicapped-accessible loop through the Cedar Ridge Area, this trail is open for hiking only. The trail is about 3/4 of a mile long. Woodlands are the highlight.
  • Blue River Trail: This mile-long loop through Outlet Park is sandwiched between the River Pond Area and the Big Blue River. The wildlife viewing opportunities are particularly good on this interpretive path. Hiking only.
  • Western Heritage Trail: For hikers only, this trail follows the Big Blue River for 1-1/4 miles one way. If you like riparian landscapes, you’ll probably enjoy this scenery.
  • ancy Creek Mountain Bike Trail: A tough six-mile loop, this trail for both hikers and bikers loops through the Fancy Creek Area. The rough terrain, many hills, and rocky ridges combine to create one of the steepest mountain bike trails in Kansas. It is frequently used for competitions.
  • Randolph Equestrian Trail: The better maintained of the two horse trails at Tuttle Creek State Park, the Randolph trail system offers 13 miles of great views. Woods, prairie, lake, rocks—you’ll see it all. Open for both hiking and horseback riding.
  • Carnahan Park Trails: The main trail system at Carnahan Park on the east side of the lake is a five-mile loop for hiking and horseback riding. This trail is challenging, but the wildlife and scenic views make it worthwhile. There is also a 12-mile linear trail that heads north before doubling back to follow the west side of Carnahan Cove. This one is not for the faint of heart, since it is poorly marked and frequently waterlogged.
  • Spillway Cycle Area: East of the River Pond Area is a 45-acre strip of land, mostly but not entirely wooded, set aside for bicycles and small motorized vehicles. Several trails accommodate all skill levels. Visitors are requested not to use the trails when muddy.
  • Tuttle Creek ORV Area: Open to both motorized and non-motorized vehicles, this 310-acre area on the east side of the lake was designed to be challenging. Be prepared for some rough terrain. Visitors are requested not to use the trails when muddy.
Tuttle Creek State Park
© 2015 Homestead on the Range

Other Opportunities

For a little sightseeing, head up to the Kansas Highway 16 bridge across the northern part of the lake. This bridge holds the distinction of being the longest in Kansas. As you drive across, scan the marshes to the north of the bridge for remnants of Old Randolph, the only town to be rebuilt elsewhere after inundation by the reservoir.

Boating is a major attraction at Tuttle Creek State Park. The reservoir is considered an excellent sailing lake, while River Pond provides calm water for canoes and kayaks (rentals available). All boaters, however, should exercise caution, as Tuttle Creek Reservoir contains many submerged hazards.

Tuttle Creek State Park offers a particularly diverse lineup of organized events, as well. Organized hikes, youth hunts, and eagle watching are just the beginning.

Helpful Resource

Tuttle Creek State Park
Information to help you plan your trip. Brochures are also available for download.

Complete Series

Kansas State ParksKansas State Parks


The Breeding Toolbox: Linecrossing

The Breeding Toolbox: LinecrossingLinecrossing is the practice of mating animals that are of the same breed, but from different lines (bloodlines are established by the process of linebreeding). Some breeders call this process outcrossing. However, since some producers use outcrossing to refer to crossbreeding, we have chosen the term linecrossing for clarity.

Going back to our imaginary horses again, Tumbleweed is a good example of linecrossing. Even though Dust Devil comes from an inbred bloodline, he was mated to an unrelated mare of the same breed (Sunflower) to produce Tumbleweed. Because of this linecrossing, Tumbleweed has no significant inbreeding. If we were to trace his pedigree back over many generations, we would probably find related ancestors, but their contribution to his genetics would be so small as to be negligible.

The Breeding Toolbox


How It Works

Because the primary purpose of linebreeding is to encourage genetic consistency in a given population, linebred animals typically have many like genes, as explained earlier in this series. Bloodlines within the same breed will have many similarities, but they will also have differences, as each breeder has shaped the genetics of his animals to reach his own unique goals.

When animals of two different bloodlines are mated, the genes that they share in common will continue to stay alike in their offspring. For example, suppose we cross two bloodlines of Angus cattle. The sire and the dam come from families with very different production characteristics, but they are both Angus and they are both black (represented by the formula BB). While their production traits will be paired in new ways in their calf, it will, like them, be black and obviously an Angus. The unique physical characteristics that make an Angus an Angus will be passed on in spite of the linecrossing. The reason is illustrated by the genetic formula for black color: the sire, having two copies of the B gene, will pass one copy of the B gene on to the calf, and the dam will do likewise. Thus the calf will also have the formula BB.

However, because there are differences between each bloodline, the offspring of a cross between two lines will not always receive pairs of like genes from its parents. For example, in a cattle breed where both black and red coat colors are accepted, a breeder might mate a black (BB) bull to a red (bb) cow. The resulting calf would look black, but because its formula would be Bb an element of genetic variability would be introduced. This calf would possess traits of both bloodlines, and might pass on characteristics of either to its future offspring.


The Breeding Toolbox: LinecrossingApplications

Linecrossing is primarily used as a way to promote hybrid vigor in purebred animals. As linebreeding is continually practiced, the inbreeding coefficient gradually rises, and inbreeding depression can become a result. Many breeders will then use a linecross to “bring in outside blood.” This brings the inbreeding coefficient back down to virtually zero in the resulting offspring, and the breeding program can continue. In some livestock breeds, such as Texas Longhorn cattle and White Leghorn chickens, linecrossing is the most common way that producers raise animals that are viewed as typical of the breed. The resulting hybrid vigor imparts size and additional horn length to the Longhorn and incredible egg-laying ability to the Leghorn.

Another way that linecrossing can be useful is in preserving genetic diversity within a specified population, making it a very important tool in the hands of conservation breeders, those who preserve rare breeds of livestock. A common practice in conservation breeding is to divide the population into similar lines, maintain those lines separately for the most part, and cross the lines every so often. This strategy tends to keep a broad range of genetic variation available within the breed, even if its numbers are low. Maintaining genetic variation is critical in rare breeds to avoid inbreeding depression and ultimate extinction.



The main drawback of linecrossing is variability, particularly in subsequent generations. Any time that unlike genes are paired, a certain level of instability is introduced into the population. For example, take a look at the Bb calf we mentioned above. If, after he has matured into an adult bull, he is bred to a BB cow, his offspring could be either BB like his mate or Bb like himself. If this bull is bred to bb cow, there will an equal chance of producing a Bb calf or a bb calf. And if the bull is bred to another Bb cow, they will have a 25% chance of producing a BB calf, a 50% chance of producing a Bb calf, and a 25% chance of producing a bb calf.

This is why some producers feel that animal breeding is such a shot in the dark. The genetic variability inherent in breeding linecrossed animals will probably result in some animals that are regarded as brilliant, some that are merely average, and some that are of terrible quality, no matter what objectives they would be required to meet. For this reason, linecrossed White Leghorns are typically not expected to reproduce themselves—they are butchered after their egg-laying days are over.

However, because some level of hybrid vigor is necessary to ensure the survival of a population, many breeders use linecrossing in combination with other tools, particularly linebreeding. Linecrossing is used to counter the rising inbreeding coefficients of a linebreeding system, while linebreeding is used to cement desired traits into the bloodline despite the variability of linecrossing. Neither tool is a silver bullet.

Loving God With All Your Mind

Loving God With All Your MindWhat does it mean to love God with all your mind?

The answer is probably not as complicated as you think.

In Loving God With All Your Mind, author Elizabeth George recalls her struggle with depression before seguing into the solutions she found in Scripture.  Six verses changed her life:

  1. Philippians 4:8.
  2. Matthew 6:34.
  3. Philippians 3:13–14.
  4. Romans 8:28.
  5. Jeremiah 29:11.
  6. Romans 11:33.

By coming to an understanding of these verses, George teaches us not only how to rein in our thoughts and emotions, but how to love God with our minds.

Learn how to think on the truth, defeat worry, and keep on keeping on by learning to trust in God’s goodness.  Great book for women.

Scott State Park

Scott State Park
Example of Scott County scenery, taken about a mile south of the park

The area of Scott State Park has a particularly rich heritage. It was once the home of the Apache tribe, but various Pueblo Indians fled to its remote expanses to escape the tyranny of the Spaniards of New Mexico. Later it became the home of French troops contesting the right of Spain to the Great Plains.

The departure of the French in the 1760s marked the beginning of a relatively inactive period of history. Plains tribes roamed over what is now a state park, but otherwise the landscape was quiet for over a hundred years.

But things changed again with the arrival of the Steele family in 1888. These pioneers took advantage of the natural springs and the irrigation ditches left many years before by the Pueblos to start a thriving garden. But their interests were not strictly agricultural and commercial. The Steele family, evidently fascinated by the archaeological significance and natural beauty of the area, eventually dreamed of sharing their home with others.

In 1928, the Steele family donated their homestead to the Kansas Forestry, Fish, and Game Commission. A dam was constructed the next year to create a recreational lake, and in 1930 a monument was erected to honor the homesteaders.

Unfortunately, after a little initial excavating, the archaeological remains left by the Pueblos were allowed to crumble for several decades. Interest revived when the ruins of their adobe structure were listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1964. Restoration began several years later.

This unique and historically important park has received due recognition in more recent years. It was an 8 Wonders of Kansas finalist, and was also chosen by National Geographic as one of America’s “50 must-see state parks.”



  1. Take U.S. Highway 83 north out of Scott City (about 9 3/4 miles from the intersection with Kansas Highway 96).
  2. Turn left onto Kansas Highway 95 and continue for 3 miles.
  3. Turn left onto West Scott Lake Drive to enter the park (watch for the signs).



Scott State Park showcases the dry prairie scenery of the High Plains. But yucca and shortgrass species are not all that you will see—natural springs and streams provide just enough water for woodlands. As a result, the flora is surprisingly diverse. Be sure to take some time to enjoy the wildflowers.

An impressive diversity of wildlife calls Scott State Park home. Mammals include everything from ground squirrels to beavers to swift foxes to pronghorn antelope. Also stop and see the buffalo pasture on the east side of the park. Birdwatchers will enjoy the challenge of spotting yellow-breasted chats near the trails, rock wrens along canyon walls, and black-billed magpies in a variety of locations within the park. But don’t overlook the smaller forms of animal life, either—the incredible wildflower display attracts an equally interesting mix of butterflies. And that’s not all. Big Springs, not far from the park entrance, is the one and only habitat in the world where the endangered Scott riffle beetle has been found. This little beetle lives underwater, carrying its own oxygen supply in the form of an air bubble.

Rockhounds and photographers alike will love the geological features of Scott State Park. Take some time to enjoy the scenic bluffs. Also take a look at the natural springs, all fed by the Ogallala Aquifer.



Hunting is restricted to the wildlife area west of the main park area. This is a relatively small space, but you still have a fair chance at shooting waterfowl, turkey, or deer.

Scott State Park
© 2015 Homestead on the Range


The most abundant species of fish in the lake are bluegill and sunfish. However, fishing for channel catfish is usually productive, and with luck you might reel in a crappie, walleye, or largemouth bass. For something different, try trout fishing in Big Springs in the winter.



  • Big Springs Nature Trail: This quarter-mile walking path circles one of the largest natural springs in Kansas. Big Springs has a flow rate well over 300 gallons per minute and attracts some unique wildlife, including the Scott riffle beetle and a variety of birds. Hiking only.
  • Multi-Use Trail: A seven-mile trail takes visitors all around the lake. Enjoy breathtaking vistas and fresh air. Short on time? Stick to the west side of the lake—you’ll find better views and less poison ivy. Available for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.


Other Opportunities

Families with children who love the great outdoors but have limited opportunities to enjoy nature may appreciate the events occasionally organized at this park. The focus is on hunting, but presentations of live snakes are usually provided, as well.

If history is your interest, you might enjoy looking at the restored foundation of El Cuartelejo, the home of the Pueblo Indians who attempted to escape Spanish rule by taking refuge in Kansas. This structure was made of adobe and had seven rooms. Archaeological evidence suggests that the majority of the pueblo may have been destroyed by fire.

The sandstone house built by the Steele family 1909 is also located in the park. Although mostly unaltered, it has been converted into a museum to introduce visitors to the daily life of early 1900s homesteaders. Tools and furniture are on display. Nearby is a monument to the Steele family.


Helpful Resources

Scott State Park
Information to help you plan your trip. Brochures are also available for download, including one about El Cuartelejo.

El Cuartelejo: A Place of Refuge
More on the history of this unique landmark.

Scott Optioservus Riffle Beetle
More about this rare insect.


Complete Series

Kansas State ParksKansas State Parks