Flint Hills

While most TV chefs are teaching quick and easy recipes, writer Cindy Hoedel wants to slow down. In her latest venture, Hoedel steps in front of the camera to cook without recipes from her Flint Hills kitchen.

Life In The Flint Hills

Sep 15, 2015

Life in rural Kansas attracts different interests than city life-- managing a flock of chickens, tackling food canning and learning a bit of local wisdom are just a few. On this edition of Up to Date, we chat with Kansas City Star writer and columnist Cindy Hoedel about living in the Flint Hills. 


  • Cindy Hoedel is a .
Courtesy Wabaunsee County Historical Society

It's a familiar sight around rural Kansas: Some old, falling-down building, obviously abandoned long ago.

One of those buildings was in Volland, which can’t be even be considered a town — it's just four houses (three of which are empty), a boarded-up white building and an old brick store about an hour and a half west of Kansas City, just beyond the town of Alma (population 800).

Terry Evans / Courtesy: Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

When you live in a town with fewer than 60 residents well, let's just say, there must be something special about it to make you give up the city life.  

Cindy Hoedel did just that when she moved from Kansas City to Chase County, Kansas.  On this edition of Up to Date, Hoedel affirms that the attraction that brought her to the Flint Hills hasn't waned.  Steve Kraske and Hoedel discuss the differences she's experienced between city and country life, what it's like being a former urbanite among native-born rural residents and  how her straw bale gardening is progressing.

Mudkipz_KGM / Flickr--CC

You may have caught wind of a study conducted about a decade ago claiming the state of Kansas was indeed flatter than a pancake. 

Using the 'flattening ratio,' researchers in the geography departments at the University of Texas and Arizona State University concluded the topography of Kansas was flatter than that of a "well-cooked pancake" from the International House of Pancakes (IHOP)

thisisfrommarty / CC-Flickr

Fresh steel-cut oats, dozens of Goldfinches swarming a bird feeder, and charmingly eccentric neighbors are just some of the rustic features of Kansas' Flint Hills.

In the second part of Thursday's Up to Date, we sit down with Kansas City Star writer and columnist Cindy Hoedel to check in on her transition from the big city to the Flint Hills. 


  • Cindy Hoedel is a Kansas City Star writer and lifestyle columnist. 
Steve Kraske / KCUR-FM

Carole Brown has shared with us the dichotomy that is her life. A classical musician, Brown spends a portion of her year living with her parents in Westwood Hills, Kan., and the rest in a cabin with no amenities in the Flint Hills of Kansas.

On this edition of 90-Mile View, Carole is back to talk with host Steve Kraske of her life on the prairie. She's been busy with several projects including a window that took her some time to collect just the right materials before she could construct it.  

A life dictated by the seasons and the weather is always a risky one and no one knows it better than Flint Hills cattle rancher Howard Blender.

Today Howard talks with Steve Kraske about the hazards ranchers face every day.  From the impact of the recent South Dakota snowstorm, to selling cattle by internet auction, Howard tells of the gambles he takes and the best cattleman's answer he ever heard to the question "Why do you keep doing it?".

Steve Kraske / KCUR-FM

Many of us ask ourselves at some point: "What am I doing and why am I doing it?" For one woman the question looms larger with her choice to pursue a lifestyle that embraces isolation and eschews the modern.

USFWS Mountain Prairie / Flickr--Creative Commons

A drive through the Flint Hills in Kansas is one of the 10 iconic U.S. drives, according to Smarter Travel.

Route 177 from Cassoday, Kan. to Manhattan, Kan. runs 87 miles through the last of the rolling tallgrass prairie lands. Along the route are many small towns, including Cottonwood Falls and Council Grove.

Two years of extreme drought. The failure of Congress to pass the Farm Bill. Life hasn't gotten any easier for cattle rancher Howard Blender.

In this edition of 90-Mile View, Howard gives Steve Kraske an update on conditions in Chase County as he and others struggle with the effects of too little rain from Mother Nature and too little support from legislators.

There are few images of the West as iconic as cattle and few people as optimistic as a cattle rancher.  Just ask Howard Blender.