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Filed under: prairie musings, Eat, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 5:43 pm


Ally and I went to Wilson today and had lunch at Made From Scratch.  When we walked in Jane Reilly’s restaurant we saw a cream pies cooling on a table…chocolate, banana cream, peanut butter, coconut cream and raisin cream.  This is only a small sampling of the 180 pies she had baked since yesterday afternoon.  Most were special orders and only because of a stroke of good luck did I land the coconut cream pie pictured above on the right with the toasted coconut on top.  I’ll take it to Karen and Todd’s tomorrow.

Jayne makes excellent pies…her crusts are brown and layered-flaky, the fillings excellent.  Her meringues are sky high which doesn’t show up too well in this picture.  She also baked Dutch apple, three berry, gooseberry, rhubarb, pecan, pumpkin, cherry…and I can’t remember what else.    I splurged and had a piece of chocolate pie for dessert today…still slightly warm.


Ally had homemade (as everything is at Made From Scratch) ham and bean soup for lunch.  And, I had one of her famous hamburgers made from 3/4 pound of fresh 90% lean ground beef, with cheese, trimmings and homemade chips.


It’s by far the best cheeseburger in the county, in  my opinion.  It’s the only thing you’ll need to eat for two days.

This is pomegranate season and here are a couple Karen found for me in Salina that are really something to write home about.  It’s hard to capture the size of these with a camera, but  they are huge in comparison to most that are available.  Oh, to live in California during pom season.


Thanks for tuning in…and…have a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 4:57 pm

There’s nothing better than a murder mystery in an historic hotel.

The exciting, fun event, “Celebrity Celebration Murder Mystery”, will be held at the Midland Railroad Hotel in Wilson Kansas, Nov. 19, 2011.   Wilson is at the south end of the Post Rock Scenic Byway and west of historic Ellsworth .

Space is limited for participants so call now to reserve your room and “character”.

The fun begins at 5:30pm, with dinner at 7 p.m. For more information and reservations, call 785-658-2284.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 2:05 pm



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth, Tyler Britton USAF, Wilson, Barack Obama — Peg Britton @ 4:14 pm

The weather is making me “draggy”.  I’m listless about doing the laundry, picking up “stuff”, writing letters, cooking and other menial, but necessary,  every day chores.  The exception is paying bills;  I don’t dare put them off until a cooler day.

It was my intention to be very lazy this morning and watch Obama on the View.  I like to watch “the girls” occasionally, and made a point to do it this morning.  Wouldn’t you know.  The phone was ringing off the wall.  And just when Obama came on, Tyler called.  Well, you know what I wanted most with those two choices:  talk with my grandson.  We haven’t had a good visit in a very long time. I like hearing him weigh the various options he has in determining his education and goals in life.   He’s 21 and has his whole life ahead of him.  That’s one thing that is very noticeable about growing old…you cease to have a future.

Cathy May and her daughter, Chelsey, dropped by with a wonderful assortment of veggies out of their garden.  It didn’t take long for me to course chop a large tomato, small cucumber, half an onion, a small zucchini and a banana pepper into a bowl.  I sprinkled it with pepper and a little Italian dressing  and had a wonderful meal.  Cottage cheese is good under it all, but I was out.

Roger Novak called from Florida with his news for the day.  He laughed after reading the article in the INDY about the Kohls brothers building his grocery store where the INDY referred to him as  “Novack”.  He hasn’t been gone all that long, but as he said, one is quickly forgotten.

If you like documentaries, 108 degrees South is largely about a band of bliss seeking surfer/mountaineers and their trip to Patagonia.  I enjoyed it very much. Two exceptionally good movies, imo, are In Search of Beethoven and Independent Lens: Between the Folds.  And,there’s nothing not to like about My Life as a Dog.  It’s a gem about the often-confusing nature of childhood. A 12-year old boy is shipped off to live with his uncle for the summer and finds unexpected adventures with the help of the town’s warmhearted eccentrics. These experiences give him the strength to accept his life and eventually enjoy childhood.  If you are looking for some Netflix instant viewing movies, you can’t go wrong with these.

Wilson residents are becoming restless about having a new medical facility available to them.  Dr. Ron Whitmer’s clinic burned during the Opera House fire.  Dr. Dennis Kepka will be retiring soon and intends to use his building (which both doctors are now using) for a business venture he has planned following his retirement. A new facility needs to be built to house doctors and PAs who are currently very busy serving the Wilson area.  Wilson is a part of the Ellsworth County Medical Center operation so this issue needs to be addressed and solved quickly.

I don’t recall ever being less interested in a political campaign than the one now leading up to 2012.  I was going to vote early today after a dental appointment, but I wasn’t that inspired and will wait until next month.  I anticipate a very low turn out as I think voters are generally fed up with the political climate of the land.

Sometimes I wonder if there is anyone in this county who doesn’t have cancer.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Tyler Britton USAF, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 8:53 am

Ally has been on a roll with her six quart White Mountain ice cream freezer.  She’s made two batches of peach and one of  blueberry ice cream.  They are both delicious.

Yesterday was tasting day. My friend Karmi came from Great Bend to visit and Caleb dropped in while she was here.  They were the fresh peach official samplers and gave it a thumbs up.  After lunch, Ally stirred up a batch of blueberry ice cream.  I had one of those big boxes of blueberries from Sam’s which turned out to be the right amount.  She makes a custard with eggs sugar and half and half, chills that and adds heavy cream.  After the ice cream was churned, she folded in the frozen blueberries.  It was perfect.  We sampled it and gave it our approval.

She’s pondering what to make next.  I’m rooting for a mixture of fresh cherries, toasted pecans, pineapple and coconut chips.  And maybe pistachios. And bananas.  I like fruity-nutty ice cream.

Grandson Tyler is back in San Antonio and speaks very positively about his experiences in Afghanistan.  His job was that of a respiratory therapist on a CSTARS team transporting patients. He’ll be coming home on leave next month then will resume his work at a military hospital in San Antonio until the end of his four year tour.  Or do whatever the Air Force tells him to do.  He’s very okay with that.

Granddaughter Mackenzie has started working for Rockwell-Collins that does defense contract work.  She’s a computer engineer/mathematician and will be moving to Richardson where the business is located.

Everyone in the family seems to be on the move … and … I’m having trouble keeping track of zip codes.


The Czech dancers are expecting a good audience to show off their talents.  Don’t forget the Czech Festival with its ice cream social, parade, kolaches, brats and kraut and all kinds of food and festivities starts Friday and runs through the weekend. Since it’s election time, the parade will be filled with candidates wanting your vote.  The Midland Hotel is going to be open, so you might want to stop by and say hello to Tom and Heddy Mahoney, the new owners. We wish them well.

Ally’s birthday is coming up and she has for many years celebrated it with friends in Colorado, one of whom shares the same birth date.  She’s  also playing golf with her nephew Drew on some challenging Rocky Mountain high courses.

Ringo and I continue to hang out where it is cool.  We’re being pretty lazy as the heat doesn’t inspire activity.  If you want to sample the ice cream, I know where it is.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 9:10 am



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 6:27 pm



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 8:04 pm

It appears many of your are interested in the Midland Hotel.  If you scroll down on the right you’ll find a search box that appears above “archives”.  Type “midland hotel” in the box.  You’ll find several pages of blogs where I have mentioned the Midland.  Some information may be helpful to you…if not, just skim though it.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 6:50 pm

The Midland Hotel in Wilson is going to be auctioned next month.

Ref #:     15012 - 10030
Location:    414 26th Street, Wilson, KS 67460  map

# AUCTION DETAILS Date: Friday, June 18, 2010
# Time: 1:00 PM

Check here for details…




Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 3:06 pm

The Wilson school students want to win a school interactive make over and you can help.
Finalists will be posted and voting will begin on October 31 for the Grand Prize winners. So, you need to vote today or tomorrow to help them achieve their goal.

Click here and view the video the students have made.  Then, on the right side click on “login/register” and complete the form.  After that, you will see a long list of schools in the competition.  Start at the bottom and work up as Wilson is near the bottom. Follow the instructions and vote.  Five stars or “incredible” would be appreciated.

The video is an original Rap written by 7th grader Phillip Beach and is performed by Mrs. Powers’ 7th grade class. All eight 7th grade students helped in making this video and had a wonderful time trying to win technology for their school.
Teacher Name: Mr. Kathy Powers
Category: 6-8
School Name: Wilson Jr. /High School
School Location: Wilson, KS
School Country: USA
Viewed: 261
Rate This: *****



Filed under: County Sites, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 11:59 pm


Photo by Mark Inman Seitz

Wilson Lake, located on the Saline River, is one of the clearest lakes in Kansas because of the grassland drainage area above it. With 9,000 acres of water and 100 miles of shoreline, it has become one of the most popular recreation areas in central Kansas.

Set in an area with few large bodies of water, Wilson Lake offers a great deal to the outdoor enthusiast. Five parks are provided for your enjoyment. These areas include showers, boat-launching ramps, overnight camping pads, fresh water, picnic tables, grills, swim beaches, group shelters, sand volleyball courts, and playground equipment. Weekend campground programs are given during the summer recreation season. A marina is located in Wilson State Park.


The Rocktown Natural Area, a registered Kansas Natural and Scientific Area, has a rich diversity of mixed prairie grasses and other typical prairie plants. It also contains unique geological formations, primarily red sandstone, which have been carved by wind and rain into a variety of interesting shapes. Although the area is closed to all vehicular traffic, a 3-mile loop trail allows foot access to the area.

The Bur Oak Nature Trail is located below the dam and adjacent to Sylvan Park. The trail provides visitors with a better understanding of the area’s ecology. A brochure describing the stops along the trail is available at the trail head. The Corps of Engineers Office and Information Center located on the northeast corner of the dam has additional brochures concerning Wilson Lake and other Corps lakes.

Check here for more.


Filed under: Wilson — Peg Britton @ 12:05 am

Built in 1901 from Dakota limestone, the upper floor contained a large dance floor and a kitchen, and later a movie theater to provide the newly settled Czech community a place to join together in the ways of their native homeland.

The basement originally housed the “Sokol” lodge gymnasium floor where young athletic men were trained in gymnastics. Today the basement is a “House of Memories” museum where family photos, keepsakes and other memorabilia are preserved from the Czech community.

Today dances and other special events are still held in the Opera House.
The Opera House may be contacted at 785.658-3505


Filed under: Wilson — Peg Britton @ 12:03 am

“Heel and toe and away we go”, the silent rhythm of polka music and dance, invades the senses as you amble along the streets of this small, colorful community of Wilson. It identifies its residents as preservers of their Czechoslovakian heritage.


Of all the dances originating in the nineteenth-century, the only one that has survived is the polka, one that is very much alive and well in Wilson. Colorful costumes, polka music, ethnic food and traditional themes weave throughout Wilson, the “Czech Capital of Kansas”. Visitors experience the flavor of the cultural influences that prevail in this central Kansas town, population 800. Some older citizens still speak the traditional language of their homeland.

Located at the southern end of the Rock Post Scenic Byway, off I-70 exit 206, Wilson is host to the annual Czech Festival the last weekend in July. Thousands gather from far and wide to celebrate the occasion with food, dancing, contests, carnival rides and to view one of the longest parades in rural Kansas. German bratwurst smothered in kraut held in one hand and ice cold beer in the other help keep the summer heat at bay.


Locally mined post rock limestone is represented in many historic downtown buildings as well as the recently renovated Midland Hotel, Das Borell Haus B & B and Stone Cottage Farm located just north of Wilson Lake.

Wilson is an inspiration to struggling small towns everywhere with its strong volunteer force, fund-raising projects, downtown development and renovation of the old grade school into an assisted living apartment complex. Straw bale constructed, low-income duplexes are across the street from the senior citizens center. The locally-owned bank serves the community. Educational programs for students are conducted in new facilities.

Wilson is also home to the Sportsman’s Lodge, Sincerely Yours Gifts, Kansas Originals and historic structures like the Wilson Opera House, the round stone jail and wooden water tower.

Wilson can be a tourist destination, a small conference locale, an ethnic experience and a place to browse and shop. There are several places to eat: Made from Scratch, the Snack Shack and the Midland Hotel

When citizens work hard to make our towns better places, as residents in Wilson have done, each stop along roads and highways of Kansas can turn out to be an oasis offering tourists a sample of their unique cultural heritage.

Exploring Wilson with “new eyes” while searching for its Czech history, customs, architecture, cuisine and art, can be a rewarding experience. Wilson can also exceed your expectations as a secluded hide-away for that special occasion.

Linda Denning wrote the following:

According to information provided by the Wilson Czech Opera House Corporation, which also owns the museum.In 1865, the Butterfield Overland Dispatch route was established to Denver. The clear springs found a short distance to the southeast became a stage stop called “Swing Station.”

According to legend, a horse trader named “Wilson” set up business there.

In 1868, the Union Pacific Railroad advanced west, opening the area to settlement. Residents called their new town Wilson. In 1871, the U.S. Postal Department named the small community “Attica.” Several months later, residents changed the name to “Bosland,” which means “Cowland.”

“The settlers were so happy to have land and cows of their own,” corporation officers wrote in a brief his history of Wilson.

In 1873, the postal department officially named the town Wilson, thus giving the stagecoach station, train station and city hall the same name.

The first citizens were railroad workers. They were French, English, Irish, and Italian. The first homesteader was J.T. McKittrick. In 1872, 20 Pennsylvania Dutch German families arrived there.

In 1874, Francis Swehla, accompanied by others, became the first Bohemian to settle Central Kansas.

“These immigrants brought many talents—different trades and wisdom. With their hard work and determination, dreams came true.” According to the corporation history.

“They organized city officials with a mayor, officers, banks, schools, churches, and merchants of different kinds.”

Today, Wilson looks to its past with dreams for the future.

The Opera House was built in 1901. After being restored, it continues to be the place in Wilson for dances, pageants, and other public events.

The opera house, like many other buildings in Wilson, is made of native limestone. The museum has clothing from Czechoslovakia and other reminders of the town’s Czech heritage. There also is a hair wreath; quilts devoted to the family histories of a woman who was reared at Lucas. Her grandparents lived south of Wilson. The museum also has a collection of tramp art made from the wooden boxes that used to contain cheese.

Wilson is part of the famous Post Rock Country, which stretches through Central Kansas.


Another attraction is the Midland Hotel, a handsome example of this region’s limestone construction.

The Midland is owned by the Wilson Foundation, which operates as part of the Opera House Corporation. The foundation has its own set of trustees.

The Kansas Department of Transportation, through the historic category of the Transportation Enhancement Program, has given the foundation a grant to restore the hotel, which was built in 1899 north of the Union Pacific Railroad tracks near the center of town.

When finished the hotel will have a restaurant, visitor’s center, lounge and modern rooms with the latest in technology for the traveler with a computer.



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Wilson — Peg Britton @ 10:05 pm

My good friend from Trego County arrived, then another good friend arrived and it was just that kind of wonderful day. I love to hear that knock on our front door. We spent the afternoon visiting about what was going on in western Kansas…or what isn’t going on that should be.

I made a large peach cobbler and pulled it out of the oven just in time for us to do serious damage to it. One friend left. Another friend joined us and three of us headed to the Midland Hotel for dinner. There we joined a friend from Russell. Have you done the math to know how many of us ended up at the Midland for dinner?

The special was liver and onions and we all chose that for dinner. The liver was really good, loaded with sauteed onions and topped with crisp strips of bacon. Mashed potatoes and gravy were at the side, a necessity with liver and onions. The buttered baby carrots were very good but with all the other food to work around they sort of died on the plate. The meal started with the Midland tossed salad and before that, the chef had us sample her special marinated and broiled Angus beef on a stick. It was wonderful. We were all very full, as you can imagine.

So, the four Musketeers had another great day today. We’re a very good support system for one another, and we all need it from time to time.


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