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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:35 pm


Dear Family and Friends,
I know I’m terribly late in providing the latest news on Kristofer, but since I’ve been back to school after spring break, I can’t seem to get back into the groove! This is, for now, the final chapter in the “saga” of Iraqi Freedom seen through Kristofer’s eyes! I had a friend not too long ago remark that she would miss reading the updates I sent out, but she would be happy when he was home, safe and sound. I will miss sending out updates. It had become almost second nature to me, sharing his experiences with my family and friends. He is now back, safe and sound, at Ft. Carson. Lew and I drove like crazy from Phoenix to Colorado Springs all night Wednesday to meet him and 245 other soldiers arriving from Iraq. The Welcome Home ceremony took place in an old gymnasium. On one wall hung a huge US flag that totally covered the wall. Young military wives walked in wearing short skirts and high heels, dressed to the nines for their men! There was a corner of the gym roped off, providing free day care for children. The atmosphere was almost carnival-like, with balloons, teddy bears, banners, flags waving, and welcome home signs everywhere. We visited with other military wives waiting to see their spouses. You would think we had known these families forever! The young woman, Sally, the wife of Kris’s captain, came over to meet us and gave me a big hug. She knew we had driven all night and was so thankful we made it in time! (We, too!!!) The ceremony was unbelievable. We waited for the signal indicating that the soldiers were ready to march through the doors. The gym was totally packed with high emotion. Toby Keith’s song, “I am a Soldier” played while we screamed, cheered, and cried. 245 soldiers marched in, wearing desert camouflage, helmets, and boots. The roar from the crowd was deafening! As the soldiers stood at attention, we sang the National Anthem, and a commanding officer talked about both the bravery and compassion of the fine young men and women standing before us. Even though these young men and women were standing at attention, you could see their eyes scanning the crowd for their loved ones. I looked and looked, hoping to catch a glimpse of Kris, but later we found out he stood in the back of the group. We then sang the army song, “When Those Caisons Come Rolling Along.” It was quite apparent the soldiers really didn’t know the lyrics that well! Finally, what seemed to be a lifetime, the commanding officer yelled, “Dismissed!” and pandemonium broke out. The crowd went wild once again, screaming, shouting, and crying. We poured from the bleachers to the gym floor searching for our soldiers. I couldn’t find Kris, so Brooke stood on the bleachers yelling his name. He appeared from nowhere, and she ran to him, throwing her arms around him. My turn was next. I couldn’t let him go, not even to let anyone else take their turn at hugging him! He looked so handsome in his desert camouflage, smiling and laughing. We all wore matching tee-shirts that said welcome home LT Kris. He got a big kick out of them. Our 5th graders had designed wonderful posters in Kris’s honor, and we had those proudly displayed. He loved them, too. I think he was amazed to see so many family members there greeting him. My mom and dad, Kris’s dad and stepmother, Brooke and Kevin, Lew and I were all there. Dad drove Kris around to the back of the gym to pick up his gear. We found a Denny’s for breakfast and spent time listening to Kris tell about all the many times he had to pack and unpack his duffle bags for customs officers and how McDonalds was there with Big Macs and Cokes to greet the guys the minute they disembarked from the plane. Of course, I told everyone I saw that “My son just got home from Iraq.” People were truly genuine in their thanks and handshakes. I can’t begin to tell you how proud I am of Kristofer. My son has experienced what most of us can only imagine. For exceptional meritorious achievement and dedication to mission accomplishment while participating in combat operations to liberate Iraq, my son was awarded the Bronze Star.

We must keep our soldiers in our prayers. Love, Cindy

What connects Baba Ghanoush to drupaceous?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:25 pm


Well, it isn’t olives or olive oil. I’m going to have to continue my search!


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:21 pm


Here’s a fascinating 12 minute movie of a space trip to Mars with photos supplied by NASA. It’s pretty interesting. CLICK HERE

KRISPY KREMES and Michael the Englishman, etc.

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:48 am


What a blow to fund-raising organizations who have long made money selling Krispy Kreme donuts they transported here from Wichita. Now they are available at Dillion’s for $4.99 a dozen. Alas!

Michael the Englishman and his wife are returning here Monday for a couple of days so as to give Michelle an opportunity to experience many of the sights and people he has during his visit. It is quite a compliment, I think, that they choose to stay here in our area (spend money too) and cut very short a trip to New Orleans that they had planned. He really enjoys Ellsworth and the surrounding area in the PEP neighborhood. I’d like to get them to Lincoln and Lucas before they leave for Dodge City on Wednesday to tour a packing plant with PEP board member Ken Roberts, the Aquila man from Great Bend. Well, Michael will, but I don’t think his vegetarian wife will opt for that tour. Then they head to Dallas to meet up with Sirolli man Ned Webb. Michael is going to write a special report for me for this area which will be interesting. It will also become, perhaps by reference, a part of the major document he will compile on our PEP project.

It’s a nice day. I’m heading to Salina for lunch with a friend. Maybe we’ll run an errand or two but it will be a fast trip.

Brit brought a copy of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons yesterday in Salina. I started it last night and am half way through and would like to finish it later today…maybe sitting on the deck. I like his writing style and the way he weaves the plots in and out of interesting information, much of which is true. He’s the same author who wrote The Da Vinci Code and has become one of my favorites. It takes him a long time to compile the information for his books so I don’t need to worry about getting behind with what he writes. Brit and Drew are next on the list to read it.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:20 pm


Allan brought this to the potluck lunch at the INDY today. It was good and just the kind of recipe Brit will enjoy. I know he would slice hot dogs and add them before baking. I sent it to Mackenzie as it’s the kind of college food that will appeal to her. Here it is for those of you who want something quick and easy and good.

1 can of creamed corn
1 can of whole kernel corn with the juice
1/2 cup of chopped onion
1/2 cup of chopped green pepper
3/4 cup butter or oleo
1 cup of uncooked small elbow macaroni
1 small box of Mexican Velvetta cheese, cubed
salt and pepper

Mix together and put in buttered casserole. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour.

Hey…you guys out there can make this.

Here are a couple of recipe sources he gave me:


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:39 pm


This Thursday on “Frontline”, PBS, 9:00 pm (check your listings) “The Ghosts of Rwanda” will be featured.

Ten years after the 1994 genocide that killed 800,000 people in less than 100 days in central Africa, many of the major policy makers are finally talking about that U.S. non-response. At the time of this genocide, no action was taken by the U.N., the U.S. or others to stop it, turning their back on the worst genocide since WWII and Cambodia.

In the post 9/11 world we live in, the questions on most minds these days are too much U.S. involvement and intervention in Iraq and elsewhere.

This might be a story to remember and reflect on as Rwanda is a powerful reminder that there can be a horrible price to be paid for inaction and non-intervention.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:43 pm


Two bodies were found in rural Russell county by the Russell county Sheriffs office assisted by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation, while the agencies were conducting a drug search at a farm location for a possible meth lab yesterday! The investigation is continuing and no other information is available at this time. KBI special agent Bruce Mellor is assisting in the investigation.

P.S. Yeah…I scooped the Salina Journal with the above thanks to Scoop Wood who sent me the information. You can follow the information on this strange situation by reading what
The Salina Journal has to say this morning.

What connects Baba Ghanoush to drupaceous?

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:15 am


That’s the gurunet puzzler for this week. They posted it early Sunday and being a rather savvy cook, I immediately had the answer. Maybe. Now, let’s see if it is the right one. One of these days I’m going to get the right answer and they are going to draw my name out of the “hat that holds all the right answers”. Don’t hold your breath.

I missed the connection between Harry Potter and Benjamin Franklin. For some reason I was thinking “Ben Franklin” and came up with “toys”, when of course it was “lightning”. Alas.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:21 am


Middle grandson dropped in last night to borrow another load of books from Grampa. He’s turned into a avid reader.

Drew reads the books Brit recommends to him and he particularly liked The Da Vinci Code. He’s getting so he’s up to steam on who wrote what and in what order. He and his older brother often read the same books about the same time and have interesting exchanges about that. Reading is a very good thing for him, or anyone, as he’s learning to improve his writing skills and expand his vocabulary. And his vision of the world is expanding.

Youngest grandson read the Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia more than just once when he was in the fourth and fifth grades, long before most people had heard of either series. He loved them. He’s a sci-fi kind of guy and reads some of the classic literature the rest of us don’t really like or understand. One day I expect he’ll discover Fedor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky and know how to spell his lengthy and complicated cast of characters. I labored through Crime and Punishment and The Brothers Karamazov. Somehow I think Tyler willl enjoy them.

It’s going to be a lovely day today. I’m off to enjoy it. I made chicken salad sandwiches for a going away party. The honoree is not going to be there but we’ll enjoy the gathering anyway and fill her in on what she missed.

Monday appears to be the day most people hit my website and blog…there were a ton of you yesterday, and I thank you for that.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:22 pm


More than two decades after the BTK Strangler sent his last letter, a new communiqué from the serial killer whose “bind, torture and kill” crimes terrorized Kansas’ largest city in the 1970s has shattered the city’s sense of security and stoked fears the killer could strike again.

Wichita police continue to collect tips from residents about the identity of the BTK serial killer.

The killer, who murdered seven people in the 1970s, resurfaced last week with a letter to The Wichita Eagle claiming responsibility for an eighth death in 1986.

Anyone with information can relay it to police by:

Calling a tips hotline at 263-0138. The line is not traceable so callers can remain anonymous.

Sending an e-mail to

Sending a letter to Box 9202, Wichita, KS 67277-0202.

– Eagle staff


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:26 pm


If I had a life, I would have been outside today. It’s almost dinner time and I’ve been working all day, trying to get caught up for Michael and his wife’s return later this week. I almost had to call the Roto-Rooter to clean out my laundry chute. It was plugged up with laundry from the basement and almost belching out the roof.

I even dragged out the ironing board and iron and dusted the cobwebs off them. I’d almost forgotten what they looked like as you can quickly tell from our wrinkled appearance. Ironing is for people who have jobs and have to go to work. It isn’t for people who are supposed to be retired and prefer the slovenly look.

What happened is that I finally got very exasperated at not finding the right napkins to go with the placemats I wanted to use. And, of course, they don’t get put away properly (by me) and they hadn’t been ironed in ages. In a spurt of unexplained energy I decided to rearrange the contents of the placemat and napkin drawers, which led to a whole lot of work aside from the arranging.

Right now I know where everything is except for all the missing table cloths…the good one that I’ve put a reward out for if anyone can find it, the red one that is too short for any table I have and the dark green one that I’d use if I could find it. The napkins to the green one never wrinkle but I have nothing to use them with unless the table cloth reappears.

I found…well, they weren’t lost…a lot of hand-hemmed, hand-embroidered napkins that my grandmother and a couple of great-grandmothers labored over. I never use them, but I can’t bear to part with them. Now that I’m in the mood, I think I’ll wash and iron them, wrap them in tissue and find a pretty box for them for Mackenzie. She’ll appreciate them some day…maybe…for show and tell.

Brit sprayed the driveway for weeds with Roundup, then left to go play a round of golf. It poured on him when he was about as far as you can get from shelter, and he came home drenched and freezing. The Roundup was washed away. But his grass seed that he planted ought to be doing well. Most of it has washed down into the woods along with the fertilizer. The naked ladies that were in the path of the trickling water will flourish.

I found a couple of cute kerchiefs for Jack. They were in with the napkins and were once used for the grandsons when they were little. Well, now they will look good on Jack since we have no young mouths to wipe. I tied one around his neck and he was all dressed up, strutting his stuff and waiting for Brit when he returned. He knows how handsome he is. He’s prancing around, showing off with a special air, expecting company to arrive any minute.

It’s going to be cold tonight and may freeze. When it warms up, we are always tempted to start hauling plants to the decks. Tempted only. I don’t like dragging them in and out so we’ll wait until April is about over before we make any changes. I may have to call on Caleb and the grandsons for help.

Michael is in Topeka meeting with officials. His wife, Michelle, arrives on Thursday. Depending on how she manages the flight, they’ll be heading this way Thursday or Friday for a couple of days. He wants to show his wife all the things he has seen during his visit. He’s not very interested in going to New Orleans after visiting central Kansas. He loves it here. Isn’t that nice? I’ll get a copy of the report he writes following his visit. I’ll find that interesting and his evaluation helpful to our economic development and tourism goals.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:15 pm


Michael presented me with one of the most magnificent, exotic floral arrangments I’ve ever seen. The principles of art apply to all art forms, and that is perfectly in evidence here. It’s tall…almost 3 feet… and asymmetrical which he selected it for its uniqueness. He said it was “me”…and that a round bouquet of flowers would never do. That made me smile. He probably figured that out from roaming around this house for several days.

I’ve never seen anything quite like it around here…certainly I’ve never received anything like it. They are exactly the kind of flowers I really, really enjoy and love to receive. Keep the roses. The center of of the arrangement is a tall, large spike Bird of Paradise, below it is a large, single anthurium with a bright red spathe, some Kansas gayfeathers, yellow lily-like flowers…a few other beautiful, tropical flowers I can’t identify…twigs and ornamental grasses. It is very exotic and most lovely and calming to look at it. Very tropical, very Hawaiian. I love it in all its natural beauty.

It was a very thoughtful gesture. Michael found it in a floral shop in Russell. He presented it to me at the Midland dinner Thursday evening. It looked beautiful on the table and the minute I walked in the room it caught my eye. I had no idea where it came from and was very surprised when he presented it to me. Brit juggled it home between his legs. I’d like to carry it around the house with me…but it’s heavy, large …and oh, so beautiful. I just sit and admire it. They brighten my spring.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:38 pm

PETER USTINOV 16 April 1921 London England—28 March 2004 Switzerland

If the world should blow itself up, the last audible voice would be that of an expert saying it can’t be done.
Peter Ustinov

Love is an act of endless forgiveness, a tender look which becomes a habit.
Peter Ustinov

Contrary to general belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best, they are merely the people who got there first.
Peter Ustinov, Dear Me (1977)

Peter Ustinov and I ended up in the same little shop in a small, remote village in Mexico many, many years ago. We engaged in a casual conversation about the artifacts we were viewing. He initiated the exchange. It was very nice. He had that certain English air about him that was charismatic and riveting.



Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 7:23 pm

That’s the longest place-name still in use and is the Maori name of a hill in New Zealand. How’d you like to have that on your kid’s fifth grade spelling list?

The longest word in the English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, is pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 6:06 pm


After Google picks these up, it might be easier to find my website for those seeking tourism ideas for Ellsworth County Kansas, according to Michael White.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:04 pm


Georgia Tech will move on and face Oklahoma State on Saturday in the Final Four in San Antonio, Texas.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:52 pm


The Democrats and moderate Republicans joined forces in Topeka last week and took care of a world of issues that have been dangling for a long time. Our representative, Josh Svaty, was part of the group that led the move toward the coalition and charge. It’s what many of us have said for some time…we needed a young, brilliant, thoughtful, energetic, mature whippersnapper to get things done. We have such a person in Josh Svaty.

After seven hours of debate, the Kansas Senate failed Thursday to approve an amendment to the state constitution aimed at banning gay marriage.

The vote marks a somewhat unexpected end to a proposed amendment approved by the House earlier in the month. The measure sought to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.

The House voted Thursday to raise sales and income taxes to generate more than $150 million in new money for schools.

The move surprised House leaders, who had said all session that a general tax increase would not pass. However, a coalition of Democrats and moderate Republicans — mostly from Johnson County — combined to pass the plan 81-43, sending it to final action today.

The school funding plan is similar to Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ proposal, which she outlined the first day of the legislative session.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:31 pm


Last night was “loop” night…the counterclockwise loop: Ellsworth, Wilson, Lucas, Lincoln, Ellsworth. You’d think from wandering around as much as I have lately, I’d just sit. Nah! No time for sitting.

Brit doesn’t care to go to movies anymore. He never has liked movies very much, he says, which amuses me since he spends so much time watching again all his old John Wayne movie favorites on the telly. He thrives on the madeleine of movies, the kind heralding the heroics of John Wayne… his hors de combat view of John’s action being a man’s man. John certainly wasn’t my idea of a ladies man. He’s a man’s idea of a ladies man, rough and swaggering, which altogether misses the point of what most women prefer. Men just don’t get it! (smile)

Anyway, Brit is not interested in going to movies, mostly because he can’t hear, so I rounded up Linda who agreed to go Lincoln to see Hildago, which isn’t her type of movie either. It wasn’t exactly what I expected so I was a tad disappointed. The scenery was pretty good but I didn’t think it was a very well-made movie. I tend to compare recent movies I’ve seen and found Mystic River the best of all. But then, I don’t see very many to make such comparisons.

We headed west to have dinner at the Midland (it was prime rib night) and saw some of the OU game which ended with the kind of thrilling long shot my grandsons dream about making. Wilson is a link in the loop on the way to Lucas where we wanted to stop and see Doug Brant. I needed beef jerky and Doug makes the very best, in my opinion. Linda needed meat and cheese snacks for a going-away party she’s having for an employee. We didn’t have much time to visit with Doug about all the things that are going on in Lucas, as we like to do.

We prefer going to Lucas and Lincoln to attend movies and wish we had a similar theater in Ellsworth. Maybe some day we will. Hildago was showing in Lincoln and Salina, first run movies. It costs me $3.00 as opposed to seeing it in Salina for $5.50. The “treats” are cheaper, the popcorn better. The theater holds about 200 people and it was nearly full. We sat behind some Ellsworth High students, so they’ve figured out it’s a good deal too.

If you have an evening to spare and want to do the counterclockwise loop, I’d sure recommend it. When Michael returns later this week with his wife, I think I better take them on the loop tour. It’s one of my favorites…I’ve done it a bazillion times. He needs to see some of the post rock part of Kansas too.

Rachel and Micah came from Wellington to visit us…so that made it an especially nice day.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:13 am


Yesterday was completely jammed with new experiences and adventures with Michael White, the Englishman, and PEP board members. We started early in the morning with our meanderings and didn’t return home until half time of the KU game.

All my notes that I took to make this blog more informative and full of facts were left in Linda M.’s car in Pawnee Rock. So, I’ll make it short and wing it.

Although I’ve driven by many feed lots in my life and learned quite a bit about them in general terms through osmosis from living in rural Kansas, I was deeply imbued yesterday by Cap Proffitt in Great Bend. He’s been in the feedlot business almost all his life except for a couple of detours along the way… when he lived for a time on a farm and knew he didn’t like farming and from living in South America for seven years in his youth. He loves what he does and has worked every single aspect of the feed lot business from the bottom to the top, where he is now manager. He knows it like the back of his hand. Cap Proffitt is a very special man and it was my privilege to spend time with him yesterday.

I found it all very fascinating…especially how they determine how much and what kind of feed to use, and when to feed it in the life cycle of a critter. The steam pressed corn looked and smelled good enough to eat and the technology of why they prepare it the way they do was ingenious. They get the best results from how they do what they do…and every bit of it is computerized so that the owner of the cattle can keep track of exactly what it is costing him to fatten his cattle for market. The feedlot makes its money from the feed which is grown by area farmers and mixed in exact amounts each day on the premises. There isn’t anything left to guess work when it comes to the perfection of mixing feed.

There are six cowboys who alternate their work from riding fence to spending only one week at at time doing hospital duty. They get burned out if they work in the hospital all the time. The life of the cowboys who work there, the hospital facilities and the experts that are on call 24/7 prove the high efficiency and sophisication of the business. They have night riders and security guards. They are on the constant lookout for any critter that doesn’t look quite right. I was very impressed at the care extended to the animals. The pens are clean.

I also wondered at the 14 gallons of water each animal drinks every day that is pumped from the 8 wells they have on the property. That’s in the neighborhood of 250,000 gallons a day. And I wondered at the vast lagoon system that captures all the run-off from the lots, but Cap says it is environmentally friendly and the water is ultimately used for irrigation. Solid waste is distributed to area farmers to spread on their fields. I even took a good look at the sea of 18,000 cattle that come from everywhere east of Great Bend to the Atlantic Coast.

From there, most of the cattle go down the road to one of the four packing plants in Kansas where upwards of 6,000 cattle are processed in each, each day, seven days a week. That’s 24,000 head a day! That’s more than 150,000 a week….and x 365. One wouldn’t think there were many vegans around.

The underground in Ellinwood is a good stop and worth the $4.00 charge for the tour. It is very similar to what we have here, but Mark Roehrman’s underground project is going to be exceptional when he is finished with it. Topside… Mark’s is far superior. But…it is interesting to hear about how the town of Ellinwood came into being on the Santa Fe Trail. It will give you a greater understanding of what was located under the town of Ellsworth. It was an all-male sanctuary as were all of our underground towns. The women who occasionally were there had specific “roles” or were in search of a errant husband.

We stopped by Dozier’s winery where they make superb wines. The facility isn’t as large or as extensive as Smoky Hill’s, but it has a nice atmosphere under some ancient cottonwood trees where, if prearranged, you can relax at tables with catered lunch or dinner. I bought a bottle of very dry red wine, for my health, you know. Try their slightly sweet apple wine if you stop by. It could be very habit-forming.

There are three antique stores in Ellinwood that offer not the slightest thing that appeals to me. They reminded me of things I once had in my house and got rid of…and the piles of stuff I have stashed away that still remain to be sorted out and dealt with. I want to rid myself of those things. The owner of Auntie M’s Cupboard, Ron Poppe, was very hospitable and made us feel most welcome. If you are interested in antiques, stop by his shop in downtown Ellinwood. We met representatives from two newspapers there who interviewed Michael. Auntie M’s is also the access route to the underground.

I’ve always wondered where the “rock” was in Pawnee Rock and now I know. There is a beautiful view from the top of it, a windy knoll that is somewhat lower than it was originally because they mined limestone from the top of it. Erosion has lowered the summit even more. But the view of four different counties is discernible on the horizon as well as the constant presence of distant grain elevators. There is the ever-present wind. It’s a peaceful place and if I lived in Pawnee Rock, you’d find me there.

We spent some time in Linda and Walt McCowan’s antique store on the highway. One could spend years browsing through their collections. They love it and love their work. It would drive me insane in a matter of hours. That’s another reason why it’s a good thing we are all so different. I also got to see Linda’s home, and I love seeing people in their own surroundings. I can know them better that way, and know where to place them as we talk and exchange e-mails. When she’s in her kitchen making bread, or in her garden early each morning, I can visualize that now. Yesterday I learned more about my friend, her husband and Pawnee Rock…and that was very nice.

Michael left this morning after a great buffet breakfast at Crossroads and headed east to meet Marci Penner. He then returns to Topeka to meet people in the government sections of his interest, such as Matt Jordon in tourism, and will spend a day with Josh Svaty.

Michael learned a lot about rural Kansas, keyed in to our problems almost immediately, saw our many strengths and how we should capitalize on them. He’s decided to return here later in the week as his wife will be joining him Thursday from England and he’s anxious to show her around. He was a delightful house guest and is welcome back anytime.


KU 100 - - - UAB 74

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:36 pm

KU 100 - - - UAB 74

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