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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:51 pm

Mr. Grackula sat on my brand new computer! I just couldn’t believe it.We had a few people for dinner today, but it was a calm group with no wild shenanigans in mind. In spite of that, a grackle got in the house. I don’t know how it happened, but we don’t like fluttering feathery winged things like birds, peacocks and chickens in our house and it had to go. Only bats would be worse.

This “bird in house” situation hasn’t been an issue since we built this house when, at that time, a couple sparrows flew in. The Kohls brothers brought nets and everything except shotguns to get them out. That was a real confrontation in our living room.

So when Brit announced there was a grackle in the basement, I could just see this turning into a big problem. He had encountered the bird when he came to watch the news and Ringo was playfully pouncing on the bird, holding it down with a paw, then releasing it. Ringo was trained to love small animals, we were told. That training stuck, unlike the 49 commands he’s supposed to know.

So, Brit called on Ally who then called on Ringo to help. They came downstairs to find Mr. Grackula on my monitor. Horrors! No pooping on my brand new monitor. Ally walked right up to it, put her hands around it and carried it outside. It was a huge relief to the bird and that was that.

I’m ready to go for my rock replacement surgery tomorrow. I’m having it done at the Surgical Hospital hoping it goes better than my last visit at SRHC. I’m going early as I know it will take forever for someone there to find a vein and get a thread for an IV. Let’s hope it doesn’t take 40 probes as it did before. Well, it won’t as they won’t have that kind of time to get it done. I’ve asked to spend the night because it will be better for my family. I’ll be home Tuesday and Ally will stay a couple of days. By then I will manage fine at night.

My new computer is going to be easy to get used to. It’s a lot faster. XP is different from 2000 but not that different. I think I can find everything without much difficulty. The sound system is great so I’ll enjoy my music a lot. I sit further away from my screen and that’s more comfortable. I love my large screen. Jesse is as close as his phone or IM so I’ll manage fine. He can talk me through my problems, if I have any.

I missed the steam engine that came through yesterday and the dog pull today. I had a great weekend and good conversations with friends. It was busy but a lot of fun. The spaghetti was a hit.

Thanks for tuning in. I’ll be back Tuesday or Wednesday. Stay in touch.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:40 pm


Jesse brought a 1 gig jump drive and all those smarts under his K-State ball cap and didn’t have a bit of trouble assembling my new computer and transferring all the data. He amazes me! Besides, he’s so nice about doing such things, never in a hurry, patient and is sure what he’s about before he does it. He has everything the way it works for me, which is a lot like the way he has his computer. It didn’t even take him very long, especially considering the eons it would have taken me had it been soley up to me. He had everything in perfect order in a few hours yesterday and a couple more today.

It’s a great computer…big and fast and the monitor is a 20″ flat screen that’s just like IMAX. I’m enjoying it so much.

We’ve had a lot going on around here. Crazy stuff. Dane tried to leave the facility to go to GB’s yesterday and was not happy with me, or the personnel at the home, that we wouldn’t let him go alone in his wheelchair to town. He said he was going for gum and some candy, but this mom didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. He’s never chewed gum and he doesn’t eat candy (unless it’s Bev Connally’s English Toffee) so I knew exactly what he had in mind: cigarettes. I just couldn’t believe it, but he finally admitted to me and them that’s what he wanted. It seems a couple of his buddies were over to see him the other day and he swift-talked them out of a cigarette and the aides saw him smoking a cigar.

From this you can see even though he has had a huge amount of his brain removed, he is brilliant once again. Dr. Slomka is just amazed at it when you consider how much of his brain is missing and how well the rest of his brain has made up for it. His memory of life before his stroke is intact. His illness is still a blur. His short term memory is now very good. Dr. Slomka said he barely mentioned something a month ago to Dane about his yard and Dane brought it up the other day, just as though it happened yesterday. So we have a great deal to be very thankful for.

But…there is always that “but”…there is still a gap in what he can do and what he thinks he can do. His body cannot be craving nicotine, but his mind “from before” is telling him that it is. He can’t possibly manage to get in his wheel chair to GB’s without endangering himself…the route is “uneven” and his chair could easily tip over, there are obstacles to surrmount, he gets high centered in dips and can’t extricate himself without help, he’s still left-side deficient. It would be very dangerous for him to go alone while trying to avoid traffic that would not be expecting such a person in the middle of the street. There is a failed synapse in there someplace.

Now, please, please, please don’t give him any cigarettes. He doesn’t even like cigars. It’s been before early December ‘05 when we flew him to Wichita that he’s smoked. He barely, barely survived respiratory failure and it took months for him to recover from that. Smoking will kill him. So, please don’t give him anything to smoke.

Today has been busy and tomorrow will be even moreso. It’s time to hit the feathers. Thanks for tuning in.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:54 am


Ann Harrison, my friend from England whom I mentioned below, wrote to fill us in on the price of petrol in her neck of the woods.

Hi. Peg

Our petrol now is Ł4.87 a gallon,that equates to $ 8.50 a gallon in Ellsworth,guess if Jesse lived here he would now be the proud owner of a pedal bike. Catch ya later.

Thought you might like to know the current price of Gas here in Southern California.
I have to really type fast because it will change 10 cents before I get done.

Regular $3.299
Medium: $3.399
Premium: $3.599

The makings for the mise en place for John Shull’s spaghetti sauce was on the chopping board before 6 this morning. An inspiration to make it hit me yesterday since there will be a few people here Sunday for various reasons and they’ll be hungry at some point…Jesse with my computer, Rita with her needles, Mark with his duties, Tyler as he’s always hungry, Todd because Karen has girls’ night out, Ally since she has to run me to the hospital at the crack of dawn on Monday…and Brit whose favorite food in all the world is spaghetti. Couldn’t Vickie Jewell have a hayday with that sentence?

I haven’t made a batch of John’s spaghetti sauce in a long, long time. Todd makes it regularly when he has a day to spare. It’s a bit time consuming, but well worth the effort. When John makes it and I’m on the receiving end, which I was once long ago, I can honestly say it’s the best spaghetti I’ve ever had. John is an excellent cook. I also had a Mexican food dinner he put together. It was also one of the very best meals I’ve had. I remember!

My computer is about as clean as it’s going to be. For most of the past two days I’ve weeded through all my files and folders, compiled and trashed. There still will be an ample amount of material for Jesse to transfer, but he knows how to do that. There is no hurry.

Time to hit the store. The new store is opening next week on Thursday, I believe. They will be closed on Wednesday downtown and open Thursday in the new facility. What a pleasure that will be….just like the day Jimmy Novak opened his new grocery store where Dollar General is now located. We had a gala opening and I helped. So did Carol Larsen and Charlotte Nichols, as I recall. We sacked groceries and carried them to cars. There were only paper sacks back then and we weren’t supposed to “pop” them open as it would frighten people! It was such fun. Jim ordered a lot of unusual food items to add to his traditional display. I remember one was chocolate covered bugs of some kind…ants maybe. Weird stuff. That was a long time and many gunny sacks full of potatoes ago.

A few drops of rain fell this morning. Just enough to make a gentle sound on the roof, but not enough to get anything wet. The sun is slow getting up this morning so maybe more rain is on the horizon. That would be nice.

I’ll keep you posted if I can. Otherwise, I might not have access to my computer for several days. Jesse can keep you up to date on my blog.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:25 pm


Fundraising event features country singer, draws national attention

By Amy Bickel

The Hutchinson News

ELLSWORTH - For $1,000 each, about 80 greenhorns will retrace a portion of the route traversed by cowboys more than a century ago - when drovers moved Texas Longhorns to the railhead in this former Kansas cow town.

But the three-day cattle drive is only one of the activities planned in Ellsworth this fall as organizers try to raise enough money to restore the town’s historic insurance building and establish the National Drover’s Hall of Fame.

The Great American Cattle Drive is slated for Sept. 28 through 30, said Mark Roehrman, chairman of the National Drover’s Hall of Fame. Among the participants is country singer Michael Martin Murphey, who will perform at the drive’s campsites, as well as at an “End of the Trail” concert in Ellsworth.

“We’re pretty excited, and the response has been great,” Roehrman said. About 35 people have signed up for the drive so far.

The days of the drovers - cowboys who drove millions of Longhorns from Texas to markets north - spanned just a generation. Ellsworth served as a big cattle shipping and distribution point between 1868 and 1878.

September’s cattle drive won’t bring that many cattle, Roehrman said. Participants will drive about 60 head from an area southeast of Ellsworth. The herd is expected to reach Ellsworth at about 2 p.m. Sept. 30.

Cattle go down Main Street, said Peg Britton, an Ellsworth resident and former Drover board member.

“This will be a small replay of the past,” she said. “It should be interesting and full of history, excitement and something different for this part of the country.”

Other activities

If you can’t shell out $1,000 for the ride, there still are plenty of activities, organizers say.

Residents can attend the chuck-wagon dinners and concerts at the cattle drive’s cow camps for a small admission charge.

Other events will take place at the Ellsworth trailhead - the Ellsworth Recreation Area and Cowtown Plaza. Those include a Friday night cowboy concert starring Johnnie Western. A full day of cowboy activities is planned Saturday, including an 1870s cow camp, poetry, music and food.

The “End of the Trail” chuck-wagon supper takes place that evening, followed by Murphey’s concert. Murphey is known for his cowboy songs, which include “Wildfire,” “What’s Forever For” and “Long Line of Love.”

Proceeds go to the restoration of the insurance building and future home of the hall of fame. Roehrman said the three-phase project would cost roughly $6.5 million. The first phase, the building’s renovation, is estimated at $1.9 million.

Depending on money raised during the cattle drive, restoration could begin as early as this fall, he said.

With little advertisement so far, Roehrman already is fielding dozens of calls from across the country.

Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Director Nick Slechta said the event is expected be a boon for local business.

“If nothing else, we are going to have a lot of fun,” he said. “Who has been on a cattle drive except Roy Rogers, Gene Autry or the Wild West and in the movies?”

On the Web

For more information, visit

04/24/2006; 02:30:54 AM


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:49 pm


2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
3 or 4 stalks of celery, chopped
1/4 head of cabbage, chopped
1 heaping Tblsp. chicken boullion
1 heaping tsp. celery seed
1 large can green beans
Add enough water to barely cover.
Cook until vegetables are tender and water is reduced.
Add 1 pint half and half and a little milk.
I cut up a little Velveeta and also add a little Real Bacon to the soup.
Simmer on low.

In another pan bring water to boil.
Beat together 2 eggs. Take some flour and add 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. of baking powder. Mix or sift so it’s mixed. Add that flour and enough more to make a stiff dough. Drop dough from tip of tsp. into boiling water. Dumplings will rise to top of water. Drain and add to soup. My dumplings are rather firm and I wish they weren’t quite that hard. I don’t want to break a tooth!

In sorting through things, I found this. Read it fast.

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Amzanig huh?


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:17 pm


Jesse had some very good points that I thought I would post. It’s fine with him. His side of the conversation is far more interesting than mine. He’s a well-informed young man and offers thoughts to contemplate.

Jesse: We’ll have lots to discuss, too, I’m sure — while I’m working on your computer, of course! I’ve got a list of things I want to write about and haven’t gotten around to yet — immigration reform, Cynthia McKinney, and what a big waste of time so many of our elected representatives really are. I tell you, the more I follow politics, the more I loathe the men in power.

Me: If anything the current administration, Enron, etc. has taught me, it’s that I too loathe the corruption that power appears to beget.

Jesse: Ah, yes — Enron. You can add energy to the mix of issues I have on my mind. High gas prices — ugh.

However, as much as I hate to see an oil company throwing $400 million pensions towards outgoing CEOs and raking in tens of billions in profit each year while average folks are struggling to pay for gas, I can’t really get behind punishing them for success, either. Gas being $3.00 per gallon isn’t all that far out when inflation is taken into consideration; a gallon of gas in 1960 may have been $0.31, but that’s roughly equal to $1.79 now. It’s really pretty reasonable to assume that a product could nearly double in price in 45 years given that the demand has quadrupled.

Prices on nearly everything have gone up, but gas seems to be that one product that we hold to a different standard. We don’t expect it to get more expensive, and all the while we take other price hikes in stride. Comic books, for instance: they cost, oh, probably $0.05 or $0.10 in 1960. They were $1.00 or $1.25 when I bought them in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Today, a standard 30-page comic book costs $2.99! Inflation has affected comic books more than gas! And it’s the same for other products, too — milk, eggs, etc. A $0.49 gallon of milk in 1960 — a little over $2.00 today — now costs well over $3.00.

Of course, we usually don’t go out and buy 20 gallons of milk or 30 comic books at a time, so gas hits us a little harder … okay, a lot harder.

And, I have a hard time being mad at oil companies for making a healthy profit. Isn’t that the goal? Capitalism says yes … decent, hardworking and honest human nature says there should be limits to that success. Congress has thrown around the idea of somehow punishing oil companies for record prices (and profits). If there’s corruption and price gouging going on — sure, I’m all for it. But if they’re simply making money because the law of supply and demand allows them to do so, it’s much harder to fault them for having a good fiscal year. After all, if oil prices were at record lows, how many of those people who favor capping oil company profits would also support government bailouts for failing companies? Probably not many.

I don’t know — it’s a tough issue to wrestle with. All that said, I hate paying $45 to fill up my car. I hate it that some bastard CEO can slip out with half-a-billion dollars for all his “hard work.” I hate it that average, middle-class, working Americans have to scratch and save and pawn off their possessions just to have money to drive, while oil companies are making more money than Microsoft. But it’s the price we pay for being such a mobile society, I suppose. My adjustment has been to drive less and walk more, but that’s not possible for some people.

Anyway, my best driving advice is to keep your car topped off. If you only have to add a few gallons of gas as opposed to a full tank, you’re paying less per time (and don’t feel a huge hit on your wallet), and, if prices drop back down to $2.25, at least you didn’t pay $2.95 for a full tank.

Lots to think about, eh?

And from Mackenzie:

I agree with you - Luke and I always talk about this when people on the radio are going on and on about gas prices. The price of everything goes up, and yet we don’t blink an eye to most of it, yet “gas prices” has become the new “how’s the weather” topic of chat. When we travel places we’re always asked what our gas prices were in Dallas and I never know… there’s not a whole lot of point in me keeping track down to the penny… I know that it’s something I require and no matter how expensive it is, I still require it. It’d be different if I had to decide if I could afford a tank of gas, but luckily I don’t have that problem.

I constantly wish everyone could get OVER it and move on to something new - something they can actually impact - because short of not driving a car anywhere, gas prices aren’t going anywhere.

Plus look at Europe - they’re probably laughing their tails off at us silly American’s complaining about our prices - they’ve had killer prices for years.

Anyway, I had to comment :)

The cruise liner, QE2, moves only six inches for each gallon of diesel fuel that it burns.

Mackenzie is right. When I was visiting my friend Ann Harrison in England …five years ago, the equivalent of a gallon of gas was then over $5.00.

Mackenzie and Luke are wisely relocating closer to work for several reasons. One is that instead of an hour commute each way, their move will be reduced to 20 minutes. It’s a matter of prioritizing for all of us.

Anyone else have a thought to share?


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:10 pm


The annual health fair is Saturday from 7:00 am to 11:30 am at the Ellsworth City Hall. There will be lab services available for A1C test for diabetes, PSA screening test and chemistry profile for 28 different blood tests. You can get all three tests for $75, if you are a male, which is a real savings from the $200 to $300 they normally cost. No need for women to line up for PSA screening. If you want only one of the tests, I’m sure the charges are very reasonable. Fast after 10 pm on Friday if you want to take these tests then enjoy the breakfast that will be served by the ECMC auxiliary. Usually they serve fresh fruit, fruit juice and homemade breakfast rolls.

Also on Saturday starting at 10:00 a.m., a two-day event, the first local dog pull will be held at the 4-H Barn behind the Rec Center. The event is organized by Mike Bunch and Daren Webb of Kanopolis. This is an event you may have not had an opportunity to see before. The public is welcome and there is no fee to watch. For more information on what this is about, click here.

Ellsworth High School has its spring Art Show and Concert on Thursday May 4th at 7:00 p.m. at the PAC.

On Saturday May 13th, the Greenbush program at the Ellsworth Correctional Facility will have an open house from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Enter the facility at the main entrance on the south.

Tomorrow afternoon Jesse is going to start transferring data from this computer to my new one. I might be absent for awhile. Sunday we get back on schedule with Rita’s harpooning of Dane and me. That’s a good thing. Also, I’ll have Mackenzie post events on Monday and I should be home Tuesday, minus the rock.

Tall Boy is going to inherit this computer. It’s still a dandy and will serve him well. He stopped by last night to pick up some of my classical music. I turned him loose with Sarah Brightman, George Enesco, Beethoven and Chopin, for starters.

I don’t know why the font size varies with my blog entries. That’s something new that I can’t account for.

Brit delivered an arm load of salads and fruit to Dane this afternoon along with “Capote”. I’m not sure I’ll get over there before Sunday.

More as time allows.



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Dane Britton, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 6:35 pm

My living room chair is back. The one I sit in when I read the Salina Journal, USA Today and the INDY. It’s the chair I sit in when friends come to visit. When I make phone calls, I like to sit in that chair. It’s MY chair and fits like a glove. You know how it is when you find a chair or a pair of mukluks that has the right fit? Well, my ergonomic chair from Dane Design in Wichita has served me well for many years. We swear by their Scandinavian chairs.

Last week, I started to recline very slightly in mine and before I could blink, it crashed and I was trapped on my back with my head practically on the football field. Brit was wandering about less than 10 feet away from me, and well within sight, yet he couldn’t hear my goldang $@%#$#$ pleas for help. He can’t hear nuttin’, you know. He walked by me, stepped over my feet and still didn’t notice that I was nailed to the floor. I would have throttled him had I been able to get my hands around his neck - or his ankles. No fault of his, he just can’t hear. Finally, Ruby who was down stairs, heard my “increasingly desperate calls for help” and came running to my rescue. At that point, Brit looked down, eyes wide with surprise, and realized something must be wrong. He said I looked “misplaced!” The two of them hoisted me to an upright position. Geez! Well, Ted Edgerle fixed my chair and it is now in its rightful place as good as new. I love Ted for doing that. Just like I love Doug Evans for fixing my mukluks. My chair ought to be good for another 10 years if Ted hangs around to fix it. Same with my mukluks after Doug fixed them.

Brit was telling Ally how excited he is about a hummingbird actually finding his clutch of feeders he has hanging from our Amur Maple tree by the front deck. It looks like one of Meredith Vargo’s kindergarten projects, but it seems to be working. A solitary humming bird is visiting his feeders regularly today. Brit isn’t sure it’s just a single, solitary hummingbird. He thinks it might be a whole flock winging in from Mexico, but he has no way of telling. He called Ally for advice, and, in her infinite wisdom and knowledge of our family life, suggested he spray paint their tails like he does the squirrels so he’ll know for sure “who is who”.

I have tried to follow Jesse Magana’s Rancho Milagros vision of the future. I haven’t done as well as I should. Jesse Manning was going to point out the finer points of his Mexican Rodeos to me last summer, but we just didn’t get it done.. We definitely will do it this summer.

Jesse Magana is building a headquarters building and interpretive center. He is going to have horse barns, space for camp sites and vehicle parking. I’ve noticed as I’ve driven by his home to and from Salina on Old Highway 40, that he has a fine group of horses that he uses for tours. He conducts educational seminars on early Ellsworth history. He has the right idea and is going to make it work.

Jesse exemplifies the real world in rural Kansas. He has the ability to show people what the real west was like. This is not only his effort to bring tourism to this part of Kansas, but a well-educated thrust to preserve our past. From his 60 acre property, he can teach children about our rich heritage, he can show them what the real west was like. I’m very anxious to see what develops as he’s certainly doing a fine job with agri-tourism. He is linked with Jack Lill at Brookville and his cattle drives, Kanopolis and Wilson Lakes, Rolling Hills Zoo, Salina’s Smoky Hill Museum and Art Center. Jesse is on a roll. He’s not waiting for things to happen - he’s making things happen. Let’s all get behind him to make his knowledge and efforts a huge success.

Dane went back to the home today AFTER he had the ECMC’s famous chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and gravy. Stacy waited patiently while he ate and then got a shot in his bum before they left. I thought I would leave him alone tonight and see how he does. I’ll take “Capote” for him to see tomorrow. It is an excellent movie from netflix. And I’ll take him a batch of salads and fruit.

Speaking of Netflix, I have about 50 movies in my queue. They have more movies I’d like to see than I’ll be able to see in my life time. It’s a great deal for people like me who can’t get to the theater in Salina. If I lived in Salina, I’d head to the theater with my friend Ivy, who goes with a group of friends on a weekly basis to see the latest flick. Improvisation is a way of life in rural Kansas.

Jesse Manning might be coming Friday afternoon to start change over my computers. He can work as he has time, so I may be out of commission for awhile. That’s okay. Meantime, I’m deleting everything I can to make the transfer easier. I hate to part with some things that are near and dear, but that’s the way it is when you get a new computer. There is always something new on the horizon. I just love the internet, my computer and being on line. There is so much to learn and it’s the best way in the world to stay in touch with friends and family. I LOVE MY COMPUTER! Don’t ever let them take me off to Wilson without my computer.

I’m back into designing houses. There is another one on the table. I can still design! (Well, some people who look at this house may take exception to that remark, but hey…maybe I was 50 years ahead of my time when we built this house.) This is a great house for us.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:28 am


If Dane’s feeling like it this morning, he’s heading back to Wilson in the van with Stacy. He pushed it last night. He called and asked Ally to get him a “hot fudge sundae with chopped nuts” as his doctor had said “he could have anything he wanted”. That was a real stretch. What Jerzy said was, ” you can have a milk shake”. He got caught in his scheme as Slomka was at the desk as Ally passed by. He grinned and said he better eat it slowly. So…if that didn’t make him sick, he’s back to Wilson today.

My new computer arrived yesterday. Jesse is going to help me get it up and running and transfer all my “stuff” from here to there. It won’t happen overnight and there may be a few days I’ll be without a computer. Hopefully, I’ll have two operational machines, but you never know. If I don’t post anything for awhile, that’s one of the reasons why. The other is that on Monday I’m going to the Surgical Center in Salina and Ted Macy is going to take the gravel I’m lugging around in my gall bladder and deposit the whole container some place else. I’ve asked to spend the night, on general principals, but we’ll see. I suppose if it’s like my back surgery and I’m up in three hours walking the halls, I won’t get to stay.

Ally is back to looking for a patch of farmland someone will sell her to build a house. She hasn’t found anything to buy that will work for her so she’s going to start from the beginning. I just wish she could load up the house and ground she has in Abilene and move it here as it’s the perfect house for her.

The cattle drive in September is going to be a great event. It is my hope that a lot of EHS graduates get together and decide to join in the three day ride. It sounds like a lot of money ($1,000), but a lot of our grads have done very, very well and could afford to help out their home town by coming back for the ride. It will be a once in a life time opportunity to wrangle longhorns and have fun on the trail reliving the early history of their home town. They might not be able to walk for awhile after straddling a horse for three days, but hey…it would make a good conversation piece back at the office.

More later. I need to see how Dane is doing and get things organized for his move.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:41 pm


APRIL 15, 2006

Place Name Age Sex City St Time


These are our oldest and youngest grandsons. It was Tyler’s first 10K…first of anything over a 440. This is pretty neat.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:42 am


Cattle drive planned for central Kansas
The Kansas City Star
Posted on Mon, Apr. 24, 2006
Associated Press

ELLSWORTH, Kan. - Would-be cowboys will shell out big bucks this fall to re-enact an old-fashioned cattle drive through central Kansas.

City officials in Ellsworth expect about 80 people to spend $1,000 each to participate in the Great American Cattle Drive, a three-day run in late September in which drovers - the name given to cowboys on drives - will lead about 60 head of cattle into town.

The proceeds will help renovate the town’s historic insurance building and establish the National Drover’s Hall of Fame.

“We’re pretty excited and the response has been great,” said Mark Roehrman, chairman of the hall.

Ellsworth was a major cattle shipping and distribution point between 1868 and 1878, when millions of head were driven from the Texas panhandle to northern markets.

The reenactment will culminate with a cattle drive down Main Street in “a small replay of the past,” said Ellsworth resident Peg Britton.

“It should be interesting and full of history, excitement and something different for this part of the country,” Britton said.

Roehrman said renovations to the insurance building, which will house the National Drover’s Hall of Fame, will cost about $6.5 million. If enough money is raised through the cattle drive, restoration could begin this fall.

Festivities will include chuck-wagon dinners and concerts at each of the drovers’ camps. Well-known country singer Michael Martin Murphey will perform, and in Ellsworth, a cowboy concert and other events are planned.

“If nothing else, we are going to have a lot of fun,” Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce Director Nick Slechta said.

National Drovers Hall of Fame
Kansas City Star On Line

SEPTEMBER 29-30, 2006

Relive the days of the drover driving Texas longhorns up the Chisholm Trail to the railhead in Ellsworth Kansas. Call 785.472.4670 to make your reservation to be one of 80 riders to relive the days of the Old West. The cost is $1,000 per rider for this unique American experience of three days on the trail.
List of three days of events.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:22 pm


Read more about the helicopter plant.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 5:12 pm


Dane seems to getting better following the decompression and whatever they did to get his system functioning again. His CAT scan looked good, his appetite has returned and he’s had a little light soup and jello. Now if he continues to improve, it appears we can foil the surgeons and avert surgery. It’s nice to know they are there when you need them.

Tressa and Beverly took a look at Dane’s bed sore today and were really impressed at how good it looked. It has improved enormously since the last time they saw it. There is no tunneling and it is about closed. Now if it would just close over once and for all.

We asked for them to save Dane’s room at the home. The thought of moving all his “stuff” out just wears me to a frazzle, but if you don’t want to pay $125 a day for them to hold the room, that’s what you do. It was about time today to make the decision to hold it or let it go, and since Dane has improved, he may be back to Wilson soon. He’s feeling much better now than he was yesterday morning.

If you missed it, you might want to see a copy of the Sunday Salina Journal in the Life section about the Ellsworth-Kanopolis women who play Bunco. It was a nice article and mentioned Lennea Beebe, Ellen Russell, Janell Cunningham, Barb Fleming and Gayle Helus. They gather once a month, usually in groups of twelve, and spend several hours throwing dice and rallying up points in a game they all enjoy. That sounds like a good networking group.

A track tournament is going on. I can hear Ron Svaty calling off the events and winners. In fact, Ron’s voice is heard in this house about as much as any other. The loud speakers from the football stadium and track work very well and he does all the announcing for football and track.

Capote arrived today. It was next in my Netflix queue. Maybe they finally figured out where I am. I’ll watch it tonight.

I saw my friend, The Chief, this morning. He has lost an amazing amount of weight and that is such a good thing. He said he cut out drinking sodas, and that has accounted for most of his weight loss. An excess of that stuff will kill you! Ally has also done a good job losing weight. She hit the -100 pounds in 7 months and 5 days. I hope she’ll write something for me to post regarding that.

Ally is coming over tomorrow for the day. I always look forward to her visits. It will be nice to have her living here. We’re working on that.

Veggie soup is on the menu tonight. I made it the way Brit likes it with lots of lean meat, barley, okra and plenty of other veggies. It’s very colorful with the red, yellow and orange carrots. He said it was the best batch ever, but he always says that. My friend and housemother, Ginger, wrote and said she was fixing her famous green bean dumpling soup for her dinner and wished I were there. Me too as it’s very yummy. I’ll post the recipe if she sends it.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:40 pm


I had Dane moved to the hospital here this morning. He apparently has an obstruction that they are trying to locate. When I went to check on him this morning it was noticeable from what he spewed out that things were far from normal and have been this way since he was here yesterday to have his catheter changed. I was under the impression he might have the flu, but it’s far from that. We need to stay on top of this.

Tyler had a great time at prom and After Glow party. He won a small refrigerator worth $130, a $25 coupon from Pizza Hut, a $10 coupon from KCs Cafe and $25 in cash for lasting at After Glow until the parents said it was time to go home. The festivities were over at 4:00 a.m. Six couples traveled by private bus to Salina to have dinner at Martinelli’s before the Promanade. I won’t attempt to tell you all Tall Boy ate. He ordered several dishes then helped the girls finish theirs. He’ll have to keep running the rest of his life to stay ahead of his appetite.

Ally is here and still hunting for a place to buy. She called one possibility this afternoon and was about 6th on the list. She’d like a place in the country, but might settle for less. She has the perfect home and acreage in Abilene if she could just lift it up and move it over here.

I canceled my trip to Salina to hear the money man and have Rita come here to do her acupuncture on Dane and me. Dane comes first.

More later.

6:00 p.m. addition: Dane has a PIK line, a GI tube and an IV going. He is feeling better, but I am not sure why. They want to get his plumbing working so he does not have to undergo surgery. Perhaps we can avert that. He is getting good care.

Please send good thoughts to Dane. It has been a long day for him. He/we are so fortunate to have such good care for him both in Wilson and here. I don’t know what we’d do without all the wonderful people who are involved in medical care for the sick in Ellsworth County. We are very, very fortunate.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:10 pm


The Performing Arts Center was packed to the rafters with friends and relatives with cameras at the ready to take pictures of all the students in their finest clothes as they walked across the stage. The girls were beautiful in their gorgeous gowns and the boys were as handsome as can be in tuxedos and fancy shirts. They could not have looked nicer.

Clay Manes did a great job introducing each boy and girl as they walked through the portals onto the nicely decorated stage. That’s not a tough job, since he knows all the students, but we’ve heard it botched with names mispronounced so many times that it was nice to have it done well. He’s a very good teacher and a favorite among the students.

The Commons was decorated with skylines and lights of the city, so far as I could tell without appearing to be looking for someone to dance with me. We left before the music started, but I heard some of it might be big band music. If so, we’ve come full circle.

After the dance, everyone will congregate at City Hall for the After Glow party. They have a lot of very nice gifts for drawings to entice students to stay until it is over. From there, they are supposed to go home and most do.

All the chaperones will be dragging tomorrow, but a great time will be had by all. It’s worth all the work to see the students enjoying themselves on this special evening.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:55 pm


If you want to see the prices of the tickets to hear Rascal Flatts, click here. Ticket prices range from $50 to $278. It looks like the good seats will run well over $100. They will be performing in Bonner Springs Kansas on August 5th at 2:30 Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.

There’s a good chance I haven’t a clue about this, but I think trying to bring them here to perform is pretty much a pipe dream. We don’t have a suitable venue to accommodate enough people (unless it would be the Bi Center in Salina) and, in addition, artists have a whole list of contractual agreements that must be met before they will agree to play…down to the food they want at midnight. We might have difficulty meeting those requirements. I think those fans who want to hear them live need to make arrangements to head to Kansas City on the 5th of August.

And, I wonder how many people here would pay $100 a ticket to hear them. And, we don’t want to go alone so that’s $200. Well, maybe there are more than I think. I just bought two large (and they weren’t very big) chocolate shakes at the DQ for Dane and John and it was nearly $9.00. $3.99 a piece plus tax. By comparison, maybe $100 for an evening of good country music isn’t all that much. It just seems like a lot to me for soft ice cream and an evening of music.

Dane needed some medical attention this morning, routine thing, so John brought him to the hospital to see Dr. Slomka. He wasn’t in his new wheel chair and he managed to fall over backwards in the loaner. His personal wheel chair doesn’t fit in the van the home uses. They had him reclining and he just kept going. Fortunately, he had a pillow behind his head so he didn’t hit the emergency room floor with any force. Neither he nor John had lunch so I complied with their requests for shakes. John Griffith is so good to Dane. Dane was happy to see nurses at the hospital he hasn’t seen in awhile.

I’m going to get my car detailed sometime today. At least that’s the plan. Tall Boy is going to borrow it for the prom tonight and if his date doesn’t want to be covered with Ringo hair, he’s going to have to give it a good sweeping and scrubbing. Ringo doesn’t ride in my car, but some how I manage to collect his hair on my shoes and transfer it to my car.

Tomorrow I’m going to hear Bernard Leitaer, the money man. His presentation is entitled, “Are Spirit and Money Related”. It’s at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship so I’m not sure what I’m getting myself into. Leitaer has made several speeches during the last couple of days in Salina, mostly at Kansas Wesleyan. There was a good write up in the Journal about him today.

My computer is on the way and probably will be here Wednesday. YAY! I won’t do much with it until after Ted Macy pulls my rocks out May 1st. I’ll just look at it and smile…get it adjusted to it’s new surroundings.

Things are humming south of the bridge. You might want to take a drive out that way to see what is going on.




Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:51 pm


Tomorrow night at the Performing Arts Center you can see the EHS prom participants in full regalia as they promenade across the stage. It’s a show for everyone to enjoy.

It is an opportunity for parents and friends to see what a wonderful group of high school students we have that becomes even more evident when you see them dressed to the nines. It’s a special occasion for them so try to be there if you can.

8:00 at the PAC. Bring your camera. Enjoy a wonderful production and all the smiles.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 2:35 pm

Hi Peg….we interviewed Michael Delaney, one of the songwriters for “Ellsworth, Kansas 1948″. The interview was on The Country Bull Y-102, 101.9 Friday morning at 8:15. He talked about spending summers in Ellsworth when he was growing up and had a lot of insight regarding the song.

Amy (Base) Rust recently called a radio station in Dallas because she knew Rascall Flats was going to be in studio. She asked the radio show producer if they could discuss the “Ellsworth” song. They actually called her live on the air and sang the song for her.

I’ll get you a CD of the interview in the mail, hopefully today. Thanks Peg!

Mike Manning

Mike is playing “Ellsworth” and promoting the area on Eagle Radio. Listen in to hear it, and pass the word along.

Panzer and Parsons arrived at the home today as Dane and I were enjoying John Griffith’s nice fish pond and the great weather. That was my cue to leave. They can talk about guy things.

Before I left, Ken got Dane’s new TV hooked up and it was lookin’ good. It’s a 20″ flat screen and the picture is much improved over the TV that belonged to the home. Dane said the other TV was so small he couldn’t see the whole screen because his feet were always in the way. Ken is going to put his new TV on a wall bracket so that will make it even better.

Brit and Ringo went to visit Dane yesterday. John was cleaning the fish pond so they sat outside and watched him work! It was a slick operation, Dane said. He had a large horse tank, pumped out all the water from the pond and relocated the fish. Then he took a power hose and cleaned the rocks and waterfall and put it all back together again. It’s a nice place to sit and relax and I can’t imagine what it was like there without it.

Yesterday I discovered yellow and red carrots. They were new to me. They taste the same as the orange ones but they do offer more color. I loaded Dane’s salad with them and red and yellow sweet peppers. He’s got color!

The KU mail system addresses have gone from to in case your ku mail is bouncing.

I’m on a mission to clean up my computer before the new one arrives. That’s a chore. It’s Outlook that is the problem. I don’t keep mail as a general rule, but I have folders of mail regarding Dane’s health care and correspondence related to that. It is endless. I have trouble parting with the things that make me laugh, but this morning I decided that new videos will come my way that will also bring humor into my life. With every new computer, about every 5 or 6 years, I swear I’ll be selective about the programs I add. I have gotten better over the years, but there are some I’d have trouble doing without, like I started with them when they were a baby company ( and now look at where they are!

It’s a gorgeous day. It appears we are also in for great weather all weekend. That’s good news for the Ranch Rodeo EHS prom and other assorted activities.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:04 pm


If I’m going to attempt to get from my driveway to the highway, I leave home about 15 minutes early to fight the traffic. I’m going to call my legislator. Maybe I’ll call my favorite state rep and insist he plant a traffic light at the end of my drive way which is only 30 yards from the intersection of two highways. That ought to make an interesting depiction of Kansas traffic control.

This morning I was waiting patiently at the end of our driveway, looking right, then left, then right, then left as car after car, semi after semi rounded the corner heading toward me or coming from the south to block my exit. “Call your fav representative!” “Give him a piece of your mind!” (smile) came through in my subliminal thoughts.

Guess who appeared directly in front of me, blocking my way? State Rep Josh Svaty, with the biggest grin you ever saw across his face. He was driving a truck and pulling a trailer filled with cattle, heading to market. He had no time to install a traffic light for me. He was grinning at my dilemma. And the exit from his driveway is worse than ours. I’m not sure how he gets to town. We have six months of this to look forward to. Actually, I rather like the idea of all these folks driving through downtown Ellsworth and I might even just place an easy chair “down there” and watch them all drive by. As excitement in Ellsworth goes, this is about as good as it gets.

My conservative internist directed me to get a sonogram today, like pregnant women get. Mine was to search for a cluster of gall stones that appeared on a CT scan following back surgery in January. Since I’ve never had gall bladder problems at all, it would have been easy to just overlook it. But, being on the conservative side with such things, I decided to check it out with a sonogram that gives a more definitive picture of your innards. Good thing. It didn’t take long to learn it was one rather large stone positioned right where you never want it to be…about ready to blow the bladder and cause havoc. The good news is, I’m not pregnant; my aorta, liver and pancreas are fine. So, May 1st, bright and early in the morning, we’re going to find another depository for that pesky rock. I wanted it to be tomorrow, but May 1st was the first opening the surgeon had. Most likely, he can do it laparoscopically and it should be a simple procedure, if something doesn’t give before then.

I made two trips to the Alltel store today. The second was a false alarm: operator error. There is an operator manual on the net which I intend to take a look at. I’ve never seen an instruction booklet and it would be helpful. Tall Boy wouldn’t have to program everything for me if I could get my hands on a book.

Speaking of Tall Boy. He arrived early this morning before school with his loaner phone to return to Alltel and two cookies. When he left our house last night, after grazing through the kitchen, he headed out to play basketball with some of the city dads and commented he was going home to bake cookies afterwards. That he did and they were good. Chocolate coconut.

In 3 to 5 days, my new computer will be here. Ally and Mackenzie put their heads together today and ordered it for me. A Dimension E510 Intel Pentium 4 Processor 640 w/HT Technology (3.2GHz, 800FSB), Genuine Windows XP Media Center 2005 Edition…2GB Dual Channel DDR2 SDRAM at 533 MHz…etc…and a 20” monitor…and much more. Yay. With racing stripes. Dell offers a limited number of real deals once a year where Mackenzie happens to have a connection. It’s to the first x number who apply and today was the first day of the offer. It may last only a couple of days. They are deals that are hard to pass by…as in half price. The kind I can afford. I’m so excited!

Ally has a big announcement to make, but I’m going to let her do it. It’s an important message, so stay tuned. She reached a milestone today.

Tall Boy came by to get his phone. He and C.T. ran a mile and a half and then played some rough basketball for another hour and a half. C.T. has been a very big help to Tyler in teaching him how to jump and improve his moves on the court. We appreciate that.

Time to fold. Thanks for tuning in. Don’t forget all the activities this weekend. There are plenty of things to do and entertain you south of the bridge. I hope the planes that have been flying low and fast over our house for hours don’t keep it up all night. They must be doing bombing runs.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:42 pm


This weekend the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Chamber of Commerce sponsors the 8th Annual End of the Trail Ranch Rodeo. Two fun filled days of horse clinics, chuckwagon fixins, horse show and cowgirl/cowboy Ranch rodeo. Saturday, visit the recreation center for the first ever Cowboy Trade show. The annual spring cow camp will also be active located south of the West Douglas ball parks.

April 22 – Legislative Coffee, K.C.s Restaurant, 8:30-9:30am sponsored by Ellsworth County Farm Bureau Association and Ellsworth-Kanopolis Chamber of Commerce. Senator Jay Emler and Representative Josh Svaty will attend.

May 12 – Preisker Park – 5:30pm, BBQ and additional food booths; 7:30pm, Jimmie Bratcher Christian Blues Charity Concert for ECF Spiritual Life Center featuring Jimmie Bratcher. (opening with Grateful Saved from 6-7:30pm.)

May 13– 7th Annual “Run for the Soul” Poker Fund Raiser to benefit the ECF Spiritual Life Center. For additional information contact Chaplains Harris or Bailey; 472-5501 ext. 297/298.

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