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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:19 pm

Today was our last spur of the moment fall tour. After today, we’ll have to plan around Linda’s work. Linda and I headed out on back roads to our intended destination, Abilene, starting with the back way to the CK Ranch. We wandered off some roads south of there that we”d never been on in search of colorful trees. Finally we got back on Old 40 heading east. We looked at the downtown area of Solomon that has undergone quite a transformation. Stop and see it when you are that way. We poked on to Abilene, stopping to see things of interest.

In Abilene we rounded the curve by Ally’s house to see her new paint job and salmon-colored front door, and then stopped at the gift shop at the Eisenhower Center so I could buy “I LIKE IKE” bumper stickers for the Blue Canoe. Linda had some business in Abilene that took about 10 minutes then we dismissed our early plans to eat at the Kirby House and decided to go on to Manhattan to eat at Doe’s, one of her favorite restaurants. I called Drew to see if he could join us, but he was hard at work at the financial aid office and didn’t get off until 5:00. Bummer.

After wandering around Junction City, we finally got on I-70 for the hop to Manhattan when the sign to Council Grove appeared and the car headed that direction. It was a good choice as the trees and scenery were lovely.

I haven’t been to Council Grove in years so it was a treat. They have a lake and water. I wish Ellsworth had that. We stopped in the Aldrich Apothecary Shop, browsed and bought a few things. There are lots of things to see. They have a 1920s old-fashioned soda fountain with swivel stools, working chrome spigots and tile and marble counter. There are shelves and racks of gifts, K-State gear, and a small bulk candy area with those hard to find candies and another with truffles and individual chocolate creations.

Across the street was the 1857 vintage Hayes House which is the oldest continuously operating restaurant west of the Mississippi. They had pan-fried chicken (fried to order-it was worth the wait), real mashed potatoes and gravy, homemade rolls etc. The food is very good there.

After all of that wandering around, it was time to head west. The small towns we passed through were full of cute little kids in costume for Halloween. Dwight, Hope, Herrington, Gypsum…where else? Hum.

In Salina we went by Linda’s old neighborhood to see all the kids up and down the streets having fun asking for treats, but it didn’t compare to my old neighborhood on Highland where cars were parked bumper to bumper for four blocks and all the side streets to Santa Fe and 9th were full. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and figured the Pope must be in the neighborhood. I guess it’s one of the most popular places in Salina to Halloween. I’ve never seen such a mass of people in a residential area in my life. I could just visualize what it was like back in my youth with the McCann, Andersen and Baker kids all on foot without parents or cars, going door-to-door. There were 26 of us kids in that one 800 block on Highland. We got plenty of loot from our friends and neighbors.

We drove up on the Hill to see our mutual friend Marilyn but her house was dark. Linda ventured she was gone; I suggested she was hiding. I called. Sure enough…she was hiding from the Halloweeners. She invited us in but said we’d have to sit in the dark. We laughed and passed.

Our next stop was the water plant. We wanted to see the new pipes and art displays. Frankly, we both like what Salina does with the “arts” and if you want to see the difference it makes, compare Salina to Hutchinson. Salina is moving forward and a lot of that is due to the progressive art community and the work they do to promote the arts. It makes a community stand out from the rest. Hutchinson is stagnant and there is little or no support for the arts in that community.

Dane wanted to go to the Wilson football game tonight to see the sons and grandsons of the caregivers at the home play, but couldn’t because Dr. Slomka had forewarned him he was coming to change his catheter. That went well, painful, but well. He also gave Dane some freedom to come and go as he pleases. I haven’t seen the orders but will check them tomorrow when I will be at the home at 7:00 am (egads) to follow Dane to Made From Scratch to hear Josh and Jay at the Wilson Chamber breakfast. I’m taking warm gear for him as it’s bound to be very cold. I hope his wheel chair doesn’t freeze on the spot. He will do anything to get out among friends and adult conversations.

So that was my day. Brit said it was quiet around here. With three dogs, he would have known had someone rung the doorbell.

Thanks for tuning in. I think my total hits for this month are going to be in the neighborhood of 100,000. My thanks to you. I hope everyone had a safe and fun laden Halloween.


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings — Peg Britton @ 8:20 am


The Wilson Dragons are playing a post-season game tonight in Wilson. Game time is 6:00.

Josh Svaty and Jay Emler will be speaking at the Wilson Chamber breakfast tomorrow morning at 8:00 at Made From Scratch. If you want breakfast, arrive about 7:30 to avoid the rush.

Spaghetti is the order of the day at the ECMC Auxiliary annual noodle feed on Friday. It starts at 4:30 and goes until they run out, which is in the neighborhood of 7:00 pm if history repeats itself.

Also on Friday, you can get your flu shot at the First Bank in Kanopolis between 9 and noon, or if you forget, Monday at the health clinic.

The Sunflower Civic Club sponsors Turkey Bingo at the Kanopolis Community Center on Saturday at 7:00. Lunch is served at 11:00.

AND REMEMBER TO VOTE. You can advance vote at any time in the County Clerk’s office, otherwise, a week from today is your last chance to reserve an option to complain later on.



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 5:48 pm

When an infant begins life, growth spirals skyward precipitously for the first few years. In a period of ten years dramatic changes occur that transform the infant into an entirely different child headed toward adulthood. If you aren’t there to witness the growth, it is difficult to envision the changes and the quickness with which they occur. Ask any grandparent who misses the opportunity to watch a grandchild grow and develop and you’ll see the longing in their eyes.

The same is true with old age as the last years of life increasingly gnaw away at bone, muscle and the mind. The tall sturdy person gets caught in the spiral of irreversible old age and becomes shorter, weaker, and wrinkled almost over night. Ask any child who is watching grandparents age. It happens, faster than you think. Some things can be held in abeyance, but it’s hard to reverse the momentum once it is in place.

What has this to do with Wilson, you ask? In my limited time in observing some towns grow and others ebb away, Wilson is beginning to worry me as it appears to be following the path of other small towns of rural Kansas. Its life is spiraling down faster than it should, precipitously in the last couple of years. To curtail the downhill spiral, something has to be done pretty fast and I don’t see anything happening.

Not everyone will agree with my observations, but here they are anyway.

Several years ago what appeared to be the saving grace for the city was the reconstruction and revitalization of the Midland Hotel. We all followed it with the hope it would be the shining diamond to attract people from far and wide to Ellsworth County. But silently, many of us wondered who did the demographic studies, or if any at all were conducted, and how you could make Wilson a “destination” when we know the success of such a venture is all about “location, location, location’. Hope prevailed, but the support of the local people wasn’t there as they hadn’t been involved. The architectural revisions were historically accurate but its adaptability to modern usage requirements were not. If it were in Lawrence or near Topeka it would be full and overflowing all the time. It appears to have peaked out and is heading south.

Sharon “Corky” Holloway came to town with a partner and refurbished the Das Borell Haus into a lovely bed and breakfast. It’s doing fine. Later, Corky and her husband bought the Old Shermerhorn and Lang Building, one of the most beautiful historic buildings in Wilson, and turned it into Ollie’s Antique Treasures and Eatery. Progress. Later she received a grant for $90,000 to aid in the restoration of the building.

The Rec Center was in full swing with Joyce Kraus taking over after her parents were no longer able to operate it. She served excellent food and provided bowling and roller skating for the town’s people. I took my grandkids there to learn to skate. Linda and I went there many Wednesdays for lunch.

Malcolm Shaw and his family, and parents before him, owned and operated Shaw’s Market that drew people from far and wide to buy his exceptionally fine home cured smoked hams and bacon. People would line up to buy his homemade Czech and German specialty meats. I shipped orders to my cousins in California and Colorado and to friends all over the country who were hooked on his fine meat products. I was only one of many who did that. His store was a real gem to many of us and I dropped a lot of grocery money there over the years.

Al’s Bar and Grill was a swinging place for food (the best French fries ever, many said) and drink. It was usually a very busy place for people seeking meals and spirits.

LaVange Shiroky’s La Shiro’s Boutique fabric store was a very quaint attraction that brought people to Wilson who were looking for unusual fabrics. I took my guests there at every opportunity as it was a classic example of rural Americana. LaVange had history to tell about her Czech family and the town. Every time I visited, she asked me who I was. That went on for 20 years and I found it very amusing.

The old grade school at the end of the business district was magnificently transformed into an assisted living center. GB’s Stop and Shop was swinging. And much to the consternation of all, the After Dark Video sneaked into down under everyone’s radar.

I think you get the idea. There are also other businesses there that I haven’t mentioned.

Now, the point of my concern is this. The Midland Hotel is open for only a limited amount of business on weekends. It has never fulfilled the promises of Steven H. Boehmfeldt, the first manager with very questionable credentials, who reflected the dreams of the board. The Field of Dreams. Build it and they will come. Not even close. I’m not sure it can ever be turned around. It would take a lot of re-arranging inside, a tremendous injection of money for advertising, exceptional management and a lot of local support. I can’t see that happening. They are barely operational.

Ollie’s Antique Treasures and Eatery has closed.

The Rec Center has closed.

Shaw’s Grocery Store is now Wilson Family Foods and not in the same league with Shaw’s.

The Longfellow Assisted Living Center has 2 or 3 residents. I’m not sure which. It’s a beautiful facility that is almost standing empty.

La Shiro’s Boutique is closed. LaVange is no longer a part of the community.

Al’s Bar and Grill is no longer serving food. What Al will do about his required 30% sales in food to retain his liquor license, I don’t know. Perhaps he’ll turn it in to a private club.

The other downside is the Wilson Czech Festival. For many years, it was THE festival in the state that captured the attention of many. This was once heralded as one of the finest festivals in Kansas, attracting political figures from across the state during election years. It has deteriorated considerably in recent years. This past summer it appeared to me there were more people in the parade than lining the streets. But it is no longer what it once was as other newer, bigger festivals have sprung up across the state and competition for tourists is keen. It will probably never return to its previous stature. The will to revitalize it comes from the younger adults who want to make changes but old traditions stand in their way and no progress is made. The young Czech dancers were a great addition this year and should be commended and their program advanced.

Those are some of the things that concern me and I’m sure concern the residents of Wilson. As you can see, the reasons many people visited Wilson in the past are missing, as are the Czech-speaking natives like LaVange Shiroky.

Wilson still has a lot of good things going for it: Eschbaugh Advertising, Wilson Telephone, the Wilson Nursing Home and USD #328 school district are major employers and forging ahead. GB’s is under new management, “Made From Scratch” is always full of folks looking for a meal. Dave Criswell returned to Wilson and built three straw bales senior housing units and remodeled Peppy Joe’s Barber Shop into a private residence. Jennifer Kepka sees to it that Sincerely Yours and the Sportsman’s Lodge are welcoming shoppers and lodgers. The Snack Shop at the edge of town is under new management of Jeff Swann and his son and a good place for grilled food. The Wilson Bank traditionally has done a good job serving the community.

On the highway north of Wilson, Kansas Originals, the Travel Plaza and the Winery gather tourists from I-70 into their stores. And much to the delight of all, their neighbor, After Dark Video, slinked out in the dark of night.

What is in store for Wilson? Can it energize itself again like it did a few years ago or will it just shrivel up and wait for the inevitable?

In the early days of Ellsworth County a barn raisin’ was a common occurrence. It was to help neighbors in need, of course, but the main reason for it was to improve the appearance of an area, make something look better so that you looked better. A neighbor’s fine new barn always improved everyone’s property. Wilson needs a barn raisin’ to help them look and do better, but I haven’t a clue as to how to go about it. I just don’t want them to go the way of other small towns in western Kansas as we’ll all be hurt by it if they do.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:58 pm

Click here to see the lay of the land.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 5:33 pm

From the Salina Journal
Thursday Oct. 26, 2006

“A women’s political fundraising network with a red, white and blue purse as its symbol has brought in $1.2 million for Gov. Kathleen Sebelius’ campaign this election cycle.

“The success of the effort, dubbed Power of the Purse, makes up nearly a quarter of the $4 million her campaign amassed overall by the last reporting period this past summer.

“Asking women to invest in other women seeking office is a new concept for some, said Samantha Finke, coordinator of the fundraiser.”

The 2006 goal was to find 1,000 women to raise or contribute over $1 million, which they topped this fall. Donations of $1,000 or more have come from all over, but most of the donors are Kansas women, earning them the status of “POP Stars”. Click here to learn more and be a POP Star.

Before joining the Governor, Samantha Finke worked on the re-election committee for Senator Harry Reid of Nevada and then worked in his office in Washington D.C.

We’re fortunate to have the talents of Sammy back in the state, working for the Governor.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:07 pm

“I realize it is difficult to keep up with the degree of Republican sleaze around these days, but I did like President Bush’s celebration of National Character Counts Week. He went to Pennsylvania to support Rep. Don Sherwood, who is being sued for repeatedly beating his mistress. ” An observation by Molly Ivins, one of my favorite pundits.


Filed under: recipes — Peg Britton @ 12:27 pm

We get hungry for Sloppy Joes so on the spur of the moment, I throw a bunch of lean ground beef, onions and garlic in a skillet then stand there staring into space wondering what to do next. Tomato sauce, yes. Then what?Well, I need wonder no more as here’s the answer. I haven’t tried it yet, but I know it will be everything I want it to be. You can find it on Janis’ website Gone South.

2 medium onions, chopped
5 ribs celery, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 - pounds ground chuck
2 TBS chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1 TBS dark brown sugar
1 8oz. can tomato sauce
1 6oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup ketchup
1 TBS Worcestershire sauce

Hamburger buns

Brown meat over medium high heat in a large skillet that can be covered. Pour off half of liquid. Add the onion, celery, and bell pepper and cover pan. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the vegetables are wilted. Add garlic, tomato sauce, tomato paste, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, brown sugar, and chili powder. Stir well. Cover and cook 30 minutes. Stir occasionally, if too watery remove lid. If too thick, add water. Adjust seasoning, if necessary.

This has the right balance of acid and sweet that I remember as a child. It’s been cool and rainy, and, yes, we want comfort food. Janis

Janis sent me a recipe for Seafood Gumbo that Dane’s hungry for. We usually use one of the River Roads II recipe then improvise, but I knew Janis and Lyman would have a far better recipe. They do. When we have the next family gathering, that will be on the menu. It will have to be at a time when I can get fresh oysters in Salina. Mackenzie bought me some file/sassafras so I have all the necessary ingredients. The recipe is too long to post, but if anyone wants it, I can mail it to them.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 11:56 am

Kansas Alliance for Education published my editorial about Jack Wempe. Although I have visited this site before, I’d never looked to see who is on their advisory board. In the past, I have worked with most of them to some extent. It’s a very good group of people who are dedicated to the education of Kansas youth.

At the same website you’ll find an excellent commentary by Laura Scott, “Voters must keep Kansas on the right track”. Take a look.

Voters in District #7 should remove creationist member Ken Willard from the KSBOE and elect Jack Wempe who stands for good science.

Both the Wichita Eagle and Kansas City Star have endorsed Jack Wempe along with almost everyone across the state connected with the education of our children.

The Parsons Sun has this to say: “If there were one elected position that should be non-partisan, it would be for those who serve on the Kansas State Board of Education. The need for this was proven by the current board’s internationally noted, politically driven antics. Determining how best to educate a child and how that education should be measured has nothing to do with political parties, but everything to do with electing intelligent, thoughtful and dedicated people.”



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 8:43 pm

I’d like to share this with all readers. I think you’ll find it very informative and makes so much sense. It’s from my good friend, Rose.

“The fence seems to me to be a boondoggle…either a ladder or a good tunnel will defeat its purpose, and so a zillion dollars will be spent for naught. That money should go for a good cause, like setting up health clinics adjacent to major trauma centers. And some more schools.

“I don’t know the answer, because frankly, if I lived so close to a life that is so much better, I’d be tunneling or climbing over too. I’d have to be an idiot not to. A lot of folks who swam over or climbed over live right here in Houston, with their families who took them in. Some work here and send money back home.

The impact on our economy is negligible, and everybody is wrapped around their axles about jobs being taken. These folks do work that no one else wants to do. (They’re not taking any jobs away from anyone. Tech-outsourcing does, but those jobs go East or West, not South.) And the talk about the drain on the medical systems…well, that’s been going on since I was an ER nurse in the 70’s. The folks using the system inappropriately then were very much legal citizens. They just didn’t have the time or money to see a private doctor when their illness began to get serious, so they let it go. They would show up in the ER half dead, and in desperate need of help. Maybe if we’d had sufficient walk in clinics then, a lot of that could have been prevented. Educating the public probably wouldn’t have hurt, either.

“I’ve been all over Mexico, and even worked there years ago. The people are magnificent, and yes, the poverty is appalling in many areas. I was privileged to see all of it- the good and the bad. Anyway, I’m no expert and I don’t have the answers. But I am sure that a wall, fence or any other kind of barricade will be futile. And it sends a terrible message.

“I believe that we need an intelligent, disinterested dialogue between people on both sides of the border to search for solutions that can help those people who want a better life and at the same time insure that folks who do live here are here legally. And while we’re at it, we should exclude all politicians from that dialogue.”


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Dane Britton, recipes — Peg Britton @ 8:16 pm

It’s that time of year to fiddle with the clocks and change the batteries in the smoke detectors.

Brit said that both KU and K-State won. That’s good. They needed those wins.

The Wichita Eagle came out with a strong endorsement for Jack Wempe. A friend from the past called me yesterday to say they ran my letter to the editor endorsing Jack in the Tribune. In fact, all the papers I read have endorsed Wempe. And Morrison, and Sebelius, and Praeger, and Jenkins, and Thornburgh. That works for me.

I caught the debate between Sebelius and Barnett tonight on PBS. I imagine most voters already know how they are going to cast their ballots.

In sending out letters supporting Jack, I learned that the Lincoln and Lyons papers require payment for political endorsements. I presume the Russell paper does as well and the other Crier papers. I found that interesting. I wonder how they decide that. On an individual basis? What about special elections, which can be very political. Bond elections?

They started Dane on some meds today and hope to change out his catheter on Tuesday. It will be almost two months since it’s been changed and we were told by the urologist who surgically inserted it that it should be changed every month. It’s a struggle to get it changed as no one wants to do it and it’s painful for Dane.

My friend, who knows about southern cooking, sent me her step-by-step recipe for Seafood Gumbo. Janis and Lyman spend a lot of time hovering over the stove in their kitchen and come up with wonderful menus and recipes. I always enjoy reading about what she’s serving for holidays and wish I were there. Dane has requested gumbo so when Mackenzie sends the file/sassafras, I’ll be ready to roll. I have all the other ingredients. It’s a large recipe and will work well for a family gathering.

Time to tend to laundry.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:19 pm

The other evening, there was an excellent documentary on the Stremnaya Road of Death in Bolivia. If you have an opportunity to view it, I highly recommend it. It’s a pretty amazing piece of road.

I showed the pictures to Brit to see if he’d like to go on an afternoon drive and he said it reminded him too much of our Tin Cup adventures over 45 years ago. We took the “back way” to Tin Cup on a road that had been partially carved out of the mountain with a teaspoon. We had his sister’s long Buick station wagon and we inched forward and backward on the road just like the fourth picture down. On my side of the car, there was no road. There wan’t a road! If anyone had come from the other way, I wouldn’t be talking about it now.

When we pulled in Tin Cup people looked at us like we’d performed some miracle, which we probably had. The road was not a road, but a path for very small 4-wheel drive vehicles and everyone in the world knew that except us. I don’t know yet how we made it.

So, while I’m in Bolivia viewing the heights, I’ll let Ally drive us to Colombia to see what is described as The most beautiful river in the world. Or we can fly into La Macarena and go from there, dancing all the way to the river… right arm out palm down, left arm out palm down, right arm out palm up, left arm out palm up…yay, yay.

I’ll check in with you when I get back. heheh — in my dreams.


Filed under: friends, recipes — Peg Britton @ 11:05 am

I was googling for a bean soup recipe and this one in MY archives appeared at the top of the list. It’s good and I thought I’d run it again in case you missed it the first time around.


It seemed just the right time to stir up a kettle of Marci’s favorite soup. With houseguests arriving today, I find it convenient to have a few things ready to go to meet the cry of empty stomachs.

German Bean and Sausage Soup

2 slices bacon
1/2 c. chopped onion
1 cup sliced carrots
1 c. cubed, peeled potatoes
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp. marjoram leaves
1/4 tsp. pepper
2 c. water
1 1/2 c. thinly sliced smoked bratwurst or Polish sausage (kielbasa)
16 oz. can green beans, UNDRAINED
16 oz. can Great Northern beans or white beans UNDRAINED

Cook bacon until crisp; drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. set aside.
Saute onion in reserved drippings until tender. Add carrots, potato, parsley, marjoram, pepper and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer about 20 minutes.

Add bratwurst, beans and reserved bacon. Heat thoroughly.

She also recommends a big loaf of warm, crusty bread and butter at the side. You can use your imagination for other things that would enhance the soup.

I’ve made this several times and everyone always enjoys it. I don’t follow the “amounts” at all since I hate to measure stuff. (That’s why I’m lousy at making desserts.) I also add garlic, chicken stock and leave the skins on new potatoes. Don’t pay any attention to that. Marci doesn’t put them in hers and she knows what she is doing. I usually try to restrain myself and make the recipe as given the first time. After that I extrapolate at will.

When making this, I throw enough in it for a big batch… 3 to 4 times her recipe. I just judge amounts from preference, experience and taste. It works for me and the way I cook.

Lastly, I should add…I’m sure Marci would want others to know that she isn’t taking credit for this recipe…she didn’t hover over the stove with a lot of ingredients at hand and dream up this concoction. It probably came from someone related to or friends of friends of her Section 27 German Mennonite family. She probably grew up eating this soup. I remember a recipe by the person who fed it to me or passed it on to me as being very good. That’s why I call it her soup. So, no matter where it came from, to me, this is Marci’s German Bean and Sausage Soup…and it is good. I just sampled my latest batch and it is terrific, even if I do say so myself.

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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:22 am

The Tuesday night poker game brought an item of interest to Dane: Ellsworth’s own Maico Industries is building part of the border fence. Dane was at a table with one of the employees who said they were building segments for the 700 miles of fence along the Mexican border designed to be part of the deterrent to keep “drug smuggling cars” from getting through.

Now landowners along the fence are worried the fence will endanger their livelihoods and encroach on their property. They remind me of the “wife you can’t live with and can’t live without”. For years they have complained and demanded that something be done about the border. Now, they are complaining that the double-layer 6 billion dollar fence cutting through their land will keep them and their livestock from the river. The river is the border so they ponder where the fence is going to be built.

Yesterday Linda used up the last day of one of her rare vacations from work so we went to Yoder to poke around. Neither of us had been there in years and it was time to revisit the area. In order to get our bearings, we stopped at the Stress Center in Hutch to see Rita Dawson, our acupuncturist friend, to get directions to Gene’s Bulk Foods. We met her daughter, Penny, and one of two granddaughters who were there. After hearing so much about her family, it was nice to meet them. Sunshine got a big hug too.

Gene’s Bulk Foods is my kind of store, east of South Hutch on 96 by Stutzman’s Greenhouse. It’s Amish through and through. One side is bulk foods, the other cards, books, gifts, etc. They have all those good things that are hard to find: course-ground yellow corn for mush, thick cut oatmeal, barley and other grains in all forms, homemade noodles, spices galore, seeds of every variety both whole and ground. I don’t bake any more but for those who do, the varieties of flour are worth the trip. I bought Brit Amish-grown popping corn and Dane some snacks.

We spent the rest of the time in Yoder where, even though it’s a very small town, there are lots of things to see and do. We had lunch at the Carriage Crossing which is a must if you’re in the area. They are famous for their specialties, homemade breads and pies. I’d venture a guess that everything they serve is excellent.

Yoder Meats is another mandatory stop for their award-winning sausages, smoked bacon and ham, jerky and almost any cut of meat you’d want. Everything comes from locally raised corn-fed beef and pork, free-range chickens and turkeys. You’ll also find an assortment of other things like home canned meat, bulk foods, Amish cheeses, baked goods, Kansas products and more.

The Dutch Mill Bakery was almost finished for the day, but they still had bread, rolls and cookies. They also have fruit pies and cakes but were out by the time we got there. There was a roomful of rolls in the back as they bake hamburger and hot dog buns for fast food places like Spangles and Wild Hog.

We stopped in the furniture store so Linda could make a purchase. I looked at a couple of expandable dining room tables and know where to get one after Ally, our table repair person, can no longer keeps ours together. They can make anything you want out of wood and their craftsmanship is impeccable.

There are lots of other shops and stores that carry a variety of gifts, crafts and hard to find items.

My friend, Pauline, has this to say: Yoder is a neat little community isn’t it. We have eaten in the restaurant a couple of times and went through the museum and looked in at the bakery and the carriage shop. There used to be an old barn north of town just full of antiques that we loved going through. I don’t know if it is still in business or not as it has been years since we were there. There was a hardware store downtown that we got hard to find parts from for antique kerosene lamps.

Dane isn’t feeling very well…bladder infection continues…and he wants some company. He says he hasn’t had any visitors all week and would like for me to come over and sit with him. He’s been here and had company. Linda Kohls was here and he loved his time visiting with her. But…the home is different and he gets lonesome as there really isn’t anyone for him to visit with. So, that’s my plan for the rest of the day. Maybe we can get outside for awhile.

Thanks for tuning in. And, as my friend, Linda Hanney, reminded me: Don’t forget to sleep in tomorrow.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 9:25 am

Steve Abrams of Ark City, who is the board chairman of the KSBOE, has defended the work of Commissioner of Education Bob Corkins when no one in education has. Abrams: “I will certainly argue that we have been moving forward very, very well under his leadership,” according to Abrams as quoted in the Kansas City Star.Corkins, you will recall, had absolutely no experience in education before he was appointed. He also was not recommended by the selection committee who traditionally has screened candidates.

It kind of reminds you of all that success the president keeps telling us about in Iraq.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:18 pm

We were prepared for the worst weather….rain gear, umbrellas, blankets, the works. We ate before the game and watched as it poured. It rained all the way to Salina. The football field was slick and muddy after a few plays up and down the field. It was cold, 48 degrees, windy and wet. There was a good contingent of Ellsworth fans to cheer on the Bearcats. The visitors bleachers are so bad I couldn’t really see much of the game. I watched the scoreboard and got a glimpse of plays occasionally through the wall of players. The season is over and everyone seems relieved.


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

Good morning, Peg! Would you mind posting the information below on your blog regarding our Turkey Bingo event? I’d be most thankful. Deneen ShivelySunflower Civic Club’s Annual Turkey Bingo
Saturday, November 4, at the Kanopolis Community Center
Food Stand opens at 6:00 p.m.; Bingo begins at 7:00 p.m.
Bring your friends for an evening of fun!
Bingo for Turkeys, Ham, Cakes, and CASH! More than $950 worth of Raffle Prizes!
Kanopolis Sunflower Civic Club donates all monies raised back into the community.

Thank you for your support!



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Dane Britton — Peg Britton @ 9:46 pm

This was a red-letter day:Luke called this afternoon to tell us about a very nice promotion he got with L3. He’s now an EE II, electrical engineer 2, which puts him in a supervisory role. Yay! Congratulations Luke! Luke is “favorite granddaughter’s” fiance.

Mackenzie works at the L3 as well. They just finished a big project and it was accepted (which is a big thing) so they were sighing.

Tyler just called from Salina. He passed his board of review and is an Eagle Scout. He joins his brother Drew and Uncle Dane in those lofty ranks. Congratulations Tall Boy! It takes a lot of perseverance to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, especially when boys get in high school. There are a lot of distractions, so many other things to do.

The interesting thing is that when he enters the Air Force next summer it will be at a higher rank since he’s achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. His pay scale will be higher than a new enlistee as well-about $300 a month higher. It’s all part of his long-range plan.

Tomorrow night is the last regular season game for the Bearcats. Dane Simoneau will be a formidable opponent as the Bearcats face Sacred Heart. Dane’s a great quarterback and he’ll do a lot of passing unless wind prevents it. The forecast is for a high of 54 degrees with a 90% chance of rain. Plus strong, damaging winds in the west. Maybe our running game will prevail.

It’s Tall Boy’s last high school game night to stand on the side lines and I’d like to be there. I think almost everyone will be glad to have the season end. I may stay home by the fire if we get the weather they are predicting.

Wind. That reminds me of something funny. Wind chimes are for slow thinkers so they’ll know when the wind is blowing. heheh

Dane and I visited on IM this evening. He’s getting better each time he’s on. He hasn’t felt well today so I hope he’s better tomorrow. He has a lot of pain in his left hip and leg.

It was good to read in the INDY the hospital board turned down the Stitt offer on the Century Building.

They “boys” are heading to bed, and I’m going to follow. I invested in an electric blanket that calls.

Thanks for tuning in.



Filed under: friends, political musings — Peg Britton @ 5:40 pm

“I’m having a problem with Iraq now, too. Never thought I’d say that. Don’t want to cut and run; don’t want to stay; don’t see any hope for that country. Shouldn’t have gone, shouldn’t quit now. Can’t see pulling out after all the brave kids we’ve lost; can’t see staying and losing a lot more. I’m not sure democracy is well tolerated by stone age people, so I wonder if they’ll ever really buy in to it….. (With all this dithering, I am also grateful I’m not a politician. I don’t like feeling this doubt…) “And from Kris Thompson:

Tonight I start the long journey home. In a week I should be state-side!!! I can hardly wait. I miss all of you terribly. I miss familiar things, even family drama!

Kay Bailey sent me the same Hyperlinks. I saved that photo of Gabe and Jenny from the Topeka newspaper. It is a wonderful thing to see those two reunited!

Thankfully, we did not lose any Soldiers in 2-9 Cav. We recently lost some Soldiers from 3rd Brigade, but they weren’t from my Battalion. Still it is very sad and troubling to hear of Soldiers being killed this close to the end.

I always have to laugh when I hear people say, “There would be less violence if the U.S. pulled out of Iraq.” That is a dream. We are the only thing resembling authority and stability in Iraq. Where we go, violence against Iraqis slows or stops, because the killers just go elsewhere to kill. They go where it is easier to operate. When we leave an area, the killing begins again.

Believe me, when our nation finally loses its collective faith in this war (which I believe is happening now) and we leave this place, there will be blood-letting on an amazing scale. The men we have armed and trained will turn on each other, and the slaughter will be terrific.

I have come to realize in this past year that we didn’t free the Iraqi people, we put their Zoo Keeper in jail. When we leave, a new Zoo Keeper will come to power, and he will rule Iraq the same way Saddam did…with a whip.

History books will point the finger at George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, or even Karl Rove for all this death, but, in the end, the blame rests in the bloody hands of the Iraqi People. We have given them the greatest gift in the world, and they are frittering it away.

I guess we can talk about all of this when I get home.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 4:45 pm

Letter to the Editor:

As they have spent most of their time ruminating about creationism, Kansas State Board of Education member Ken Willard and his extremist cohorts are unable to point to legitimate accomplishments during their tenure on the board other than writing their own personal religious beliefs into state science standards and appointing a totally unqualified Commissioner of Education, Bob Corkins.

Corkins is known to educators throughout the state as one who lacks credentials in public education yet is extraordinarily vocal in his opposition to it.

Corkins costs taxpayers $140,000 a year in salary and benefits. He formed a team of six-figure minions to do the job he is unable to. Our Department of Education has been decimated due to an exodus of long-time, exemplary employees.

It’s time to demand accountability and elect representatives who respect personal religious beliefs of parents and children of every denomination and who can unite with all Kansans to provide solutions to genuine problems in education.

The path to spare the system from Corkins and to re-direct the activities of the KSBOE require electing a qualified replacement for Willard. Extremist board member Connie Morris was soundly trounced and even her own home county rejected her in the Republican primary. Retiring board member Iris Van Meter’s carpetbagger son-in-law, who she handpicked for her replacement on the board, also was walloped. He quickly returned to Idaho leaving his Kansas school without a math teacher.

Until her term ends in January, Connie Morris continues to spend taxpayer money on her pleasure junkets. The conferences she purports to attend are not designed to help school students. Ken Willard is her strongest supporter and the two are responsible for promulgating the travel policy that has enabled Morris to take lavish vacations at our expense.

Jack Wempe needs to be voted in to replace Willard. With Wempe on the board, we will be assured Bob Corkins will no longer be in charge of our children and grandchildren’s education.

When elected, Jack Wempe will help bring moderation and credibility back to the State Board of Education. He and his wife, Vicky, have six children, live in Lyons and have a long history of service to the area.

Jack Wempe and I have worked on matters of public education since the early ’60s and I know him to be eminently well-qualified for membership on the KSBOE.

Wempe’s credentials include having served four years as a member of the Kansas Board of Regents, two years as vice-chairman and one year as chairman; 20 years in education as a teacher, coach and school superintendent; 8 years as a Democratic member of the Kansas House of Representatives, 14 years as a small business owner, 5 years as Rice County Economic Development Director and owner and manager of residential property.

Please encourage your friends and relatives to vote for Jack Wempe for State Board of Education in District #7

Peg Britton, Ellsworth,
Resident of KSBOE District #7
Past-president, Kansas Association of School Boards
Past board member, Kansas State Professional Teaching Standards Board
Past executive team member, Kansas State High School Activities Association


Filed under: family — Peg Britton @ 9:44 am

When you have only recently taken up “running” and have never run a marathon before, finishing the race is everything. And that’s what grandson, Rod Helus, and his friend Gennifer did Sunday in Chicago. They accomplished their first goal by finishing the Chicago Marathon, not in the time they had hoped, but they finished.”It was one of the single toughest things that I have ever done. It was great, very cold but A LOT of crowd support,” he said.

Congratulatons Rod and Gen.

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