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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:53 pm

Major cities harbor rat populations and we know small towns are a draw for those hairy creatures coming from the prairie looking for food and shelter.  Rats want to live where we do, where food is plentiful and comforts of home are available.  Rats are, well…to most of us… pretty loathsome creatures.

I mention this because they seem to be poking around in greater numbers.  There was one described as “huge” outside a store at the north end of town early one morning.  One of our intrepid hunters pulled a shotgun out of his truck and made short order out of it.  Thank you very much.

Last night Ally was going home about 8 pm when… “SIX HUGE RATS” ….that would be a rat pack…ran in front of her crossing the street east to west by Post Rock Rural Water office on Douglas.  HUGE.  VERY BIG, LONG RATS WITH LONG TAILS. SIX OF THEM.

That’s the end of that story unless someone else has a citing to record.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 4:37 pm

Last night Steven Cobert lambasted Canton Georgia then apologized and found a smaller Canton to degrade….Canton, Kansas.  Here’s the video if you want to take a look.


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends — Peg Britton @ 2:09 pm

Our good friends, Bob and Dana, stopped by today for a visit.  They live in Tennessee and are here visiting relatives.  It’s always good to see them as we go back many years and share a lot of history together. Sadly, both our families have dwindled since those early years.

We talked about our Alaskan cruise then Bob recalled his only exposure to Alaska when he was in the Marines…many, many years go. They put them off ship on Kodiak Island and they spent a month in the wilderness on maneuvers….in December.  He remembers how cold it was, and how after pitching a tent and before trying to sleep, they had to break the ice off their bedrolls with their trenching shovel.  They must have spent most their time wandering around in the dark.  Like he said…you do what you have to do to survive.

Another friend from my youth, Bev Pribble Pinkerton, and one of her son’s are coming to visit on Sunday.  She lives in Lincoln NE and is attending her high school reunion in McPherson this weekend. We stay in touch, but see each other only occasionally when reunions, trips to cemeteries, or other such events bring her this way. I told Brit he would have surprise visitors for his 10 am family breakfast at KCs on Sunday. He beamed when I told him who it was. We’re also very fond of her son, Mark.

Ally has had a run on the chicken cordon bleu that she featured at the deli today. It’s good stuff.  Brit had already headed to Orozco’s for lunch before he knew it was an option. Once you get “Orozco’s” in your head, it’s not something easily removed.

The organizers of the next Red Cross blood mobile are having it to honor Dane. Our family is very happy about that.  It’s going to be on August 11th.  You might want to circle the date. I’ll post details about it later as I learn more.  Mackenzie found her dad’s donor card in his billfold and it indicated he gave 59 pints and stopped only when he had his stroke.  There were times he couldn’t  donate as foreign travel eliminated him as a candidate, but he faithfully gave every time that he could.

I heard a funny story the other day while visiting with a friend about his grandmother, whom I adore.  Anyway, she had four sons and two daughters, and they all loved her pies, particularly fresh cherry pie. She would spend endless hours pitting cherries and baking pies only to see each growing boy devour a whole pie and still yearn for more.  Pitting cherries just got her down.  She solved her dilemma by eliminating the pitting.  The boys were stunned when they discovered what she had done, but soon learned to slow down eating pie and carefully chew each bite while sorting out the pits.  She’s a clever woman, that Lucille.

Thanks for tuning in….


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 1:29 pm

On Saturday, August 2nd, you can load up the family and take them to Ellsworth’s Municipal Airport for a breakfast of pancakes and a good look at experimental aircraft that will be taking part in the 17th Annual Cowtown Fly-in.

The event starts at 7:00 and will include a parade of aircraft flying over Ellsworth.

It’s anyone’s guess how many pilots will participate in this event, but expectations run high for another successful fly-in scheduled by members and organizers for the event.
It’s a good thing to support events such as this…and they are fun…so try to be there.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:20 pm

Check out this individual.,,,Brian Charles Orr.


Yes, it is official everywhere except from official sources.  Brian Charles Orr has been charged with first degree murder, aggravated battery, criminal possession of a firearm and a drug felony.  If you click on the above link, you’ll see he has a rap sheet a mile long.

We’ll see if this information politically charges the race in McPherson County for county attorney.  This guy should not have been running around loose and if McPherson County had done it’s job, perhaps a life would have been saved.  Had he be kept in Larned longer, perhaps they could have helped him more.  He could have killed a lot more people had that been his ultimate goal. Certainly there was the opportunity.

Now, let’s see where officials go with this and how well they do their job of charging this individual, trying him in a court of law and convicting him.  He’ll probably enter a plea tomorrow.  Certainly up to this point, law enforcement personnel did an extraordinary job by apprehending the suspect in less than two hours. Today they recovered the shotgun that had been discarded by the shooter.

More here.


If you have any information on this individual, please call 911.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 2:15 pm

By now, I’m sure you’ve heard about the $398 million dollar “Bridge to Nowhere”  in Ketchikan Alaska.  It was the pet project of Sen. Ted Stevens.   Stevens and his leadership PAC, Northern Lights, donated $19,785 to Kansas Senator Pat Roberts. And, after 40 years in Washington, Pat Roberts was willing to take money from his friend, Sen. Ted Stevens, then vote for Stevens’ pork barrel spending pet project, “The Bridge to Nowhere.”

A not so ethical Roberts is a member of the Senate Ethics Committee.

The Gravina Island Bridge was a proposed bridge to replace the ferry that currently connects the city and borough of Ketchikan, Alaska, to the Ketchikan International Airport on Gravina Island. The members of the Alaskan congressional delegation, namely Rep. Don Young and Sen. Ted Stevens, were the bridge’s biggest advocates in congress and helped push for the funding.  Ketchikan probably deserves a better way to get to the airport on the island rather than a ferry but a $400 million bridge isn’t the answer.According to USA Today, the bridge was to have been nearly as long as the Golden Gate Bridge and taller than the Brooklyn Bridge. Ketchikan’s primary industry is tourism, so the bridge was designed to be tall enough to accommodate the cruise ships which frequent the Alaskan waters during the summer.  Ketchikan has a population of about 7,600.  Only a handful of people live on Gravina Island.

Ted Stevens, the longest-serving Republican senator in history had been indicted on charges that he hid $250,000 in gifts from an oil company looking for favors.

Now, there’s an arrest warrant out for the 84-year-old senator. He’s been stripped of his top committee rankings. His career is crumbling. His hopes for reelection are in serious doubt.

The indictment charges Stevens with failing to report on his financial disclosure forms $250,000 in “things of value” including remodeling work on his home, a Viking grill and a sweetheart deal on a Land Rover.

The indictment further alleges that “during the same time he was concealing his continued receipt of these things of value from VECO and [VECO executive Bill J.] Allen,” that Stevens “received solicitations for official actions from Allen and other VECO employees, and that Sen. Stevens used his position and office on behalf of VECO during that same time period.”

Stevens is a former Senate Appropriations Committee chairman who has funneled billions of dollars in earmarks and federal funds back to his home state, but he become the butt of jokes over the so-called “bridge to nowhere” earmark that became a symbol of Washington excess.

All those folks currently serving in Congress need to be replaced.  Not a one of them will get my vote.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 1:37 pm

Our daughter, Ally, rounded another bend today and hit a very youthful 54.  Happy Birthday, Ally….and have many, many more special birthdays.

We rounded up the family last night and went to Meridy’s in Russell to celebrate.  It was something Ally wanted to do as she and the rest of the family hadn’t been there, we figured, for about 15 years.  Well, I’ve been there just passing through going from here to yonder, but the others hadn’t. She wanted to go for the steaks, as did the others, but I’ll make the trip that way just for their homemade onion rings.

I’m just not fond of fried “stuff”, but Meridy’s onion rings are just wonderful…lots of sweet onion rings, dipped in a very thin coating of an egg and flour batter then lightly fried. Onions are among my most favorite foods.  Two big platters of them quickly disappeared. Run of the mill onion rings that are served in most restaurants are about as bad as food can get, imo.

The steaks were terrific, they said. Certainly they are well-known for their top-quality steaks.  I opted for something lighter. Karen baked a German Chocolate Cake for the occasion and we had it with ice cream when we returned.  All in all, it was a very nice evening….and we are going to KCs tonight for dinner, something a little lighter.  And, there is a surprise awaiting her this afternoon for her as well.  Birthdays are special around here.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:10 pm

My friend, Ryon Carey, sent me the following.  It indicates where the shotgun came from:

McPherson County -

The suspect in a stolen vehicle case in McPherson County was arrested in Lincoln County after a chase resulting from a home invasion and shooting in Ellsworth County.

A 911 call was received Monday afternoon by the Ellsworth County Sheriff’s Office regarding the shooting. The man who was shot died of his injuries overnight.

“They got into a struggle and during that struggle the gentlemen was shot at close range in the stomach,” said Tracy Ploutz, the Ellsworth County Sheriff.

The Kansas Highway Patrol helicopter chased the 30-year-old suspect for about five miles before he gave up. He was taken into custody.

A deputy filed a report at 8:42 a.m. Monday regarding a stolen vehicle from the 700 block of Moccasin Road. The vehicle, a 1989 Dodge pickup, and a shotgun were valued at $3,350. Keys were left in the vehicle. The vehicle was later recovered in a ditch in Rice County.

Charges are pending in McPherson and Ellsworth counties.

Ryon is speculating on who pulled the trigger.  His educated guess says the man’s initials are SC.  We’ll see.


Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Heritage turkeys/chickens — Peg Britton @ 11:59 am

Here’s the latest on the Heritage turkeys:

My four turkeys are growing by the day. They are still in their outside maximum security pen with plenty of shade and room to romp. As I was leaving the farmette yesterday, I saw a wild mother turkey and a whole troop of babies - I’d say around 16, foot tall chicks. We’ve been seeing them around the farmette now almost daily. Upon closer examination we believe that several of those babies are some of our escapees from the early brooding house days - prior to the Alcatraz lockdown. It looks like at least a handful are much bigger than their brothers and sisters. That could signal my breed and not wild ones. So, now I am not sure what to do. Eventually I want to let my four turkeys out of confinement - but not if they are just going to join up with a band of wild ones. What’s a turkey farmer to do? Maybe Ryon would chime in on this one.

PS - I’m pretty sure that I’m ending up with one Tom and three Helens. Perfect!



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:22 pm

More of the story is unfolding about yesterday’s shooting.  It may be some time before all the facts unfold.

I saw Larry Griffith over lunch and the mother of one of the highway patrolmen who was involved in the arrest.  In trying to piece things together, it appears the gunman was from McPherson, in his early 30s and recently released from prison.  He stole a car in McPherson, and ended up in Kanopolis. He tried to steal a vehicle at John and Ruth Wacher’s but apparently it had no gas. The next report was that he drove a vehicle in the ditch by Harold Griffith’s, according to his brother Larry, and stole Diana Griffith’s vehicle and perhaps Harold’s shotgun.

He came around through Ellsworth, apparently within a stone’s throw of our house, and headed north on 14.  He stopped at houses along the way, looking for money, etc. One report was that he stopped at Kathy Weatherly’s and other’s along the way heading north.

According to Caleb Svaty, the intruder broke into his grandparent’s house.  His grandparents were in the basement watching TV and their dogs alerted them to something amiss.  He went upstairs and the intruder demanded money.  His grandfather had none, so the intruder took his grandmother’s purse.  Something caused his grandfather to try to stop the intruder and in a scuffle, he was shot in the abdomen.  He was airlifted to a Wichita hospital for surgery but did not survive and died around 9:30 at the hospital. What a tragedy for the family and community to endure.

The Independent Reporter should have more details of the event in tomorrow’s paper.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 8:45 pm

Sean Tevis, a 39 year old Democrat from Olathe, decided to run for the Kansas Legislature but needed at least $26,000 to compete with the Republican incumbent.  He said that everyone he knew was on a fixed income, worried about losing a job or worried about the economy and he didn’t think he had a chance of raising that much money.

Not knowing what to do, Tevis created an on line comic strip that he thought might appeal to his supporters.  He used simple stick figures to represent himself and his GOP opponent and others. Before he finished his comic strip, he walked the streets asking cash-strapped friends for donations and raised $1,525.


See the rest of this very humorous comic strip here.

The comic strip was first posted on line July 16th. When he filed his financial report today with the Kansas secretary of state’s office, Tevis’ report will show that he raised $95,162.76 in donations through PayPal, the online service that allows payments and money transfers via the Internet.

This is a very interesting rags to riches campaign story about this very creative, information architect candidate.  Read all of it here.

You just gotta hope this guy wins!


Filed under: Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:23 pm

The quiet, peaceful little town of Ellsworth was thrown into an upheaval this afternoon when word was received around 4 p.m. that Richard Kroll had been shot at point blank range with a shotgun in the lower part of his abdomen outside his home north of Ellsworth. Richard and Donna Kroll live close to I-70 and Highway 14.

Richard was airlifted to Wichita where relatives stated he was in surgery for a long period of time and his condition was extremely critical.

The shooting was observed by his wife who remained inside the house and called for help when Richard went outside to see what the intruder was doing on their property. Law enforcement personnel apprehended the shooter after a chase through the southwest part of Lincoln County.

The shooter had pulled a gun on someone else in that area asking for directions to Great Bend.

It was also said that the shooter stole a truck belonging to Larry Griffith who also lives in the area north of town, went from door to door then to the Kroll’s presumably to obtain money or to steal property.The suspect is being held in the Ellsworth County Law Enforcement Center.

Richard and Donna Kroll are the parents of Connie Svaty.  Our thoughts are with Connie, David and their family.



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 3:02 pm

I’m not sure how McCain can claim to be physically fit to be president when he gets a 100% disability pension from the Navy.  His tax return last year showed he received a pension of $58,358 that was not listed as income on his return.  If he is so physically fit, then why is he still accepting the tax-free pension?  I think that’s a legitimate question to ask.

McCain was a prisoner of war in Hanoi for a little over 5 years and suffered through painful rehabilitation sessions after he was released in 1973. He then regained flight status and was commander of a naval squadron before he retired in 1981.  I don’t know if he was able to “run the stairs” and lift his arms above his head at that time.  He can’t now.

If elected, he would be the oldest president in our history when he entered office. We’re respectful and appreciative of his service to his country, but as others also believe, it isn’t something that automatically qualifies him to be president. He doesn’t appear to be any more disabled than Franklin D. Roosevelt; however, Roosevelt was 51 when he was elected the first time. No president has died of natural causes in office since Roosevelt.

I wonder if having a person McCain’s age and with such physical disabilities serving in such a difficult position is a wise thing for the country. We understand he was retired because of limited mobility due to injuries as a POW. He still has those limitations and he walks the stairs slowly and he can’t lift his arms to comb his hair.    He’s also gone through two bouts of melanoma which can be a deadly form of cancer.  The fact of the matter is, McCain is old at age 71.  I understand being “old”.  It’s an energy zapper. And from observing others who have been elected president, they age while in office in “dog years”….seven years for every year served. That would make McCain appear to be 109 years old after one term in office.

And why does McCain continue to collect disability when he reports income between a quarter and half million a year…and his wife’s incredible financial holdings are far beyond our comprehension?  Why is McCain awarded 100% disability payments when we have young men and women returning from Iraq with missing body parts, disabling brain injuries and so traumatized they are unable to function and who are getting no disability compensation whatsoever?

These questions need to be answered.


Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 12:59 pm


Isn’t this just a glorious assortment of beautiful flowers?  These are photographs by Cheryl Unruh, that appear on her Flyover People website  right here.  They were taken at Emporia’s farmers’ market. I’d like to think some of our local horticulturists who have an interest in these beauties might open a stand at our local market.  I’d be in the market for a bouquet or two of freshly cut flowers each week, and I’m sure others would as well.


You’ll enjoy seeing Cheryl’s other photos taken at the farmers’ market so continue scrolling.  Explore her Flyover People website and discover the wonderful photos she’s taken of many of the small and widely overlooked communities in Kansas.
Mackenzie and Luke attended the farmers’ market in Royse City yesterday.  It was the second week of an experimental stab at establishing a market for that area.  They loved it.  There were many vendors with a wide assortment of locally grown produce and other preserved items.  One vendor was offering free samples of his fresh figs.  Mackenzie couldn’t bring herself to try them, but they would have found a good customer in me.  He also sells fig preserves so I’m hoping for a jar when she arrives Saturday.  If she can manage a sack of fresh fig through security, so much the better.

Farmers’ markets are a sign of a good, robust, supportive community. Encourage the growth of ours by stopping by the market on Saturday morning between 8 and 10 and buying some locally grown produce.  It’s the right thing to do.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 11:58 am

It’s always fun to take notice of nice things that are about to unfold in my life: friend, Ryon, is coming from Lindsborg for a visit tomorrow;  friend, Robin, is coming Tuesday; daughter, Ally, will pass another milestone on Wednesday so on Tuesday we’re going to Meridy’s to start the celebration; Saturday granddaughter, Mackenzie, arrives for a week’s visit; the Olympics are approaching; Tyler graduates from Respiratory Therapy school August 22nd and will pass this way on his way to relocate at Lackland AFB in San Antonio.

I feel fortunate to have this much scheduled on my sidebar.


Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 11:16 am

When the head of a prominent cancer research center issues an unprecedented warning, you can bet I’m going to pay attention.

Here’s the story:

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP)  — The head of a prominent cancer research institute issued an unprecedented warning to his faculty and staff Wednesday: Limit cell phone use because of the possible risk of cancer.

The issue that concerns some scientists — though nowhere near a consensus — is electromagnetic radiation.

The issue that concerns some scientists — though nowhere near a consensus — is electromagnetic radiation.

The warning from Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is contrary to numerous studies that don’t find a link between cancer and cell phone use, and a public lack of worry by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Herberman is basing his alarm on early unpublished data. He says it takes too long to get answers from science, and he believes that people should take action now, especially when it comes to children.

“Really at the heart of my concern is that we shouldn’t wait for a definitive study to come out but err on the side of being safe rather than sorry later,” Herberman said.

The rest of the story is here.  Yes, to err on the side of safety is good advice.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:49 am

Eaglecom upgraded their e-mail system yesterday.  The process was supposed to take place between noon and 6:00 p.m. but continued until 10:00.  My service is fine now.  As a suggestion to eaglecom users:  if you have that annoying user box that keeps flying up in the front of your face, type your full eaglecom address and password in the box and it will disappear forever more.



Filed under: prairie musings, print news — Peg Britton @ 12:36 pm

When I was searching for new material for a kitchen counter top, I did some heavy-duty solid surface research before I decided on Zodiaq. I’m glad that I did, although we can’t know everything we need to know.

Stan Rogers sent me the following article, “What’s Lurking in Your Countertop?” that points out potential hazards with granite tops. Some forms of granite have the potential of having elevated levels of radon, a radioactive gas, that can cause lung cancer.

Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer after smoking and is considered especially dangerous to smokers, whose lungs are already compromised.

Personal injury lawyers are already advertising on the Web for clients who think they may have been injured by countertops. “I think it will be like the mold litigation a few years back, where some cases were legitimate and a whole lot were not,” said Ernest P. Chiodo, a physician and lawyer in Detroit who specializes in toxic tort law. His kitchen counters are granite, he said, “but I don’t spend much time in the kitchen.”

This is one of the reasons I chose Zodiaq over granite.  The other is the surface bacterial accumulation and upkeep required with granite. You might want to read the article just for your own information.


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Wilson Musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm


Caleb and James, and another friend from Bethany College, were offering all kinds of locally grown, fresh from the vine, delicious produce this morning under the branches of that lovely cottonwood tree by the railroad tracks. Betty Gwinner waits for James to weigh her produce and return with her change.


Before 8:00 a.m. the queue formed and everyone takes his turn with selections. Selling doesn’t begin until 8:00 so Caleb doesn’t arrive until then. There is always a grouch around to complain if he opens at 7:59.  I was one of the first there and went through the line but had to make a couple trips to the car with my armful of good things.  One sack of sweet corn lies on the ground waiting for my return.

I went through the line a second time and got a few more items.  In addition to all the good things they had last week, the addition of melons was a welcome sight….honeydew, cantelope and watermelon.  His tomato crop has been dismal so he hope to have some from “grandma’s” next week.  The corn was devoid of worms and beautiful. That’s what Brit wants for dinner. Ally is smoking baby back ribs at the Deli today, so we may get a slab of those as well. They are so good!

While we were waiting for Caleb’s arrival, all the emergency vehicles left the fire house zooming past us. I heard that a house located by the cop shop on 3rd street burned to the ground. Fortunately, no one was in the house at the time as it was reduced to cinders very rapidly.  They suspect smoldering electrical wiring might be the cause.

Josh Svaty and Jay Emler showed up for the legislative/polical gathering at the Senior Center in Wilson today.  That once was a huge event and almost everyone running for state political offices were in attendance.  Things change and now there are more festivals like the one in Wilson to draw politicians to them.  The parade was well-attended.  The gathering in the Wilson park for last night’s activities was huge, it was reported.

Eaglenet is updating today so I’ll post this now.  Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 2:42 pm


Brit and I have always liked totems.  He even carved one out of a big cottonwood trunk years ago with a small chain saw. Actually, it was pretty neat until a flicker pecked a huge hole in it and layed her eggs in it.  After that, it deteriorated pretty rapidly.

We’ll never know for certain, but we all suspect Brit’s main purpose in wanting to go to Alaska was to find a hand-carved totem for the front porch.  He had something in mind in the neighborhood of 8 to 10 feet tall.  The bigger the better.

He doesn’t shop much anymore so we’re not sure what he thought such an art object would cost….but we knew it would be wayyyy more than he imagined.

He decided on the first one he saw.  It was an eight foot monstrosity with alabaster eyes.  The cute young clerk whispered in agreement with me and said it was the ugliest thing in the store. He thought he loved it and even the price was tolerable to him. Outrageous to the rest of us, but “oh well”.

Then the shop owner told us he didn’t want us to be deceived, and that it had been “made in Indonesia”. We can’t afford to carry the local ones, he said.  A far cry from the authentic totem he was looking for. He was crestfallen and back to the ship he went.

Ally contacted the on-board shopper’s helper with our dilemma and he told her about “Julie’s”, a nice jewelry/art store in Ketchikan where he could find a very nice, hand-carved totem by a well-known artist. Affordable as well.  I can only tell you that if this artist made one that was 10 feet tall it would cost as much as our first house.


It finally arrived today.  Here is another view of it.  Brit has the story that goes with all the various “parts” of it.  He loves it.  We love it, especially the size.

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