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Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:18 am

The wind has been unmerciful on us lately so it seems unearthly quiet this morning as there is not a sign of a breeze.

And, the constant sound of Ally’s chain saw has been silenced.  After two solid weeks on the working side of that machine, she’s at a stopping point. Scott Davis also did a lot of tree-trimming for us this week.  This morning I relish the peace and quiet and lovely results from their efforts.

The Crow’s Nest seems to have survived the storm last night with no serious damage. The Kohls’ brothers put this house together to stay together.

All the flowers Ally planted survived although they look slightly hungover as if they spent the night at the Lucky U Motel.  They will be fine.  The decks are covered with debris, but a good sweeping will take care of that.

Some of my friends weren’t so lucky.  I talked with my friend in Lindsborg whose farm was hit with tornadic winds.   Wind gusts blew out windows, flooded his office and peeled the paint off one side of his house.  It  ripped doors and windows out of chicken houses.  One chicken house was shattered and scattered in the corn field so he was out in the drenching rain searching for shell-shocked chickens.

This same storm system is moving east so it’s not over yet.

I have friends from Wamego arriving today and I’m quite excited about that.  They’ll be here to see the bright lights and experience all the excitement of Ellsworth for a couple of nights. Smile!  We’ve never met face to face so this will be a lot of fun after being net friends for a long time.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:07 pm


Today the ECMC staff had their annual appreciation luncheon for hospital volunteers.  As usual, the food was very good and the chatter around the tables a lot of fun.


Here is a small part of the group…


The ECMC held their annual health fair last Saturday.  Ally stopped to have her blood pressure taken while hospital administrator, Roger Masse, looked on.


The ECMC health fair was well attended.  Many free services were offered and  there were  prizes, vendor gifts and an abundance of information. It was a great production.


The girls put in another full day, sawing, stacking and hauling trash.  I thought we’d see the end of this today but there is at least another full day to go.  It will take a day just to haul and stack firewood.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, blogs — Peg Britton @ 4:28 pm

This is so funny… every Facebook user should see this.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 3:43 pm

 Turned Away, April 26, 2010 The Emporia Gazette.

In addition, the Phelps family consists of:

* Pastor Fred Phelps: head of Westboro Baptist Church
* Marge Phelps, wife of Fred and mother of their 13 children. The children are listed as follows, from oldest to youngest.

* Fred Phelps Jr., staff lawyer at the Kansas Department of Corrections
* Mark Phelps, businessman in Southern California, estranged from the family
* Katherine Phelps-Griffin, law license was indefinitely suspended effective in August 1993 for 30 counts of giving worthless checks
* Margie Phelps, director of re-entry for the Kansas Department of Corrections and a lawyer
* Shirley Phelps-Roper, lawyer at Phelps-Chartered
* Nate Phelps, businessman in Southern California, estranged from family
* Jonathan Phelps, lawyer at Phelps-Chartered
* Rebekah Phelps-Davis, lawyer at Phelps-Chartered
* Elizabeth Phelps, lawyer, no longer in practice
* Tim Phelps, lawyer and employee of the Shawnee County Jail
* Dorotha Bird (nee Phelps), lawyer practicing independently in Topeka, estranged from family
* Rachel Phelps, lawyer at Phelps-Chartered
* Abigail Phelps, works for the Topeka Juvenile Correctional Facility, part of the Juvenile Justice Authority

* 54 grandchildren
* Five great-grandchildren
- Source: The Phelps Family, Wichita Eagle, Apr. 2, 2005. Sidebar to Road to Westboro: What led Fred Phelps to his beliefs and actions?

• See Also: Three Phelps children are on state’s payroll

The brains behind the family is Margie Phelps.  Don’t ever sell her short.  Click here for more about Nate Phelps.



Filed under: political musings, Kansas — Peg Britton @ 8:19 pm

Kris Kobach is a candidate for Kansas Secretary of State.

Under the tough new law law recently signed by the Governor of Arizona, which goes into effect 90 days after the legislative session ends, it will be a state crime for undocumented immigrants to be in Arizona. It is the only state with such a law.

Kris Kobach is a law prof at the University of Missouri at Kansas City School of Law and helped write the law.

Kobach, the controversial nativist activist,  also works as counsel for the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of FAIR, the notorious Federation for American Immigration Reform, which has been tagged a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Kobach is as anti-immigrant as they come. One reason he lost a 2004 bid for Congress, according to some observers, was because, “in general, Kobach was accused of taking money from a white supremacist organization, and the charge stuck.”

Let me see your papers.


Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 7:31 pm


Scott Davis and his daughter came to give Ally a hand.  A lot of equipment is a good thing, especially if it all works.  They had a slight break-down, but tomorrow should be a “full speed ahead” day.


The tree on the right is the next to go.  A large bur oak on the left has expansion plans in mind, as you can see, and is creeping westward. We don’t even think about all the stuff you see way beyond, which is on Ally’s land.


Ally and Rebecca cleared out “The Circle” except for the small part on the “beyond” side.  Scott will clear it out and then it will look very nice.  This would be a great place for another tree house….in the mulberry trees…don’t you think?


See that evergreen that is to the right of Ringo, Ally and the shed?   I planted that little shrub, that now is probably 30 or so feet tall, at the same time I planted the ones by the drive way that are now enormous bonsai plants.  This will be an enormous challenge but I bet it will be something to admire after Ally is finished with it.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Area Sites, blogs — Peg Britton @ 11:10 am

“The largest interior marsh in the United States, Cheyenne Bottoms is one of the most important shorebird migration stopover points in the Western Hemisphere.  More than half of all shore birds that migrate east of the Rockies pass through this 40,000-acre lowland…”

My friend, Cheryl Unruh, of Flyover People has an excellent post about Cheyenne Bottoms as it appeared as one of her columns in the Emporia Gazette.  Cheryl is one of the best writers around, imo, and I never fail to thoroughly enjoy each and every blog post, essay, column and article she writes.  She’s just very good at what she does.  She also takes wonderful photos.

Cheryl has taken one of my favorite topics, and places to visit, and explained it in a way I never could. The topic is Cheyenne Bottoms…

The Bottoms is located about a marathon race from my house.  It’s the place that swallows me up in its vastness and spits me out hours later much the happier for the experience.

This link  is one I think you should read if you live around here so that you’re better informed about what this very unique attraction means to Kansas.

If you don’t live around here, reading what Cheryl has to say will whet your appetite for visiting the Bottoms as a destination.  It is a treasure for bird lovers and prairie people.

Thanks, Cheryl, for another of your perspectives of Cheyenne Bottoms…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 1:01 pm


Here is our burn pile at the dump. It’s much larger than it appears.


The foreground was a dense forest before Ally took her chain saw to it.  It is only a small section of the “Circle”, as we call it, that needed clearing.  You can even see my house now that she has trimmed  the evergreens around it.  Before that, it was hard to spot. Actually, this is a view of the house few people see.  The window at the left of the fireplace chimney is where I  sit at my computer and view the outside world and all it’s wonder. I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be.

When Ally lived outside Breckenridge at 11,000 feet, she had to cut 10 to 12 cords of wood each summer so she’d have enough stay warm during the winter.  She knows her way around a chain saw, as does Todd.  They worry me sick as accidents can happen so quickly.

The neat thing about our yard, is that this week I have been walking around the house…up and down the slopes.  It’s a good trek from the other side of the house that you see here and around the circle which you can’t see in its entirety.  And…for well over a year, since a good case of Lupus was hurled at me, I haven’t been able to walk in the yard at all.  For a long time I was doing well to walk 25 feet.  So now…I’m on a roll.  I can walk again with some assurance I’m not going to collapse flat on my face.  I don’t know how long this will last, but I’m sure enjoying it.  I push a little more each day.

After all the struggle I had with getting a second sleep study, Apria’s Jerry finally called to say a new machine is on its way and that it has a heated hose.  I need the extra humidity, but with the machine I have now I feel like Lloyd Bridges (for those of you old enough to remember his show), gurgling away as my mask fills with water and I’m forced to surface for air periodically during the night. Mackenzie says the heated hose eliminates all that condensation along the route of the hose. Let’s hope it works.

I learned at the grocery store, the source of all information, that our rains last night and yesterday accumulated to about 2 1/2 inches. It all soaked in. They also said they had over 5″ in Salina.

Don’t forget all the activity at the ECMC tomorrow at their administration building.  You’ll not want to miss it.  It opens at 9 and continues until noon.  It’s a great service to the community so take advantage of it.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:22 pm

Although she didn’t say so, I think my friend Rose, who lives in Texas, was not going to let her Texas Bluebonnets go unnoticed after the fine display of Arizona desert flowers. I am delighted she sent these to share.

These pictures were taken near Bristol, Ellis County, TX….Welcome to God’s country.



This photo with the trees, mist and colorful flowers is a beauty.


More Bluebonnets with Indian Paint Brushes  in one fine array of color.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 10:50 am

Indianapolis — The NCAA is on the verge of expanding the men’s basketball tournament from 65 to 68 teams beginning next year and announced a new, $10.8 billion broadcasting deal with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting on Thursday that will allow every game to be shown live for the first time.

For the rest of the story in the LJW, click here…


Filed under: prairie musings, political musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 9:59 am


Today’s Google Doodle is Earth Day 2010.  Environmentalist’s big day is 40 years old.  They have some very creative people who work for Google, don’t you think?I

It rained last night and this morning.  A couple of strong rain storms are predicted for today.

Saturday is the Annual Health Fair at the hospital.  It’s a good time to get your blood pressure, skin and cholesterol checked. Stop in the hospital administration building between 9:00 am and 12:00 pm and participate in the activities toward better health your hospital staff has to offer.  You can register to win a Nintendo Wii gaming system.  There will be five minute massages offered for a donation to the hospital.  Door prizes will be awarded hourly.

I dislike mentioning Fred Phelps name or giving his family any publicity; however, Phelps’s son, Nate, has a story to tell and it’s something everyone should know. The following appeared on the website of my friend, Mousie Cat,  “Evolving in Kansas”:

Friday, April 16, 2010
Fred Phelps’s son, Nate, tells his story

Nate Phelps, son of Westboro Baptist Church’s infamous Fred Phelps, escaped from hell on earth within the Phelps family’s compound on his 18th birthday. When you read this, you will understand more about life inside a community ruled by a tyrannical, violent man who brainwashed and tortured his family.

The worst thing is the way Phelps’s twisted beliefs came to justify severely beating his wife and children. He had a Bible verse (Old Testament) to justify every horrible act he committed.

The good news is that two of Fred’s sons and one of his daughters escaped the family. The bad news is that so many of the remaining children and their children remain the victims of this hateful madman.

Nate Phelps’s physical escape from the family compound was only the beginning of his difficult journey to a rational life. Just imagine if all of your beliefs were beaten into you, and they were toxic ideas, irrational ideas, hateful ideas. Then imagine coming out into the world equipped with a belief system that simply didn’t work, and a personality that was deeply scarred by someone who claimed to love you but beat you mercilessly for any real or imagined infraction of his rules.

It’s a wonder Nate Phelps survived, both physically and emotionally. But he has survived, and his writing needs to be read. There are vicious people in the world, but most of them are not so public about their sickening beliefs. We need to know, and beware.

The question that remains is how Fred Phelps became what he is.

Thanks for tuning in…



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

The following photos were sent to me by an ex-Ellsworth resident who now lives on the south west desert.  I always look forward to his pictures as they are so beautiful and show the struggle these plants undergo to bloom.


This is an Arizona Jack Rabbit.  Look at the ears on this beauty.  When I was young, Kansas was still full of big-eared Jack’s even though there were massive hunts in the early 1900s that nearly eradicated them from the landscape.  I haven’t seen one around here in several years but I know others do see them occasionally.


Aren’t these beautiful?


Here’s another beauty.


Thanks, Sam, for sending these beauties for us to enjoy.


Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF, Afghanistan — Peg Britton @ 8:20 am


I’m posting this photo of a young Afghani boy just as a reminder we are waging a war in Afghanistan.  There seems to be so little interest in what we are doing there, or even why we are there.  I have to search through papers to find information about our progress, or lack of it. The embedded journalists left after the fall of Baghdad to work independently of the military.  Have they too lost interest?

Like many other grandmothers, I have a grandson in Afghanistan.  He’s safe enough behind the wire and isn’t in the field risking his life on a daily basis  so I don’t worry about his well-being.  He’s a CSTARS respiratory therapist and when he isn’t transporting patients to another hospital for further treatment, he volunteers at a NATO trauma hospital treating war casualties who are brought there…many of them children like the one above.  It has to be heart-breaking to see children who have so little to start with also  being subjected to the ravages of war.


HRH Charles the Prince of Wales made a surprise visit last month to visit the British troops in Afghanistan.

Thanks for remembering…


Filed under: prairie musings, blogs — Peg Britton @ 7:43 am

I haven’t disappeared.  I’m supervising again.

Ally has been wielding her chainsaw on small trees, brush and shrubs in the yard and to date has, with the help of a friend, hauled 39 pickup loads of slash to the county repository…aka tree dump.  Ally assures me that when they are finished, I’ll be able to see Russia from my front porch.

Blogger Helen Philpot  posted another good blog the other day on Margaret and Helen.  She’s my age, or says she is, and writes to her good friend Margaret about what she thinks. She’s a very funny, on the mark lady.  Here’s her latest:

Margaret, please tell Howard that I love him because he loves you.  But that is about all the reaching across the aisle that I can handle.  A few years back, millions of people across this nation and across the globe marched for peace.  George Bush ignored us and we had to endure his lazy ass being in the White House for eight years.

So now a black man named Barack Obama, elected by the will of the people, has decided to fight for the poor, and work for world peace… and a bunch of white guys who think Fox really is News just can’t stand it.

Well, they can kiss my ass because I am tired of their belly aching.

This is exactly how our political system works.  Sometimes your party is in and sometimes it is out.  Your party is currently out.  So shut the hell up and deal with it.

Now don’t get me wrong.  I’m all for a group of disgruntled citizens banding together to form a third political party because they don’t feel represented by the other two.  But let’s be honest - this bunch of idiots  doesn’t like that a black man is the most powerful man on the globe.   I wonder if they know that, while 78%  of  the world is not white, only 13% of the United States is black.   So they can relax.  Barack and Michelle most likely will not be buying the house next door.

Tea Party members should listen up.  As long as Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann are your torchbearers, you don’t have much credibility with me.  One echoes between the ears and the other is 12 shy of a dozen.   You honestly want me to think that your  biggest issue is the cost of healthcare reform?  You sat idly by while Bush squandered billions on a failed war, but all children having health insurance is too much to handle?  That’s your beef?  You realize, of course, that some of those children are white, don’t you?

Please.  You might not be wearing hoods, but your misspelled signs are one step shy of a burning cross.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Trust me.   It’s going to be eight long years for you Tea Party members.  But we survived Bush and  you’ll survive Obama.  I mean it.  Really.

When Helen says “she means it”…really.  She means it, really.



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 2:49 pm


Congratulations to Karen Goddard for being appointed to the top position at the Ellsworth Post Office effective April 24th.  Congregate in the lobby of the post office on May 7th at 9:00 a.m. for the official swearing in service.  Karen has spent many years working in Lorraine in their post office and we’re very happy to see her elevated to take care of all the customer services in Ellsworth.  Ellsworth is Karen’s home so we expect to see her here for a very long time….and that’s a good thing for the citizens of Ellsworth.

The open box, #367, is where my mail is held until Ringo and I make our mail run.


Jim Novak and his son, Justin, know how to reel them in.  This is what’s for dinner.


Clay Manes, narrator for the Promenade, squares away with Meridith Vargo before the program.


The students, in all their finery, gathered outside the Commons before the Promenade.  What a handsome group of students they were.




This is one of our showy crab trees…Martha Washington, if my memory serves me correctly.  It blooms a few days later than the Hopi crabtrees.  It’s a beauty.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, LGBT — Peg Britton @ 7:08 am

Arkansas has reversed a law that opens the opportunity for many more children to be adopted. A judge struck down a law that banned gay and other unmarried people living together serving as foster or adoptive parents.  Holly Dickson, a lawyer with the Arkansas chapter of the ACLU who represented gay and lesbian families, said the new ruling opens many homes for children who need them.  Gays and lesbians were arbitrarily being cut from the list of the potential adoptive parents because under Arkansas law they were unable to be legally married.

For more of the story…



Filed under: prairie musings, MetaPro totals — Peg Britton @ 9:49 am

There is a problem with my blog….waiting for help from Kenz….

P.S.  From Metapros, my website host: “Webmail’s TMP directory was full but it’s been cleared now.”

I think I’m back in business.

Thanks for your patience.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:03 am

This takes the cake!

Discovery Communications have been known for their earth-friendly programing. Now they’ve paid millions to Sarah Palin to host a “nature” show.  Incredible!  She has always displayed a decidedly anti-environmental stance and that has no place in Discovery Channel programming.  She vocally advocates for habitat-destroying oil drilling, she denies global warming is a human-caused threat, and she spearheaded a brutal wolf-slaughter program as governor of Alaska.

Here’s what Sarah Palin’s real Alaska is:
•    She accelerated Alaska’s cruel aerial wolf-hunting program while in office, introducing a $150 bounty for each slaughtered wolf’s forelimb.
•    She made a personal appeal to Alaska voters to oppose a ballot measure that would have stopped the immense Pebble Mine operation from dumping cyanide and mining waste into streams that make their way to Bristol Bay, home to the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.
•    When President Bush finally agreed to list the polar bear as a threatened species in 2008 because of global-warming effects on its habitat, Palin sued to challenge the listing.
•    Armed with her “Drill, Baby, Drill” catchphrase, Palin called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Cook Inlet to oil and gas drilling.

I just hope there are a substantial number of objections so that Discovery pulls her show before it airs.  I’m objecting.  It works.  We are finally rid of Lou Dobbs.

Thanks for tuning in…



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


Here are the three junipers I planted over 30 years ago.  I trimmed it for years until it finally got away from me.  Drew and Tyler trimmed it seven years ago and it hasn’t been touched since.  Today my all-girl yard team took this on and in seven hours trimmed and hauled all the “stuff in seven pick-up loads to the tree dump.


This is the finished product.  Ally did a great job trimming it. There is one limb in the foreground they didn’t have the energy to tackle…but they will tomorrow.  This was a maze of limbs as you can see from the picture below.


Ally made this a modified Japanese bonsai using a chain saw, and other assorted tools.


Here are the flowering crab trees.  I think they are prettier this year than ever before.  I love these trees.  I just love trees.

Tomorrow the girls are going to tackle another corner of the yard.  To tell you the truth, I don’t know of two men I could have hired who would have worked as hard they did today.  They only took one half-hour break for lunch.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, friends, recipes — Peg Britton @ 5:33 pm

Grandma’s Chocolate Cake
3 C. sifted all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 C. sugar
6 T. cocoa
2 t. baking soda
1 C. vegetable or other oil (I’m sure the coconut oil would work)
2 T. vinegar (I used cider vinegar)
2 t. vanilla
2 C. cold water

Sift together dry ingredients, add wet ingredients. Mix well. Pour into prepared pan(s) and bake in 350 degree oven for 25 to 35 minutes depending on pan chosen or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.  Cool and frost or not as you prefer.

This is by far our favorite chocolate cake. The lack of eggs makes it somewhat less cholesterol loaded but the oil kind of takes away from that.  We use canola oil a lot as well as olive oil but I don’t think olive oil is a good thing for this recipe.

Rachael is an excellent cook…excellent baker of breads, cakes and the like. She swears by this cake, so I think you can as well.

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