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Filed under: prairie musings, Drew Britton, Brookville — Peg Britton @ 7:10 pm

The statewide smoking ban will go into effect tomorrow across the state with one exception: 28 private clubs, including one in Tonganoxie, will have a chance to argue their case before a Shawnee County Court before a judge determines whether the law is constitutional.

What was once the Brookville Hotel in Brookville is getting a new facade.  I visited with John today who is doing the face lift for Judith Dobson, owner from McPherson.  Her plans for the building remain the same as she told me years ago. Let’s hope she can make this happen.

The new/only slightly used Victorian house at the east end of downtown Brookville is engulfed in shoulder high weeds and a plethora of farm machine and equipment. To add to the neglect, a huge machinery shed is being built along the east side of it. That beautiful home has the same appearance of neglect as a mistreated, stray dog. It’s hard to even see the house which was once a beautiful show piece with some of the finest handcrafted woodwork ever.  Why doesn’t someone buy that house (they might give it away) and move it to Ellsworth?

The first hurricane of the season, Alex, is headed for Brownsville TX.  It’s a big one, due to hit land in a couple of hours.

My eyes are just dandy. Low pressure, no problems.  My ophthalmologist said I’m doing fine without glasses or contacts.  I sort of do need some cheap readers from time to time.  Not bad for an old woman.

We’re going to have another good weekend.  All the family won’t be here, but the young banker will be driving in from Boulder to see family and high school classmates who gather during the weekend of the 4th. We’ll hear all about his new job and life in the Rockies.  He’s bringing Sarge, his rescued puppy, to meet us. Ellsworth Packing will have a good, big sirloin that should serve us well and I’ll get a bone for Sarge.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 11:06 am


This beauty appeared in my back yard last night.  She was content nibbling on the weeds and grass for an hour or so and then returned from whence she came.  I guess. I don’t really know.  Ringo just gazed at her through the window, as did I.


The facade improvement project at the CSB and T is progressing. This is the site of the faux door into the bank.  The glass blocks are not new, but part of the old wall.  When finished, it will be a vast improvement from the “blank wall” it replaced and I imagine will lead one to believe we have a new business in town.  The opening at the far left of the picture is the entry to the trust department. Two steps inside and you’ll run into Karen, my fave daughter-in-law.


Douglas Avenue looking north. F & M Drug Store is on the right, followed by Robson’s Cards and Gifts, etc.


This was representative of the size of the crowd attending the fireworks at 9:00 p.m.  More gathered for the show by 10:00, but it was still a sparse crowd in comparison to previous years.


Funnel cakes are still a crowd favorite…$4.00 each.


The sky was ablaze with color for twenty minutes.  The audience uttered the usual ooohs and aaaahs and then the evening ended.  It remains my favorite holiday of the year, whenever it is celebrated.  The 4th of July is a very significant day in our history…a day to remember.  There will be a lot of celebrating again around town this weekend with family gatherings, block parties and more fireworks. I love it.


If I’m going to have a garden, I want it to be just like this.  This is the result of hours of work by my farmette friend, Patti O, and her sons.  And, this is only a small part of her agricultural endeavors. It looks like something Martha Stewart devised.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 12:47 pm

From the collection of stories:  It’s a Small World.

Another of my long-time friends, Bev, lives in Lincoln NE.  We met sometime in high school through mutual friends.  She grew up in McPherson and graduated high school there.    She went to K-State and we shared the same sisterhood. Her parents moved to Salina and later, she did as well, with her family.  She’s known my family since our kids were babes.  All that is to say, we’ve stayed in touch all these years.  I just love it when there is a knock on the door and there she stands with son Mark and maybe one or two of her other tall, handsome, affable offspring.

Our birthdays occur about the same time.  Mine is June 23rd and hers is the 26th so we usually chat with one another about what plans we have for “our” day.   Friday I called her to see what she had planned for her birthday…very often it’s a huge “surprise” party planned by her sons and friends.  This year, she said, “we’re just going out to eat”.  Same here, I said…only I preferred eating at home.

All that being said…Drew called last night from Boulder and said, “Grandma, this is a very small world”.  I agreed and asked to hear the latest “small world” story.   He said his good friend, Randi Deming, beautiful, friendly and outgoing, whom he took to the senior prom, lives in Lincoln NE and works at the Red Fox Restaurant as a waitress.  As she was waiting on a table of customers, taking orders, delivering food, etc.,  she couldn’t help but overhear them talking about K-State and other Kansas related stories.  Finally, she asked if they were K-Staters, etc.  And the story got around to where she was from.  The minute she said “Ellsworth”, they all burst alive at the same time with chatter about the Brittons, each and every one,  and Ellsworth.  Randi almost pulled up a chair and spent the evening visiting with them.  They were delighted to meet another friend from Ellsworth.

The fireworks last night were “spectacular”.  We arrived at the Rec Center around 9:00 and were immediately disappointed at the small number of people who were there.  I’m sure the vendors suffered lower than expected sales.  By 10:00, when the first burst exploded, the numbers had increased substantially, but it was still a small crowd by comparison to previous years.  I’m not sure why they opted to have the celebration last night rather than next weekend.  I can only guess they got a much better deal on fireworks by having it early.  It worked for me.

Ally harvested and presented to me our first cherry tomato off my one plant.  It was a very propitious occasion.

If it’s true or not,   I’m not sure, but “I hear” one from the string of Los Portrillos Mexican restaurants is moving into the old Chicken Roost aka tack shop building on 156.  That will give everyone another option for Mexican food.  If the two major requirements for success are met…the place is clean and the food is good…it will survive.  There is a little Mexican restaurant in downtown Lindsborg that is always packed with people.  It is always extraordinarily clean from stem to stern and the food is good.

Ally played in the Cat Backer golf tournament and won the prize for the longest drive…among the women players.  Yay.

Tom Witt said it best:  Closets are for clothes.

Gerrett Morris is running a very good campaign for State Representative from the 69th District in Salina.

Great progress is being made on the proposed day care center.  When completed, it will be a new and positive asset to the community.

It’s almost 90 degrees and the possibility of showers has waned.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 10:54 am


C-CATT, critical care air transport team,  is composed of three members: a physician, critical care nurse and a cardiopulmonary technician.  Tyler, a critical care cardiopulmonary technician, second from left, trained with his team in Cincinnati before heading to Afghanistan. Each team works as a unit transporting injured soldiers from trauma center hospitals in Afghanistan, which are the busiest and among the best in the world, to another base in Afghanistan or to Germany. Kandahar AFB, Bagram AFB, and Ramstein AFB Germany.

The Air Force offers men and women excellent career opportunities in various fields.  Following basic training, Tyler was admitted to  cardiopulmonary school, one of the options he selected when entering the Air Force.  The various cardiopulmonary schools he attended at Shepard AFB and Nellis AFB base prepared him to become a certified respiratory therapist.  It helped that he ranked first in his class in all the schools he attended.  He took C-STARS training in Cincinnati that prepared him for a position on the C-CATT trauma team for deployment to war zones.  (You can read about it here.) He will take his respiratory therapy registry exams after returning to the U.S.

The level of expertise he has achieved in his field while in the Air Force takes years and years of study and practice in the civilian world.  Having the opportunity to concentrate on one particular field of study full time for the past three years has prepared him well for civilian opportunities or future advancement in the Air Force.  In addition, he’ll have the GI bill to attend college and won’t be straddled with student loan obligations.  He will be able to supplement his income while attending college by working as a respiratory therapist in a hospital, clinic or with emergency medical teams as he’ll be fully certified to do so.  The Air Force was an excellent choice for Tyler as the benefits of serving in the military have enhanced his life.  He has also served his country well.



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

Farmers’ Market at 8:00 am.

FIFA World Cup Soccer…1:00 p.m..  U.S. is playing Ghana.

For dinner, I made pasta salad, there will be fresh veggies from the market.  I bought fresh ground beef and smoked bacon at the Ellsworth Packing Plant to make burgers.  Eating outside in this heat doesn’t appeal to me.  I’ll stay cool until the last minute then head to the Rec Center.

Watch the fireworks at dusk.  Stumble around and try to find my car afterwards.

That’s my schedule for tomorrow. Nice and easy.  Stay tuned…it might change overnight.


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

To the dismay of many, Governor Parkinson entered into an agreement with Sunflower which attempted to allow construction of one coal plant. The good news  is that governors don’t have the authority to grant air permits.

As Kansas moves forward with plans to build a risky, unneeded coal plant for a Colorado utility, other states are attracting clean energy jobs. Will you stand with us in our ongoing efforts to prevent new, risky coal plants from being built in our


Sierra Club and Earthjustice petitioned the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to require Sunflower to update their permit and host public hearings to allow for citizen input — and won. The EPA has agreed to their requests and public hearings will likely be scheduled in August. Since we were not allowed to voice concerns when Governor Parkinson entered into an agreement with Sunflower, now is our time to be heard.Sign the Sierra statement to demonstrate opposition to new coal plants in Kansas here.

Sierra Club needs your help now more than ever to ensure unnecessary coal plants are not built in Kansas. In addition to the host of environmental and public health threats associated with this coal plant, Sunflower Electric remains in debt to taxpayers for their existing coal plant in Holcomb.

Sierra Club has opposed this misguided project from day one, and they need our help to keep dirty coal plants out of Kansas.


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:59 am

All the local action tomorrow will center around activities at the Rec Center.  There will be food, music and activities for the kids beginning at 6:00 p.m. and spectacular fireworks at dusk.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:53 am

Knockout round. This is a game you’ll not want to miss if you are a soccer fan. If you’re not, maybe it will make a fan out of you.  FIFA soccer is the very best.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 2:57 pm

Emergency crews are on the scene of a grain elevator collapse in Russell. The collapse happened around 2:15 today.  Two, perhaps three,  people are unaccounted for.

The East side of Elevator A on the Agco property in the northeast part of town has collapsed.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 10:56 am

John Isner of the U.S. beat Nicolas Mahut of France at Wimbledon today, completing the longest match in tennis history over three days,  11 hours and 5 minutes on court with 183 games.


Filed under: prairie musings, recipes — Peg Britton @ 10:41 am

Karen baked a fresh gooseberry cake for my birthday dinner last night.  We all enjoyed it and  thought it was very good.. interesting and  different.  The result is a cake with a creamy, custard-like layer on the bottom containing the berries with cake on the top.  It is rather tart…but refreshingly so. It cuts and serves nicely without the addition of ice cream or any topping.

Don Siemsen of Holyrood gave me the recipe.  He sells gooseberries at the Ellsworth farmer’s market so I buy several packages to keep on hand in the freezer.  Gooseberries are difficult to pick and stem so I appreciate his efforts to grow them.   Here is a picture of Don that I took last summer.  His berries are stemmed, clean and sold frozen with four cups per bag. They are beautiful berries.

Don Siemsen’s Gooseberry Cake

1 box yellow cake mix.  Mix according to directions on the box. Pour cake batter into a greased and floured 9″ x 13″ pan.  Top the batter first with 4 cups fresh gooseberries, then sprinkle two cups of sugar over the berries and top that with two cups of heavy whipping cream.  Bake at 350 degrees until done.  Karen said it took almost an hour.  She also substituted the two cups of sugar with two cups of Splenda, for my benefit.

If you like gooseberries, you’ll like this cake.  Even if you “think” you don’t like gooseberries, I think you’ll like this cake.  It might also be very good made with fresh blueberries with much less sugar.  We plan to try that sometime…after we run out of gooseberries.  That is, I hope to coerce Karen into trying it.  Up next..gooseberry pie.



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 7:36 am


Todd, Karen and Ally are converging later today.  We’ll cook something special for dinner …bacon wrapped filets and a melange of fresh veggies and fruit.  We’ll have gooseberry cake for dessert (my request).  I smile thinking of Brit’s reaction at the thought of gooseberry cake.  He was never fond of cake and throwing gooseberries in it, instead of a pie, would send it spiraling downhill.

Todd is replacing the lights along my front walk, which is a very nice gift. Karen and Ally always are doing nice things for me too…all year long.  Meantime, I’m just going to loaf, read more of The Jury, watch soccer games,  listen to Sorrowful Songs, Lakme Flower duet, Pie Jesu, some Chopin etudes  and more of my most favorite music.

I’ve heard from Mackenzie and Luke, Rod and Genn, Tyler called from Germany and  Drew from Boulder.  I’ve had wonderful greeting cards, flowers and messages from Facebook friends.  It’s  a good day…good days abound.

I wonder how in the world I lived this long. Glory be.  You can see from the ca 1950s photo that it doesn’t take long to get old as dirt.  Aren’t those nifty glasses?  And, what in the world did I do to my hair?  It looks as though I was working on a Mohawk. What’s with all that lipstick.  I just know from that look that I was “exhausticated” from chasing three very ornery kids who, thankfully, grew up to be super-wonderful adults.


Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings, Afghanistan — Peg Britton @ 8:03 pm

Here’s the story in Rolling Stone…


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 7:59 pm

Henryk Gorecki’s Requiem…Symphony #3, Op.36  with Dawn Upshaw… is one gorgeous piece of music, in my opinion.  I was listening to a NPR station on the west coast many years ago and they were playing this Gorecki piece.  I was captivated with the music, but, at the time, not at all familiar with it  or Gorecki.   Many times I can detect a classical composers work even   if I’ve never even heard it because of the melodic symbolism connected to another of work that is familiar to me.  I listened to the end of this piece to find out what it was.  If they hadn’t said, I was determined to call the station and learn what it was.  The station announcer said cars were stopped all along one of their major highways, I can’t remember which one, with people flooding the station with calls wanting to know what it was.  It’s one of those works that  sometimes I just yearn for…like you do for some favorite food, or activity.  I play it play over and over. Today was one of those days.  Maybe you’ll seek it out and play it sometime.

Ivy Marsh, Shirley Drawbaugh and Shannon Rayl came to have lunch and celebrate my birthday.  I’m not overwhelmed with my birthday at all, but I love visiting with my friends and maintaining a close relationship with them. Tomorrow night Todd, Karen, Ally and I are going to have dinner here.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or unusual…just dinner.  We’ll fix bacon wrapped filets on the grill and have fresh garden veggies on the side.  Karen is baking a gooseberry cake…it was my choice.  I bought about all the gooseberries at the farmers’ market last week and have them in the freezer ready for pies and cakes…and maybe jam.

Grandson Tyler called me from Germany today, but I missed his call and had to settle for a recording. I loved it anyway.  He’s part of a CSTARS team transporting injured servicemen from Afghanistan for further medical treatment in Germany.  It’s stressful work.  Tomorrow he returns to Kandahar, but I know he found good German food and beer today away from the war.  He deserves every bit of it and I know it is about the only pleasure he has in life right now.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: political musings, print news, Pro-life/Pro-choice — Peg Britton @ 7:40 pm

Now we’re getting somewhere.  Rape-aXe has been born.
By Faith Karimi, CNN
June 21, 2010 3:22 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — South African Dr. Sonnet Ehlers was on call one night four decades ago when a devastated rape victim walked in. Her eyes were lifeless; she was like a breathing corpse.

“She looked at me and said, ‘If only I had teeth down there,’” recalled Ehlers, who was a 20-year-old medical researcher at the time. “I promised her I’d do something to help people like her one day.”

Forty years later, Rape-aXe was born.

Ehlers is distributing the female condoms in the various South African cities where the World Cup soccer games are taking place.

The woman inserts the latex condom like a tampon. Jagged rows of teeth-like hooks line its inside and attach on a man’s penis during penetration, Ehlers said.

Once it lodges, only a doctor can remove it — a procedure Ehlers hopes will be done with authorities on standby to make an arrest.

“It hurts, he cannot pee and walk when it’s on,” she said. “If he tries to remove it, it will clasp even tighter… however, it doesn’t break the skin, and there’s no danger of fluid exposure.”

For the rest of the story, click here…



Filed under: prairie musings, family, dogs — Peg Britton @ 8:29 pm


This is Sarge, Drew’s rescued puppy.  He’s going to be a big boy.


Filed under: prairie musings, family, friends, Tyler Britton USAF, Afghanistan — Peg Britton @ 12:12 pm

The Karate Kid was a good movie, in my estimation, but then I tend to like that kind of movie  where the good guy wins in the end and the neighborhood bully learns a lesson.  It’s a movie you can take your kids to see.  Maybe that’s what I find endearing about it.

Minus the kids in the family, Karen and I took Todd to the movie and out for dinner to celebrate his position as head honcho in the family.  An earned and well-deserved position.  He has been a very good father to his boys and a good son.  Drew called him a couple of times from Boulder and Tyler got a satellite call through for a few minutes from Afghanistan.  We seem never to get to end a conversation with him as we’re consistently cut off.  We had a good day and arrived home early in the evening before the sky turned black and ominous.

We went to Logan’s for dinner, which was good.  I had broiled salmon, baked sweet potato and skewered veggies.  Todd also had salmon and Karen had baby back ribs.  We cleaned our plates as it was all very good.

I stopped by Ellsworth Packing this morning to get some filets, single wrapped and frozen.  It’s not easy to cook for one, so when I feel a need for a piece of meat, which isn’t all that often, I can pull out a filet mignon and have it for dinner.  If Ally joins me, she prefers chicken.  If I’m going to eat alone, I’m not going to cut corners and eat leftovers ALL the time.  Rodney also has fresh ground beef…not frozen, not old, not gray…available on Tuesdays and Fridays.  It’s 80% lean, or better, and sells for about $2.50 a pound.  You can be assured it is fresh ground beef.

The folks at the packing plant reported we had a half inch of rain last night.  They always seem to know those things.  The rain caused it to be steamy this morning as temperatures rise toward 100 degrees.  The heat index will reach 106 this afternoon and I have no intention of budging from the house.

Marie Callender’s has recalled its single serving chicken and rice dinners. My purchases of that showed up on my ticket which Dillon’s records electronically.  I got a call yesterday telling me to return my purchase to the store and not eat it because there might be a danger of salmonella contamination.  They didn’t say what to do if I’d already eaten them, weeks ago. They didn’t inquire about my well-being.

Tomorrow I’m having birthday lunch with two of my long-time friends  and a relatively new one from Salina.   I’m very much looking forward to being with Ivy, Shirley and Shannon. If you’d told me I’d  live to see 82, and be celebrating with friends like this, I would have bet the farm against any such thing ever happening.  Another day, another lease on life.

Speaking of living, as I was…I had blood tests recently and my A1C blood sugar level was 5.8 which is remarkable for anyone.  Mine has been running 6.1 which is in the A+ excellent range, so to have it even lower yet raised my suspicions and I asked that they run it again.  Yes, 5.8 they said.  My cholesterol  is 185 without any medication.  My blood pressure is low, without any medication.  So, the only thing I have to treat is Lupus!  Amazing what old age can bring.  Now if my hair would only get curly again.  I loved the curls that I had for several months, but they’ve disappeared again.

I’ve heard here and there from friends that Fat Boyz seems to be slipping in quality.  A friend and her husband went there Saturday night for dinner, had hamburgers and said they wouldn’t go back for a repeat.  She said the salads looked very good, but they didn’t order salad.  I’ve only eaten there a couple of times and never could see what the big deal was in the first place.  The filet I ordered on one occasion was tender but absolutely flavorless.  But then, I like my steaks marinated, or at least well-seasoned before they are cooked.  Options for good food around here are few and far between.

Grandson Tyler is about to slide out of Afghanistan and back to San Antonio, his permanent base.   His replacement, he thinks, could arrive there by the middle of July.  He can’t get home soon enough for me as the situation in Afghanistan isn’t improving as far as  I can see.  He has another year of duty until his release date in July 2011.  He may choose to stay in the Air Force.  It’s his call, of course.  He’s been making good choices all along, and will on this one.

Claudia came to check on the trees she and Ally planted and brought me a loaf of fresh, warm zucchini bread…and it’s wonderful.

The clouds are gathering again.

Thanks for tuning in …



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 9:17 am

Today is a special day.  There are only three of us here today so having a “family” dinner seems rather pointless.  Anyway, it’s too hot now to bother and it’s going to be hotter by dinner time…reaching 100 degrees.  We’re going to Salina to see the Karate Kid, an event that will require a hoist of some kind to propel me upright after sitting for 2 hours and 20 minutes.  And, we’ll enjoy a nice dinner somewhere with someone else doing the cooking and dishes.  And…I’ll enjoy being with one of the best dad’s in the whole world to celebrate his day…Todd.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 1:12 pm

The historic Midland Hotel in Wilson KS sold at auction today for $235,000 to a couple from nearby Dorrance. The board could have sold the property previously at a much higher price as was offered, but their infinite wisdom that plagued them throughout their entire history of restoring and operating  the hotel, held out to the for end-of-the-rainbow money and crashed.  So,  their investment of way over $1,000,000 turned south…way south. It was inevitable from the beginning.

But, there is a bright side to the sale and future operation of the Midland Hotel on the horizon.  Tom and Heddy Mahoney from Dorrance are the new owners and they are good people who are hard-working and knowledgeable about finance. More importantly, they know how to involve local people in their plans and operations and will proceed accordingly.  Tom is the son of Ken (recently deceased) and Dorothy Mahoney and owns and manufactures  “Toss Back”, a basketball training invention of theirs.

We’ve had remote connections with them for a long time.  As a matter of fact, Ken, Dorothy and Tex Winter, the K-State basketball coach at the time, established Camp Audubon, a basketball camp that our boys attended near Nederland CO.  Our boys were much too young  (probably 8 and 9) to attend such a camp, but it’s one of those things Brit thought would be good for them.  They had some wild tales to tell about that.  I’d picked out a place for them that was geared for younger boys, but Brit got all caught up in the basketball idea, as dads are wont to do.  When we went out a couple of days early to pick up the boys after they were there for a couple of weeks, Dane had walking pneumonia, and Todd was wearing the same clothes as those worn when we delivered him there.  I guess he managed to throw up every night in his footlocker containing all his clean clothes.

One day we took the Mahoney kids and ours and climbed to the top of Mt. Audubon…except that I couldn’t make it to the top as I was completely out of wind.  Brit ended up carrying Tommy Mahoney on his shoulders to the top and all the way down and needless to say, he was a basket case the rest of the night.  Ever after that, when Brit was really, really tired, he’d say, “I’m as tired as if I just climbed to the top of Mt. Audubon with Tom Mahoney on my shoulders!”

Even if the Midland didn’t turn out as originally planned, and we were saddened by that, we should be very hopeful that the new local owners will be able to turn things around.  They are good people, know how to run a business and will quickly gain the support of “locals”.  We certainly wish them well.

And, Ally was right all along.  She said someone probably could make it “work” if they paid less than $300,000 for it.  She was in a position to know.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 6:31 pm

I don’t have the ability to count the number of hits to my blog that has attracted the attention of “Googlers” for Mark Parkinson’s address at the Symphony in the Flint Hills.  It’s enormous and an indication of the support he has statewide.  It’s too bad for Kansans that he isn’t running for governor.

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