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Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 7:54 pm

What:  Ellsworth County Housing Forum
When:  Wednesday, October 20th, 12:00 noon
Where:  Ellsworth Golf Course Meeting Room

In an effort to address housing concerns throughout Ellsworth County, the Smoky Hill Development Corporation will be hosting a Housing Forum on Wednesday, October 20th.  This is an opportunity to voice your opinions on current problems/concerns and ideas on how to address these issues moving forward.  We are hoping to receive input from a wide variety of our citizens and then form a committee with individuals who are committed to finding solutions.

Lunch will be provided, please RSVP by calling me at (785) 472-4136 so we have the appropriate amount of food.

Please invite your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers to this very important civic meeting.

Rob Fillion
Executive Director
Smoky Hill Development Corporation
P.O. Box 321
Ellsworth, KS 67439
785.531.2479 (cell)
785.472.4136 (work)



Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:40 pm

I started mowing Kansas about 1938 with an old reel type mower…that resembled this:

And, gradually, I inched up with improved mowers, decade by decade.

Time’s running out and I have a lot of Western Kansas yet to mow.   I figure if I am ever going to finish, I need a bigger mower like the one pictured below.  It was borrowed for the photo, but manufactured in Kansas. A Grasshopper.  I’m going to look at Hustler’s, also manufactured in Kansas,  and see which one will work the best.  Advice is welcomed.


Here I am mowing a UFO landing zone somewhere in Central Kansas.  It’s tedious, exacting work mowing the short grass prairie.  Just so you know.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Joshua Svaty — Peg Britton @ 12:18 pm

TOPEKA — Kansas Secretary of Agriculture Josh Svaty announced today that his department has been awarded a $1.1 million grant by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make sure that livestock feed and pet foods are safe for the animals that eat them and humans who have contact with them.

“It’s a tremendous honor that Kansas is one of 12 states selected to receive this grant,” Svaty said.  “It speaks very highly of our department and the quality of our grant proposal.”

For the rest of the story, click here.

From topeka by Alison Reber


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:05 am

The Grammy nominated American male quartet vocal band, The Four Freshmen, will perform in Beloit, Monday, October 18, as part of the Beloit Area Concert Association series that brings quality entertainment to North Central Kansas.

A vocal harmony like no other, The Four Freshmen have strongly influenced many groups over the 62 years of their existence, including Take Six, ABBA, The Swingle Singers, Manhattan Transfer, and the Beach Boys.  They were originally modeled after big band vocal groups like Glenn Miller’s Modernaires and Tommy Dorsey’s Pied Pipers.

Founded in 1948 at Butler University in Indianapolis as Hal’s Harmonizers, a barber shop quartet, they soon adopted a more jazz-oriented repertoire and renamed themselves The Toppers, developing their own style of improvised vocal harmony.  In September of that year, the quartet went on the road as The Four Freshmen and soon drew the admiration of jazz legends such as Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman who helped them connect with Capitol Records.

The Four Freshmen can actually be called a vocal band because each one of the four plays their own instrument.  They are some of the best jazz talents in the business and include lead vocalist Brian Eichenberger on guitar, Curtis Calderon on trumpet, Vince Johnson on stand-up bass, and Bob Ferreira on drums.  This current group not only preserves the Freshmen sound, they enhance it with their youth, talent, and vitality, giving a new treatment to the Great American Songbook.

The Four Freshmen are the longest lasting vocal harmony group, and in their 60 plus year history they have bragging rights to over 50 albums, an overwhelming 70 top selling singles, and 6 Grammy nominations. The Four Freshmen Live from Las Vegas is their most recent CD release.  Some of their most requested songs, including It’s a Blue World, Day In Day Out, Skylark, Poinciana, and Mood Indigo, will be heard in the Beloit concert.

That’s The Four Freshmen, four parts harmony, a twist of elegance, and a splash of swing Monday, October 18, 7:30 p.m., at the Beloit Municipal Building in downtown Beloit, presented by the non-profit Beloit Area Concert Association.  Admission $15 at the door or by season ticket available the night of the concert.  For more information about The Four Freshmen concert or about the Beloit Area Concert Association contact DeeAnn Harbaugh, President, at (785) 738-2980, or Charles Frodsham, board member, at (785) 738-6538.



Filed under: prairie musings, Brookville — Peg Britton @ 4:55 pm


Guess what is behind this facade.  If you need a clue, look to the left of the white railing.  Sorry, no prizes for a right answer.



Filed under: prairie musings, family — Peg Britton @ 7:56 pm


From left to right:  Maggie, Ringo, Sam and Haley.

Ally took Ringo to her farmette today to play with her dogs, Maggie, Sam and Haley.  She took them for a long walk, but then, all Ringo wanted to do was go inside the house with her and see what there might be for snacks.

Above Sam, you can see her load of firewood in the pole shed.  Check out the shadow the pile casts.  It’s long.

Thanks for tuning in…


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Child Care — Peg Britton @ 2:25 pm

Two ticket levels for the Ellsworth Child Care and Learning Center fundraiser featuring Bill Self and Frank Martin are on sale and going fast.

K.U. Coach Bill Self and K-State Coach Frank Martin will be participating in a VIP reception, banquet and live auction on Sunday, October 24th in Ellsworth to benefit the Ellsworth Child Care Center.

From 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. a VIP reception will be held at the Ellsworth golf course meeting room providing Platinum and Gold Level ticket donation holders an opportunity to meet and visit with the two coaches.  There will be an open bar and appetizers.

Two levels of tickets are still for sale:  the Gold Level Ticket Donation for $500.00 per person and the Silver Level $200.00 ticket per person donation.

The Gold level ticket holders will sit at a table in close proximity to the coaches and participate in the VIP reception at the golf course meeting room. There will be 88 tickets available at this level.

The Silver Level Ticket Donations of $200.00 per person will attend the banquet, live and silent auction. There are approximately 200 tickets at this level.

Prior to the live auction, the coaches will comment on the 2010-2011 basketball season, as well as the importance of community involvement in providing a safe, secure learning environment for our children.

The Smoky Hill Child Care Foundation is a 501(c)(3)  public charity.  All donations and the majority of the banquet ticket donation will be tax deductible.

The $1,000.00 tickets are almost sold out.  The concentration now is on selling the $500 and $200 tickets.  Proceeds go to the  Ellsworth Child Care and Learning Center.

Dress for the occasion is “business casual”.

A child care facility is necessary for our continued growth as a community and will help attract young people to the area.  Please support the efforts of many toward this goal.

For further information and tickets purchases, please contact Rob Fillion at 785-472-4136.



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

What a gorgeous morning…63 degrees, with a high of 80 and a chance of rain. The morning fog is burning off.  The only sound is that of gun shots in the distance.  It’s a good thing as they are coming from the ECF firing range.

My banker grandson from Boulder is home this weekend to see family and friends. He’s here, along with many other classmates,  to converge on a wedding of friends later today.  First thing on his agenda is a round of golf with his aunt Ally.  I’ll get to meet his dog, Sarge, today for the first time.

My Air Force grandson will be home for a few days in a couple of weeks.  At least that plan is in the works.

I can’t remember a period in my adult life when I wasn’t hooked on Rachmaninov, particularly Rach 3, his 3rd piano concerto in D Minor…the unplayable one, without cuts. It has the reputation of being one of the most difficult concertos in the standard piano repertoire. The sound of Abbey Simon playing it, or one of three other Rach concertos,  fills my house more often than not these days.

Last night must have been a good night for Ellsworth’s homecoming football game.  The canon blasted multiple times indicating touchdowns for the Bearcats.  They had the canon placed so I could enjoy its sound without worrying about my windows suffering from the concussions.  Wherever that was, it was the perfect location.   Go Bearcats!

The beautiful Monarchs are gracing the branches of our trees and fluttering in the air  during their yearly migration to Central Mexico for the winter.


Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: prairie musings, blogs — Peg Britton @ 8:27 pm

From the Washington Post Blog Post: 

Get ready for a night show. It’s tough to come to grips with the end of summer. Luckily, autumn will enter with a bang this year.

Not only will Northern America witness the beginning of autumn at 11:09 Eastern tonight, there will be a full moon in the sky. Put those two occurrences together and you’ll get the rare “super harvest moon.”

“The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow,” NASA Science writes.

When farmers relied on moonlight to extend harvesting hours, they started calling the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox the harvest moon. If the full moon fell on the first actual day of autumn, it became “super harvest,” or the “harvestest.”

The event has not occurred for 20 years, and probably will not reoccur until 2029.

As an added bonus, Jupiter will appear very close to the moon tonight. NASA’s Tony Phillips writes: “A Super Harvest Moon, a rare twilight glow, a midnight conjunction–rarely does autumn begin with such celestial fanfare.”

If you’re out on the town tonight, take a photo of the super harvest moon. Or better yet, take a photo howling at the moon and submit your images here.


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 8:02 am



Filed under: political musings, water supply — Peg Britton @ 8:23 am

For years, I’ve been talking about what is happening, or going to happen, to our water in western Kansas.  Who gives a flip about small rural Kansas towns like Ellsworth?  Who in Ellsworth is really paying attention ?  Who in Ellsworth is doing anything about it ?  No one is looking after Ellsworth County. No one.

A hearing by the Kansas Water Office will be held at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 28th at the community center in Assaria.  The Kansas Water Authority plans this public hearing to draft a policy determining who will be able to access the water in Kanopolis Reservoir and how much water will be released from the Reservoir.

Citizens who wish to speak have been asked to notify the Water Authority at least seven days before the hearing.  That means today.  The article announcing the meeting appeared this morning in the Wichita Eagle…otherwise, you can learn about it by digging it out of  the water office bulletin board or website.  How would one know to do that?  These are sneaky state officials.  They like it best when no one shows up for their meetings.

The following proposed policy is posted on the Kansas Water Office website:

5. Identify options to meet water use needs in the area based on results of models and other pertinent data.
Gathering information to complete task.

This may include Kanopolis Lake Regulation Manual/river system operation changes.  May include Wilson as source of water supply.  Reservoir Sustainability Vol. II includes 2 reservoir operational options.  Many options discussed with stakeholder representatives summer 2009.

 Read more here.

This has all gone just as the water watch dogs predicted years ago.  The city officials of Hays and Russell are marching toward Wilson Lake water now that they’ve drained Cedar Bluff…the reservoir has been in steady decline since 1998. They are also marching toward Kanopolis as their backup for the time when Wilson dries up, if Salina and McPherson don’t drain Kanopolis first.

These are mighty forces…Hays, Russell, Salina, McPherson out there fighting for their future to maintain a water supply for their communities.  WHERE IS SOMEONE FROM ELLSWORTH?  WHERE ARE THE ELLSWORTH CITY/COUNTY OFFICIALS.  Other than Linda Denning and me who have attended these meetings for eons, the one or two other people who attend these meetings  from Ellsworth are there for self-serving purposes.

WTF is up with the Kansas Water Office?   Instead of PROTECTING our water, they are just selling out to the highest bidders, and the dependent communities be damned.

There is good reason to hate Kathleen Sebelius and Joe Harkins  for setting up this program as soon as she took office in 2003.  Joe Harkins was one of her largest political contributors. Joseph F. Harkins, Acting Director, Kansas Water Office, has reinvented the Kansas Water Office to sell water to the highest bidder, not to protect it for future use.

When you see some efforts at conservation and limited growth, then maybe there will also be signs that people are getting the message.  Now you know why so many opposed the water guzzling ethanol plant they built in Russell that is now going the way of other ethanol plants in the US and looking for government bailouts. Hays and Russell will drain the system until our taps run dry in Ellsworth.

Remember what the Poppers predicted about the Great Plains?  We’re marching closer and closer to a Buffalo Commons.  If the state water office can do this to WaKeeney and drain the water from Cedar Bluff, they can do it to us. There is no doubt about that.

Thanks for tuning in…



Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:51 pm

The U.S. Senate has the opportunity to vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell tomorrow, September 21.

Maine’s GOP Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe potentially hold the key to heading off the anticipated John McCain-led filibuster.  In the past McCain has said he would approve the repeal of DADT if the military higher-ups agreed it was the thing to do.  The military leadership is for the repeal; John McCain is now backpaddling.

People serving in the military who are homophobic should leave the military.  Gays and lesbians make up a huge part of the military and have served throughout history.  If others can’t handle that, they should step back.

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)” language is tucked inside the larger Defense Authorization bill. The vote on “the motion to proceed” to the bill is scheduled for Tuesday at 2:15p.


Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:31 pm

A friend wrote:

Ringo needs a “Zoombak“. Its a small GPS devise that would fit to his collar. They’re used for cheating spouses, teenagers and pets. My 17 year old “trouble child” recently got his drivers license. I had the Zoombak installed the same day. Its cool. I can find out where he is at any time. Satellites take images and sends them to my laptop every 5 minutes. I can also set up a boundary on the zoombak home page - basically a circle around the vehicle or pet so that I am notified via email or phone call when “it” has crossed outside the boundary. You could actually set it so you get a call if Ringo leaves the yard. For my teen I even get details on how fast he is driving.

Radio Shack $100 - but then a monthly fee for account access. Not sure you want to get that elaborate but just wanted you to know it’s out there.

I assumed Ringo was watching the little kids play football on the field below our house last Saturday, but one of my friends who knows Ringo says he wasn’t there.  I wonder where he went and then found it necessary to stay out all night?  If it happens again, I may have to get a zoombak.


Filed under: political musings — Peg Britton @ 7:56 am

Bill Maher is about to return to HBO this Friday for the ninth season of Real Time With Bill Maher. Earlier this week he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and later told the Hollywood Reporter the reason he’s never received an Emmy is because he’s an atheist.

One imagines that after being off the air during a summer like the one we just had Maher is revving to go and last night on Larry King he certainly had a lot of scorching remarks to make about the state of the country. Maher, unwilling to blame the politicians for the state of the nation says it’s the people that are unwell, and that the country elected President Obama to fix a “massive” years-long mess and “because he didn’t do it by football season” voters are ready to bring back “the doctor who was using leeches.”

I am not like Mitt Romney, whose book is called ‘No Apology, The Case For American Greatness,’ Really? You know always waving the big foam number one finger. We’re not number one in most things. We’re number one in military, we’re number one in money, we’re number one in fat toddlers, meth labs, and people we send to prison. We’re not number one in literacy, money spent on education, we’re not even number one in social mobility. Social mobility means basically the American dream, the ability of one generation to do better than the next. We’re tenth. That’s like Sweden coming in tenth in Swedish meatballs.



Filed under: prairie musings, dogs — Peg Britton @ 7:41 am

Ringo was missing from noon yesterday until this morning.  It was the first time he pulled an all-nighter.  I was prepared to post a missing dog alert this morning when I spotted him running across the yard from parts unknown.

When he appeared at the door with one of those big toothy grins on his face, I’ll swear there were traces of powdered sugar and Pronto Pups in his whiskers and a little drool of fried butter from the side of his mouth.

Maybe he bummed a ride with friends to the State Fair and spent the night at the Lucky U Motel.  Given the opportunity, why wouldn’t he?   He sure wasn’t home where he was supposed to be.  I was so happy to see him again it didn’t really matter.  He wasn’t going to tell me anyway.

He enjoyed his special home-cooked breakfast of rice, chicken, mixed veggies and dry dog food and is now making slumber sounds and dreaming about his night of freedom.   It would be nice if he’d remember that not everyone will take care of him as I do and he’d stay home.  After all he was homeless for a long time and did a tour at the correctional facility before he came to live with us.

But…Ringo is a strong-willed opportunist, so the two of us just go from day to day with me anguishing during his periodic absences from home and welcoming him and his toothy grins when he returns.

That’s Ringo.  I’m just glad he’s home.



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

Give this a look and listen. I think you’ll love it.



Filed under: prairie musings, Artists, Ellsworth Art Gallery — Peg Britton @ 12:22 pm


Last evening the crowd gathered during a reception to welcome Curt Krob and his whimsical sculptures to the RAP Gallery and Studio, Ellsworth.  Mayor Steve Bahan and wife Connie (left) and ECF Warden Johnnie Goddard (right) visit with the artist.


I wanted to bring this guy home with me.


And send this cute cat to Mackenzie.


Other artists who also had work on display were Dean Haddock, Christi Yenkey, ECF inmates, Kenny Crease and  Gordon Mai.


If you missed the reception, please make sure to stop by and check out the new show. It will brighten your day to see Curt’s sculptures & paintings. Gallery hours are: Thursday & Friday, 1-5, Saturday 10-3, and Sunday 1-5.   RAP Gallery and Studio is located in downtown Ellsworth a couple of doors north of the Drover Building.

Gallery Director: Amanda Macklin

Advisory Committee:
Stephen & Connie Bahan,
Johnnie & Karen Goddard,
Mark & Lisa Parsons,
Kurt & Shaun Williams

Support the arts!


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 11:03 am

Ellsworth’s newest business is the Historic Ellsworth Auto Show Room located at 221 North Lincoln.  It is the location formerly occupied by Larsen Chevrolet then Holm Motor Company.   The owners, Randy and Janet Gottschalk are looking for people who wish to store their antique vehicles in the showroom.
Collector car enthusiasts are welcome to store their antique cars in the show room for a nominal fee of $70 a month.    Once there are 30-40 cars the show room will be open to visitors for from April through October.  There is room for 50 cars.  Cars will be roped off for viewing, but not touching.   For more details, contact Randy or Janet Gottschalk at 480-254-2054.



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

Prairie Festival 2010 is just around the corner: September 24-26! Visit their website here.   Click on Calendar to print out a registration form, or call  785.823.5376 to reserve your tickets by phone. Office hours are Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

2010 Speakers:
•    writer Wendell Berry
•    artist Matilda Essig
•    economist Josh Farley
•    Land Institute president Wes Jackson
•    author Scott Russell Sanders
•    ecologist Sandra Steingraber
•    Seed Savers Exchange co-founder Kent Whealy
•    musician Ann Zimmerman

Special events:  Saturday evening,  a special musical presentation, tentatively titled “Perennial Polyculture Suite,” by select members of emmy-nominated Wild Blessings and Wilderness Plots - Krista Detor, Tim Grimm, Tom Roznowski, Malcolm Dalglish & Scott Russell Sanders. They honor our prairie prophets and have put the words and ideas of Wendell Berry and Scott Russell Sanders into contemporary songs that are by turns romantic, tragic, and comic - compressing entire lifetimes into a few brilliantly composed stanzas.


Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, dogs — Peg Britton @ 3:35 pm


Here’s my faithful companion and watch dog, Ringo.  He’s relaxing here by me waiting for someone to approach from afar…or…keeping note of my whereabouts in case I decide to invite him to go for a ride.


The CSB & T new exterior with the faux door has been completed and is far more attractive than it once was.  The trust department of the bank can be entered from the next building north of the faux door building.  The main building is on the right.


Downtown Ellsworth is looking better with each passing day.  Come take a look sometime as there is a lot to see and do that you’ll find very interesting.

Thanks for tuning in…

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