Dear Gentle Reader,

We returned home last night, just in time for me to run outside and water.  We had a wonderful, relaxing time visiting with relatives.  I look forward to another visit next year. 

When I went outside, I was amazed by how much my garden had grown.  I have to take more photos tonight and get busy blogging.  I had taken several photos, and had planned to blog while away, but I just never had the time.  So, I think I will be pretty busy catching up with a mammoth-sized entry (over the next few evenings).   I may not get too much done, however, as I have relatives coming in this weekend, and then the weekend after that we are going to a family reunion. 

I guess that’s all for today.  I hope that you all are having a great summer.


Dear Gentle Reader,

Tomorrow morning my family and I are off to visit one of my DH’s older sisters (and her family) up in Minneapolis Saint Paul.   Here is the general route.

We will be back early next week. While we are gone, I won’t be able to blog. So, I’ll see you next week. Hope you all have a good weekend! 🙂

Dear Gentle Reader,

This past weekend was shamefully slow, on the independence days front, at least compared to last week.  Most of our Saturday afternoon was spent at Golden Heartland Alpacas.   It’s about an hour’s drive from here.  My DH had heard from a friend that they were having an open house, and we decided it would be fun.  And it was. 🙂  Here are some of the boys we saw.

1. Plant Something: I didn’t actually get to plant anything this week.  But I did spend a bit of time taking care of everything.  The tomatoes are all blooming now.  I am looking forward to eating them.  I really need to harvest the leeks.  They are very over grown, all with skapes.  The hard neck garlic is putting out skapes too.  So, I really need to cut them off.  I keep thinking that I will cook something with them, like pickle them.  Since I am short on time, maybe the best thing to do would be to simply saute them.  I could freeze some of what I saute, in useful amounts, for future use.
2. Harvest Something: nothing
3. Preserve Something: nothing
4. Waste Not: nothing
5. Want Not: I tried out a new bread recipe from Farmgirl Fare.  It was for oatmeal tosting bread.  It is really delicious, and does make great toast.  This recipe uses “old dough,” so I just used some of my sourdough starter.  Since the recipe also uses regular yeast, it rises very quickly (as compared with just the sourdough starter, which contains a slow-growing yeast), and I was able to make the bread in only a few hours.  It made three lovely loaves.  But, since I have a 30-year old Kitchen Aid mixer (my mom’s), I need to reduce the recipe to only two loaves.  The old Kitchen Aids have bowls that can handle only two loaves-worth of dough.  You can do enough dough for three loaves, but it crawls over the top of the dough hook and gets on the rotary mechanics.  I am definately going to make this again.  I am going to experiment with making it only with sourdough starter.  Since the starter is very slow-rising, I might use 4-cups of it (as opposed to 1-cup), to speed things up.
6. Build Community Food Systems: nothing
7. Eat the Food: nothing

In my last post, I described our trip to Mansfield, MO, to the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.   On our second day, we attended the opening day of the Baker Creek Spring Planting Festival

Here we are in line, waiting to get in.

Waiting to get in.

There were lots of people there.  This picture doesn’t really show that, because I took it before people began piling up.  I has through that they opened at 8 AM.  But they really didn’t open until 10AM.  Since we got there abut 9AM, we spent about an hour standing around and talking with everyone else who got there early.  It was a nice crowd.

I’m sorry to say that I forgot to take photos again.  I need to get better about that.  But you can see some of “Bakerville,” their pioneer village, on their web site.

This past weekend, we took a little trip to Mansfield, MO.  It was a great trip.  We left KC in the morning, and arrived in the early afternoon.

First, we visited the home of Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Click HERE to see their web site.  I forgot to take photos, except of family.  So, you only get this one.

We didn’t know what kind of lizard it was.  But he seemed to be enjoying himself.

Any way, we really found the house interesting.  This was where Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote her books, and she lived there for about 40 years, until she died.

I really didn’t know very much about Laura Ingalls Wilder.  I just remembered reading Little House in the Big Woods and Little House on the Prarie.  Also, any one growing up in the 70’s watchd Little House on the Prarie, with Melissa Gilbert.

The house was very odd, because it was build one room at a time.  Apparently, the first year they were there, they lived in a one-room log cabin that was already on their farm.  The next year, they added a room, which was a kitchen.  The log cabin isn’t there any more.  Anyway, the year after that, they moved the kitchen to a new site (on skids) and added an additional room. They kept adding rooms, over time, as they got the money to do so.   It took them 17 years to build the house.  The house was very solid.  The wood was very thick, at least on the banisters and wall trim.   It was interesting that all of the utilities, like the hot water heater, gas lines, etc. were all out in the open.  For instance, the hot water heater was in a corner of the bathroom.  I guess, since they didn’t originally have a hot water heater, that was how things were done.  It was sort of like visiting Hurst Mansion in CA, where they had naked electric light bulbs out every where.  Just not what we are used to these days.

One thing that really caught my attention was how tiny Laura was.  She was only about 4′ 7″.  You could see that because everything was very low (for us), because it was built to fit her.  For example, she had a baking station that didn’t even come up to my hip.

After that, we were so tired we went to our hotel.  Sunday, we went to the Spring Planting Festival, at Baker Creek Seed.  I’ll report on that later.