In the Kitchen With Laura Fire

In the Kitchen With Laura, both the program and the blog post series, continue to be very popular. I really enjoy them too, so watch for more.

Prairie Burn
Prairie Burn

Was Fire a Big Danger When Laura Cooked?

Among re-enactors it’s a joke how people who aren’t aware of social history assume that most women died of fire back in the time of open hearth cooking. This isn’t true.

Fire was a normal presence in a house during most of the time Laura Ingalls Wilder was alive. It was a tool whether it was a camp fire, an open hearth, or within a cookstove. You got used to dealing with fire and wasn’t as big a deal as it is now. Still accidents did happen when you got careless or had a piece of particularly bad luck. Such an accident led to the little grey house in the west burning down.

Fire in the Kitchen Today

People are much less accustomed to dealing with fire today so it’s even more important to be prepared when cooking in your kitchen.

Here are some steps to help avoid kitchen fires.

Be aware of what NOT to do when putting out a kitchen fire. It’s NOT the same as a camp fire.

Be sure to have a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. America’s Test Kitchen takes you through comparing fire extinguishers in the video below and recommends the Kidde ABC Multipurpose Home Fire Extinguisher.

And while we are talking fire extinguishers and road trips, it’s a good idea to keep a fire extinguisher in your car as well. You never know when a quick reaction can save the day.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her onFacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2017

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Season has officially gotten underway again. If you plan a Laura trip before they open, make sure you call ahead. The homesite museums that are not fully open, may or may not be able to accommodate you by opening the museum, etc. or giving lists of what there is to see.

Independence, Kansas
Independence, Kansas

2017 Opening Dates

Pepin, WI – Opens May 12, 2017

Independence, KS – Opened March 1, 2017

Walnut Grove, MN – The visitor/gift shop stays open all year round with reduced hours in the off season. April 1, 2017 the ground open and the hours expand to include weekends. They add Saturday 10:00am – 4:00pm and Sunday Noon – 4:00pm. May 1, 2017 they expand weekend hours again to Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm and Sunday Noon – 5:00pm. June 1, 2017 hours extend to 10:00am – 6:00pm daily.

Dugout Site normally not open until May, but this year it reopened this week. The date is dependent on weather conditions, if there is still snow or if it’s flooded it won’t open as early. Call ahead and check.

Burr Oak, IA – Opened May 1, 2017 MonSat limited hours through May. Hours expand with Memorial Day.

DeSmet, SD –
Memorial Society – Opened limited hours in January – April, expand to Saturday during May, and then go to 7 days a week June 1st.

Ingalls Homestead – Opened Memorial Day Weekend for regular hours 9am -7pm every day with activities from 10am -6pm. They host school visits M-F through May so if you plan on a visit before they officially open next year, you may not be out of luck.  Visitors are welcome to join up with a school group, but should call or email first to get specific times as they vary daily.  800-776-3594 – mail@ingallshomestead.com

Mansfield, MO –
Opened March 1st, 2017

Malone, NY
Opened Sat., May 27, 2017

Spring Valley, MN
Regular hours on Memorial Day Weekend, Sat., May 27, 2017.

Keystone, SD – Opened June 1, 2017

Vinton, IA – Since they are kind of in a different situation, being part of an institution that has to be open all year. They don’t have stated open hours, but will gladly give a tour by appointment. Pat Barr wrote “We  will give a tour any day Monday through Friday. They may call Justin Ruegg at 319-472-5221, Extension 1226 or myself at 319-472-5221, Extension 1110.”

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+ LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Trundlebed Tales Joins Twitter

Revisiting joining Twitter. Have you joined the Twitter party yet?

Sarah's Notebook

twitter-count-2017

I signed up for Twitter and Facebook this week. Look for me there.

Here I am on Twitter:

http://twitter.com/Trundlebedtales

Join the group!

UPDATED April 14 2017: I thought it would be time to remind people I’m on Twitter. Also you can read the feed from the link above without having a Twitter account. I also added a photo showing my Twitter numbers and my current signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast

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Tornado Weather

Revisiting tornado preparedness, as tornado season starts.

Sarah's Notebook

The De Smet News this week has an article warning about tornadoes as the kick off to Severe Weather Preparedness Week. Although tornadoes can happen anywhere in the country, the Midwest is particularly susceptible. A tornado watch is when conditions are favorable for a tornado to occur.  A tornado warning is when an actual tornado has been spotted. Many small towns, like Walnut Grove, Minnesota, and De Smet, South Dakota, have sirens which alert the town to possible problems. These sirens go off in a pattern of starting and stopping for a fire and in 1 steady blast to warn of a tornado. Most of these towns also have the sirens go off at set times during the day (9am, noon, & 5pm are the most common times, with the noon whistle being by far the most common). These time sirens are a single blast, a few minutes, but then…

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Packing Up: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

I’m posting a more in-depth description of one of my programs each month.

Check them all out. Which one would you like to see most?

Packing Up 3

Packing Up

This was my first successful alternative to the General Laura program and it remains really successful. It’s slightly shorter than the General Laura program and includes more storytelling. It also offers even more chances for children to come up on stage to directly join in than the General Laura program.

It is staged for Laura as a young farm wife and includes props packed up in a trunk.

Program Specifics

It’s 1894 and we find Laura, Almanzo, and their daughter Rose living in a small house a couple of blocks from Ma and Pa’s Third Street house. Disaster and disease have pushed the Wilders around the country from South Dakota to Minnesota to Florida and back again. Now they are back in De Smet to regroup before they take one more fresh start in Mansfield, Missouri. Find a rich description of this time in the forward of the book On the Way Home and the short story “Grandpa’s Fiddle” from an adult Rose.

We find Laura a week or so before they leave going through an old trunk to see if there is anything they can leave behind. Each thing she pulls from the trunk reminds her of a story. Through these stories she tell about her life.

While it is a good choice for any age group, this is the program that I most often recommend to groups with a younger audience or to an audience that doesn’t have a lot of previous background on Laura. I can change the level the information is pitched at and I’ve presented it to great applause from early elementary school to adult groups.

Alternatives for Presentation

I appear in costume as Laura in the 1890s and it is done in the first person (I speak as if I was Laura).

This program can be done both with an accompanying PowerPoint presentation and without one when presented in areas where projection wouldn’t work well. When done with the PowerPoint which includes photos taken at all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder homesites and museums, it requires the ability to present in PowerPoint which means being inside, with electricity and a place to project. I can bring my own projector along or I can use yours.

For both versions I need a table up front and space to move around it.

The program is a live show so length can vary, but it normally takes between 45 and 50 minutes. I prefer to have at least 10-15 minutes for questions afterward, but that is optional and if I need that long, longer, or shorter depends on whether it’s a talkative group or not.

Sound interesting?

If this sounds interesting to you, ask a local museum or library to have me come and present Packing Up: the Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Sarah S. Uthoff is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales striving to bring the History, Mystery, Magic and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, and find her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+, LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

St. Ansgar, Iowa and its Blue Belle Inn

Looking back at one of the bed and breakfasts with a Laura room.

Sarah's Notebook

A Lovely Bed and Breakfast

Just approximately 25 miles from Austin, MN, St. Ansgar, Iowa is barely off the Laura Ingalls Wilder trail. While there wasn’t anything on my life list to cross of in St. Ansgar it is a very well preserved and still active little town. Its active main street (complete with antique shops and a soda fountain) and neighborhoods of big Victorian homes (still with the large trees lining the street), look much like the old photo postcards you see of DeSmet, SD.

While I was there, I stayed at the Blue Belle Inn, a bed and breakfast that also serves as a tearoom at lunch time. The outside is painted in the colors of the blue belle flowers (probably closer to the Virginia variety of blue belles which is what we grow at home rather than the Texas version). The rooms are decorated after classic children’s books…

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