Memorial Day 2017

It’s once again Memorial Day where we take a weekend and remember those who have passed on both those members of the military who gave their last full measure of devotion, those who passed on later, and our own lost family and friends. I hope to see you at your local services.

The Smithsonian explains where Memorial Day celebrations come from:

http://blog.americanhistory.si.edu/osaycanyousee/2013/05/you-asked-we-answered-why-do-we-celebrate-memorial-day.html

Time explains why Memorial Day became a Three Day Weekend:

http://time.com/4346170/memorial-day-three-day-weekend

Look at past year posts:

Avenue of Flags

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.

Grain Bin Home Safe-T-Home

When Is a Grain Bin Really a Great House?

Iowa ingenuity is a beautiful thing. When the earthquake hit Haiti in 2010, Sukup Manufacturing’s Brett Nelson (safety director), Steve Sukup (CFO), and Brad Poppen (Engineering) quickly came on board wanting to help. This group at the Sukup corporation that makes grain bins wanted to know why the houses in Haiti couldn’t stand up to the storms and why emergency houses were so slow in coming. They turned to thing they knew – grain bins.

Grain Bin Houses Store a Good Deal

Grain bin houses have been around for awhile. If you have a now abandoned grain bin on your property because it’s no longer being used as a farm, you’ve gotten a bigger bin, changed your system or whatever, you have to do something with it. Some people make it a house. Other people buy them new or used and transport one somewhere to make a home.

I think the inspiration comes from the lovely curving staircase that goes around the outside to the top where the hatches to put grain in are. You have to cut doors and windows and finish the inside, but it can be a lovely and unique home. They’ve even made Mother Earth News.

Exterior of Building
Exterior of Building

Putting the Safety in Safe-T-Houses

But these grain bin structures for Haiti would be something new and specially designed. You might call them a grain bin house, a silo house, or an emergency house. While they were based on a grain bin and used the same materials, they were designed to be houses. With their low, rounded shape they were set up to defy strong winds. They are also more secure than many houses in the developing world.

According to Sukup, “Each home can sleep 10 or more and features a double-roofed system that displaces heat, a full-size, lockable steel door, two windows that can be locked from within and a water collection system….The Safe T Homes® were able to hold up to 60 people in each home to ride out the storm. The Safe T Home® has a life expectancy of 75 years and can be assembled on-site with simple hand tools.” They can be put up in a couple of hours. They are built to defend against weather, fire, and termites which are the bane of home building in a tropical climate.

Interior of Roof
Interior of Roof

Standing Iowa Strong

Sukup Manufacturing has directly donated more than 75 of these structures. Churches and individuals have donated money to buy more. Most of these donated homes have been sent to Haiti, but some have also been shipped to Africa and Peru. Some of the structures were gathered into what they called Village of Hope in Les Cayes, Haiti.

Collection of homes made from grain bins in Haiti
Collection of Sukup Manufacturing Safe-T-Homes in Haiti, courtesy of Sukup

When Hurricane Matthew struck the island nation in 2016 only 10% of traditional housing was left standing, but all 200 of the Safe-T-Homes on the island survived.

After Hurricane Matthew, a traditionally constructed home and a Safe-T-Home side by side, Photo courtesy of GoGlobal Serve
After Hurricane Matthew, a traditionally constructed home and a Safe-T-Home side by side, Photo courtesy of GoServ Global

Find Out and Do More

The best place to go for information is the Sukup Manufacturing page about Safe-T-Homes.

If you want to work with a group to give a lot of money, you may want to contact Sukup directly, but if you want to donate individually for more of these houses go to the project on GoServ Global. You may have to select “Safe-T-Home” from the drop down menu to make sure it goes where you intend.

Interior Windown with hatch closed
Interior Window

Iowa Proud

Another great Iowa idea saves lives. I told you Iowa ingenuity was a wonderful thing. Try to think outside the box to help make it a better world.

UPDATED May 25 2017: I made a couple of small corrections and additions including the location of the Village of Hope. I also added the photo courtesy of GoServe Global.

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.

In the Kitchen With Laura Churning Garth Williams

Today’s In the Kitchen With Laura is reworking an old post. We’re going to look at one of the things that is most closely associated with Laura, churning butter.

Garth Williams Pictures Farmer Boy

This last read through of Farmer Boy has convinced that Garth Williams has led me astray. I always liked the barrel churn Williams pictured in Chapter 17 “Summer-Time” (page 198 in the yellow back paperbacks). I always wondered why Almanzo didn’t get on and ride it like a rocking horse. I always wanted to see one like it. I haven’t yet, but I suppose there was one Williams based his drawing on as I can recognize most of the equipment in the drawing behind Almanzo.

Dasher Churns

There are different kinds of churns. The one that the Ingalls family is described using in Little House in the Big Woods is a dasher churn. The dasher is the paddle in the middle that you push up and down to create butter. They are normally high capacity and operated while standing up.

Dash Churn
Dash Churn

Barrel Churns

I have seen lots of barrel churns. They just looked nothing like the rocking horse model. Well, this time I read through a line jumped out at me, “Almanzo turned the handle, and the churn rocked.” There is nothing to turn on the one in Garth Williams drawing, but a normal barrel churn turns the barrel by turning the handle. Loaded with cream it’s constantly off balance and does rock, though not on rockers.

Dashe and Barrel Churns
Dasher and Barrel Churns

I’m including a photo of a normal barrel churn which I’m now 95 percent sure that it is like the one Mother Wilder used. The churn on the left is a dasher churn, like the Ingalls Family used in Little House in the Big Woods. The metal ones on the far side are new to me, but I would guess they might be from a commercial dairy to go with the other photos in the chapter.

Don’t Feed That Cow Turnips!

Just as a fun note turnips came in as fodder feed for cows in the 18th century. Laura Mason notes in the Encyclopedia of Food and Culture that when cattle feed was less uniform different feeds created different tastes in butter. Turnips were especially know “for giving a characteristic and much-disliked taint to butter.” (Vol. 1, p. 272) So the cow eating turnip tops in On the Banks of Plum Creek was probably not giving the best tasting milk, even if she was producing any. 🙂

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.

Rolling Out New Page

Sarah Uthoff sitting on merry-go-round in front of one-room school
Sarah at Ingalls Homestead

I’ve been working on building this new page and I just published it on the Trundlebed Tales blog. This page will have quotes, photos, and facts to help anyone needing help on publicity or news coverage of Trundlebed Tales. Check it out!

https://trundlebedtales.wordpress.com/for-reporters-the-press-and-other-publicity/

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.

Quote: Back when it was spelled publick

“People were making stuff up and foisting it on the public back when it was spelled publick. Ye olde fake news, you might say.” – Gregory S. Schneider

The fake news that haunted George Washington.” Washington Post. 10 April 2017. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/retropolis/wp/2017/04/10/the-fake-news-that-haunted-george-washington/?utm_term=.78d63ebc65b1 Accessed 2 May 2017.

Whenever people talk about all fake news today and how it’s a brand new thing, I know they haven’t read much history. False stories printed as fact date back to the Colonial era of this country. In the 18th and 19th century most large cities would have two newspapers one for each party and you would barely recognize the same news as it was carried in the two papers.

For all the fuss kicked up about the “new” term fake news (new as in approximately 1890), people have always used made up stories, or at least their own political slant on them, to try to sway opinion. I highly recommend reading both the article the quote is from and this one about people’s ideas about science and where they get them.

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.

Top Ten Posts April 2017

Sarah in Pampas
Sarah in Pampas

Here are the blog posts and pages that have had the most views last month. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. :)

Day 1 Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference 2017

Day 2 Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference 2017

Laura Homesites Open for the Season 2017

Packing Up: The Life of Laura Ingalls Wilder

En Route to Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference 2017

Author Reception at SDHS Conference

May 2017 Presentations

Where did Albert come from?

Springfield IL 2013

Booking a Program

Schedule of Presentations

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.

Food History Conference in Ann Arbor

Remembering a great conference that still influences my work.

Sarah's Notebook

For those who wondered what I was doing on that ferry, I was heading to Ann Arbor for the Second Biennial Symposium on American Culinary History: Regional and Ethnic Traditions. 

trading card 2014Conference website via Internet Archive

It started Friday morning with a trip to Zingerman’s Deli. A place not to be missed, and one I had been looking forward to getting to since my brother shot by it without stopping coming home from ALHFAM at Henry Ford a few years ago. They had a special tasting set up with different cheeses, olive oils, vinegars, etc. We were one of the first to arrive and were escorted upstairs by Ari Weinzweig himself. After that we braved the town’s parking ramp system, and finally found a place we were allowed to legally park. Luckily all of the U of Michigan students we asked for directions over the weekend were very nice and knew…

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