Mentions September 2017

Uthoff at Night Using Tin Lantern
Uthoff at Night Using Tin Lantern

The mentions that Sarah Uthoff and Trundlebed Tales got during the month of September 2017. This month was a slow one on the news front. A little work I did awhile ago as background for a blog post popped back up. If you haven’t discovered History Myths Debunked, the blog or Death By Petticoat, the book, do so. 🙂

Theobald, Mary Miley. “Revisited Myth # 129: Punched patterns on tin lanterns varied by family so people could tell who was moving about outside at night.” History Myths Debunkedhistorymyths.wordpress.com/2017/09/16/revisited-myth-129-punched-patterns-on-tin-lanterns-varied-by-family-so-people-could-tell-who-was-moving-about-outside-at-night Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

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.

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Harvesting Wheat at Henry Ford

During the 19th century in the Midwest being a successful farmer meant that you had a successful wheat farm. Every place Charles Ingalls established a farm he was growing wheat.

Wheat
Wheat

In Little House in the Big Woods they describe harvesting wheat with a cradle (a scythe with wooden spokes to catch the wheat as it was cut), but both Pa and Father Wilder were interested in new technology so they go the new equipment as they could afford as it came out. This is harvesting with a reaper.

Man Reaping with a Cradle
Cyrus Hall McCormick: Reaper Man Illinois Periodicals Online – Northern Illinois University448 × 324Search by image This farmer is using a cradle to cut wheat. Until the advent of the reaper, harvesting wheat was done by hand with implements like the one shown here. Linked

Wheat Today and Yesterday

In old photos you often see wheat in shocks. In order to build a good shock you need taller wheat than is commonly grown today. As there is less need for straw the stem is waste and takes extra nutrients and water to grow so wheat has been bred to be shorter.

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.

DVDs of South Dakota Conference Available

A big Laura Ingalls Wilder conference was held by the South Dakota State Society History Conference April 28 – 29, 2017 in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. There was a lot of excitement when TPTB announced they were going to be offering DVDs of the proceedings. I haven’t done my full report on the conference yet — I’ve been waiting to rewatch on the DVDs first — but I did interview Nancy Koupal about it.

John E. Miller
John E. Miller

DVDs of Conference Available

Full information about the DVDs was coming later AND it’s finally later. Whether you attended in person or not, you can purchase a set of the DVDs of the full conference.

The cost is $50 for the full set, plus $5 for shipping, and it includes 7 DVDs that cover the entire conference.

You may pay by check, please make it to SD Historical Society Conference, or credit card by calling (605) 773-6009.

Mail checks to:
Jennifer E. McIntyre
Marketing Director
Associate Editor
South Dakota Historical Society Press
900 Governors Drive
Pierre, SD 57501

What’s On It?

Find out more information about the conference. It has the full presentations of all speakers. The speakers were the people who had been selected to submit essays for Pioneer Girl Perspectives which was released at the conference.

Featured Speakers

William Anderson, an award-winning historian and author, has written extensively on Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House novels. Hear his podcast episode.

Caroline Fraser is the editor of the Library of America’s two-volume edition of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House books.

Michael Patrick Hearn, a scholar of American literature, is one of the country’s leading specialists in children’s literature and its illustrators.

Nancy Tystad Koupal is director and editor-in-chief of the South Dakota State Historical Society’s Pioneer Girl Project and the South Dakota Historical Society Press. Hear her podcast episode.

Elizabeth Jameson has conducted in-depth studies into the history of women in the West, including the pioneer narratives of Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane.

Sallie Ketcham is the author of Laura Ingalls Wilder: American Writer on the Prairie, which is a part of the Routledge Historical Americans series.

Amy Lauters is the author of The Rediscovered Writings of Rose Wilder Lane, Literary Journalist, which explores Lane’s literary and journalistic career.

John E. Miller has published three books on Laura Ingalls Wilder’s life, career, and place as a Midwestern woman. Hear his podcast episode.

Paula M. Nelson has written extensively on rural women’s history and the agricultural settlement of the Great Plains.

Ann Romines won the Children’s Literature Association’s award for best scholarly book on children’s literature for Constructing the Little House: Gender, Culture, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Noel Silverman has worked with Laura Ingalls Wilder’s legacy for over forty-five years and as counsel to the Little House Heritage Trust since its inception.

Upcoming Post

Once I’ve had a chance to watch it again look for my full report on the conference.

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  Facebook,  Twitter,  Google+LinkedIn, and Academia.edu. Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Eclipse is Coming

In King Arthur’s Court

“Name any terms, reverend sir, even to the halving of my kingdom; but banish this calamity, spare the sun!”

My fortune was made. I would have taken him up in a minute, but I couldn’t stop an eclipse; the thing was out of the question. So I asked time to consider. The king said:

“How long—ah, how long, good sir? Be merciful; look, it groweth darker, moment by moment. Prithee how long?”

“Not long. Half an hour—maybe an hour.”

There were a thousand pathetic protests, but I couldn’t shorten up any, for I couldn’t remember how long a total eclipse lasts.

***

It grew darker and darker and blacker and blacker, while I struggled with those awkward sixth-century clothes. It got to be pitch dark, at last, and the multitude groaned with horror to feel the cold uncanny night breezes fan through the place and see the stars come out and twinkle in the sky. At last the eclipse was total, and I was very glad of it, but everybody else was in misery; which was quite natural. I said:

“The king, by his silence, still stands to the terms.” Then I lifted up my hands—stood just so a moment—then I said, with the most awful solemnity: “Let the enchantment dissolve and pass harmless away!”

There was no response, for a moment, in that deep darkness and that graveyard hush. But when the silver rim of the sun pushed itself out, a moment or two later, the assemblage broke loose with a vast shout and came pouring down like a deluge to smother me with blessings and gratitude; and Clarence was not the last of the wash, to be sure.

– Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Author’s Court

A Real Life Total Eclipse Comes to North America

The eclipse sequence is one of my favorites in one of my favorite books. (Some day I’m going to write an essay on it and what it shows about changing American culture.) This time though, being smart Yankees ourselves, we know the eclipse is coming so we have time to prepare ourselves.

The path of the total eclipse will barely touch Iowa, although we’re close enough to its path that we should still get a pretty decent one.

Be sure to watch safely.

More Resources

For more resources check out these recommendations from our friendly neighbors in Nebraska that will have the eclipse cross the entire state.

Bibliography

https://www.starnetlibraries.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/Eclipse-Bibliography-Libraries.pdf

More resources from the libraries of Nebraska

http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/2017/06/14/solar-eclipse-countdown-71-days-counting-part-1/

http://nlcblogs.nebraska.gov/nlcblog/2017/06/27/solar-eclipse-resources-part-two-54-days-counting/

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.

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.

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.