Farming: Then And Now – An online agriculture lesson

I recently took a class on farming present and past and one of the assignments was to create an online version of the lesson. I chose to do it as blog post. Please come along and join the activities. It’s based on this lesson plan. It assumes Zoom meetings that have groups pre-set up. We won’t have those available, but please watch and join in the rest of the activities.


Segment 1

Farm Bureau: “Farming today is just as important as it was in the past. Farmers have always produced food, but their methods of production change throughout time. Machines make it easier and more efficient to plant, care for, and harvest crops. Machines do a lot of work that people and animals used to do, and they do it faster and more accurately. Before tractors, farmers mainly used horses to help with difficult work. Once tractors became economically feasible for each farmer to own, the number of horses decreased and the number of tractors increased. Farmers today continue to produce the food needed by humans and livestock, as well as producing other resources, just as they did in the past, but with new technology and innovation.”

Although the goals are the same farm life is very different from what it was 100 years ago. In the survey below each question starts with something that would have been done in the past with the second option being something that is done in the present. Complete the survey and see if you’d rather be a farmer now or then!

E-mail me at info@trundlebedtales.com when you’d rather be a farmer.


On Friday afternoon at 2pm we’ll be doing a live Zoom class meeting. We’ll be going through the presentation “Iowa Agriculture: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.”

After the presentation you’ll be put in Friday group rooms on Zoom to discuss and fill out a Know-Want to Know-Learned diagram. You can draw it and scan it or type it up. Everyone will be expected to turn in the diagram. E-mail it to info@trundlebedtales.com


A farmer’s job is to manage a farm. They may own everything on the farm, they may work for the owner, or they may be contracting growing. Contract growing is owning the farm, but raising things on contract for someone else. There are farmers who raise acres of crops. Crops are plants grown to be sold for use as food or other products. There are also farmers who focus on livestock. Livestock are animals raised on a farm to be sold as food and to make many other products that you use.

The chores or everyday jobs that have to be done on a farm depends on the time of year and what is raised on the farm. On farms that raise crops farmers often use machines that do particular jobs to help them get the most yield. At harvest time, machines like combines are used. A combine gathers a crop and cuts, sorts, and cleans the plant that is being harvested. Yields are the amount produced on a farm each year. Yields are given as per acre. Each acre is 43,560 square feet (a little smaller than a football field).

In your groups we’re going to watch the video and then work with your group to come up with definitions for these terms. Fill them out on the Google doc.

Read: Farming Then & Now by Scott Foresman (We’re going to have to look into how we can share it. We might have to do it live on Zoom.)

Segment 2

Before the next live Zoom watch these 2 videos.

Next up is a vocabulary live quiz. We’re going to have a list of people’s names and vocabulary terms. There will be two sets of each vocabulary word. The instructor will draw one student and one vocabulary word. We’ll go through all the vocabulary twice.

Download two circle Venn Diagram or draw one. Look at comparing farming yesterday and today. As part of our live Zoom we’ll share screen and go through the photo album looking to identify farming yesterday and today. Use this website to explore and help fill out your Venn Diagram.

During this time’s Zoom session, we’ll also bring in farmer Myron XXXXX to answer questions about his farming operation today and how it has changed over the years.

Whether you decide you’d rather be a farmer in the past or in the present, write a 3 paragraph answer explaining your choice.

  • Paragraph 1 : Which answer you’d pick and why you didn’t pick the other option.
  • Paragraph 2: Reasons you answered the way you did.
  • Paragraph 3: Summing up why you feel the way you do.

After you write your reply, e-mail it to info@trundlebedtales.com

Check out these Agriculture Fun Facts.

Find the standards for this lesson at the bottom of this lesson plan.


I hope you have a enjoyed this lesson and found it useful to learn more about agriculture in Iowa.

Historic Clothes with Micarah Tewers

Now I don’t really know who Micarah Tewers is, but based on her number of YouTube followers maybe I should? However, her video popped up as one of my suggested YouTube videos and I watched it.

It doesn’t look like she does a lot of historic clothes – and she definitely doesn’t take proper care to make them like they did historically – BUT she has apparently spent a lot of time learning the history of clothing and being able to quickly improvise a look.

Little Women

Now I should admit right here – I do NOT like Little Women. I have such major issues with the second part of book 1 that I couldn’t bear to read anymore of the series (seriously MAJOR issues). So while I adore Lousia Mae Alcott (read Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom – why doesn’t anybody make THEM into movies?) I do NOT like any version of Little Women.
So it’s strictly from the historic clothing bent that I watched this video and I think Tewers makes some very good points that you should think about with your historic Laura clothes. While as a Laura fan you might be looking for a general pioneer look and not willing to expend much time or money on a Laura dress for valid reasons, I think some of the errors she points out are definitely things you could easily avoid.
(She also make some very fair points in passing about the live action movie remake of The Beauty and the Beast.)

Follow Up with Jane Austen

She doesn’t do historical fashion as a rule, but she did one other historical costume video that I found.
I wish she’d do some more historic clothing. It’s just fun to watch her sew and make snarky comments.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Favorite Movies From 1920s to 1940s

I love movies, especially old movies. I think movies from different decades tend to be of different flavors. I’d break them down 1920s-1940s, 1950s-1970s, and 1980s on.

It really isn’t fair to compare movies to previous decades’s movies, so here is my list of my favorite movies from 1920s to 1940s. They might not be the best movies and I certainly haven’t seen every movie, but this is my list of movies I could watch again and again.

DVDs on a shelf

My List

The list is not in any particular order, but as I thought of them. I’ll do the other decades another time. This is specifically focused on theatrical releases, no TV series, TV movies, miniseries, or straight to video releases were considered. I’m not giving full reviews of the movies, I’m just tossing out why they made my list. What movies would be on your list?

Most Favorite Movies from 1920s Thru 1940s

  1. Foreign Affair (1948) – I grew up watching a LOT of old movies. Every Saturday afternoon Public Television had a show Saturday Afternoon at the Bijou which showed all kinds of old movies AND there was a local TV station that played any video print it could find of a movie – licenses? they didn’t need no stinking licenses – and was in business several years showing all sorts of old movies before they got caught. As a result I’d seen quite a few movies whose name I couldn’t remember and had to search to find. This is one of them and it was worth the hunt. A female US Senator from Iowa (you’re supposed to cheer every time something refers to Iowa on this list) is there to investigate corruption in post-war, occupied Germany. A solider who had been lining his pockets with a black market racket starts out romancing her to keep her off the racket’s scent, but falls in love with her instead. That’s not going to sit with his crooked pals and the truth CAN hurt.
    FUN FACT: Iowa’s first female elected senator, Joni Ernst, was not elected until 2015. However, today Iowa’s main political leaders (consisting of governor, lt. gov, US senators and representatives) are completely gender balanced.
  2. Paleface (1948) – The sequel to Paleface, Son of Paleface, made my 1950s-1970s list and it’s the funnier movie. However, this is the better story. Calamity Jane is freed from jail on the understanding that she will uncover who is selling weapons to renegade Native Americans. When the agent that she’s supposed to pose as a couple with is killed she gets an unknowing Hope, who is Painless Potter the laughing gas using dentist, to take his place. This is one of the best outings of Hope’s studio template character and introduced Hope’s hit song “Buttons and Bows” which is a super fun bouncey song if you haven’t heard it and it won an Academy Award for best original song.
    FUN FACT: There really was a dentist known as Painless Parker who helped make common the use of laughing gas in dentistry. I’m sure that’s where they borrowed Painless Potter from.
  3. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) – In 1937 there wasn’t a bigger movie than Snow White. People didn’t believe that you could make a full movie length cartoon and make people care about the characters. At the star filled premiere, movie stars were truly moved by these cartoon characters. Snow White has always had my heart. She’s my favorite Disney princess — ever.
  4. Brewster’s Millions (1945) – The Brewster’s Millions story is one that the movies have revisited many times because it’s a great farce. A young man has a rich man leave him an unexpected windfall with a catch – in order to inherit all of it he has a short amount of time to SPEND (not give away) an outrageous amount of money and end up with nothing of value – he’s not allowed to tell anyone not his friends nor his girl why he’s suddenly crazily spending money. You see the rich man didn’t want to see all his money wasted and he figures going through this experience will cure the young man of ever wanting to waste a cent or really spend any money again. Although I really enjoy all the versions, I think this one is the best. I think we’re overdue for another remake, the last one was the Richard Pryor 1983 take which is by far the longest we’ve gone without another version. I’d also like to point out to anyone who thinks taking an established property and remaking it switching the gender of the lead role is any kind of accomplishment or even a new idea, Miss Brewster’s Millions (1926).
  5. The Thin Man series
    • The Thin Man (1934) – Nick and Nora Charles found their perfect screenwriters and couple for this wonderful movie. It has a very clever mystery, a big reveal at the end, great married banter, lots of funny stuff with one of cinema’s cutest dogs, and just about everything you need in a movie. I’ve seen this movie so much that I’ve lost count, but I’ve watched it on TCM at least 5 or 6 times alone. If you haven’t seen it yet, go forth and watch. I’ll wait.
      Let me point out that the “thin man” in the title is actually the critical clue in solving the mystery. They remember this in the next couple of movie titles and then give up since the public at large was convinced that Nick Charles was the Thin Man. Normally I just try to mention one movie in a series, but these are all worth inclusion in the list. The first two are definitely the best, still watch ALL of them.
    • After the Thin Man (1936) – They left NYC just after Christmas at the end of the first movie headed west. It takes a week, a week in movie time or two years in real life, they arrive back in California in time for New Year’s where Nora’s eccentric relatives have gotten themselves mixed up in a scandalous murder, Jimmy Stewart is cast against type, TV’s “Blondie” is the star of the nightclub show, and a funny line is only funny if you know that bank night was a promotion movie houses used during the Great Depression to get more people to come out by giving out prizes.
    • Another Thin Man (1939) – After the Thin Man ends with a reveal that Nora is pregnant. When this movie starts they’ve had the baby. This time they go to visit the man Nora’s father left in charge of her inheritance on a Long Island estate. He’s killed, but with so many people not really being who they say there are, can Nick figure out who done it? This also has Nick’s friends from the wrong side of the tracks hosting a baby birthday party for Nick Jr.
    • Shadow of the Thin Man (1941) – There is a push to break up a gambling racket. It all blows up when a jockey is killed. This is the one where Nora wears a hat and people keep telling her “whoa that’s some hat” until finally, disgusted, she gives it away.
    • Thin Man Goes Home (1944) – This is the last one I saw. They left their son in city and return to the small town where Nick Charles grew up. No man is a hero in his own country and no one is impressed by Nick’s detective fame including his father who had his heart set on Nick becoming a doctor. Nora wants to drum up a case so he can show off and solve it. Does she find a lulu!
    • Song of the Thin Man (1947) – With their son in school, this time the murder is set in the world of jazz. Keenan Wynn has a great comic relief role as a musician who helps them out. Probably the weakest of the lot, but a great turn out by the entire cast. FUN FACT: Dean Stockwell plays their son in this one.
  6. Million Dollar Legs (1939) – There are a couple of movies with this name, but you want the one from 1939 that stars Betty Grable. 10% Frye has arranged for a medal award ceremony to be outside when it’s cold just so he can sell hot chocolate. He’s always pulling stunts like that and now his girlfriend wants him to win an athletic letter. Looking for his easy answer he discovers that there is a position in a crew team that just leads the team and calls out directions (in a crew boat you sit facing the rear of the boat so you need someone to make sure you don’t hit anything) called the coxswain. One problem, his college doesn’t have a crew team. Don’t worry, that won’t stop 10% Frye. Frye has a sort of hand jive he does. I practiced and practiced until I learned to do it, too.
  7. Fleet’s In (1942) – A film that stars Dorothy Lamour and Betty Hutton? What else can you want? This is a real World War II movie with the entire plot driven by two soldiers who come into town with the fleet and fall in love. Of course with those stars who wouldn’t fall in love with them? Even though it’s not a musical they have a lot of nightclub songs. My favorite line is during the trial “Ain’t these short skirts awful? I always say wear a medium long skirt and let the trade winds do the rest.” I also like the Countess of Swingland’s long staircase which she calls “the discourager.”
  8. Gone with the Wind (1939) – This movie is so long it actually comes with an intermission built in when you see it in the theater. I actually saw it on the big screen and if you ever get the chance you should, too, because it’s really designed to be shown that way and it truly is a saga. Even if you just see it on the DVD you should at least once. It, unfortunately, sells the hoax of the Lost Cause better than any other propaganda, but it effected a lot of movies and stories that came after and you should go to the source. It’s my mom’s very favorite movie and it really hit her psyche. Every year she can never rest until we’ve “paid the taxes on Tara.” P.S. There is pretty much 0 chance you’d get to be the pretty belle in real life even if you had lived back then, but dang they are lovely clothes to look at.
  9. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) – This is one of the most touching political films ever made. A young man is appointed U.S. Senator as a stooge to help get a bill passed. When he ultimately discovers what’s up and that his fellow senator from that state who he always admired is in on it, he sets out to fix it all on his own by using the only tool he has – a one man filibuster. The sad thing is that the only reason he wins is that ultimately his sacrifice works on his former hero’s, the other senator from his state, conscience enough that he rallies to his side and confesses. I really wish they’d found another answer in the film because while I can sadly see the rest of the premise in real life, I don’t think the other senator would have really rallied.
    FUN FACT: In the 1980s a script writer was frustrated about how difficult it was to get a good script made took a copy of Mr. Smith, took the name off, tried to get it made, and got nothing but rejections from every studio even though it’s a classic. Then he publicized his experiment as a protest. My favorite episode of The Famous Teddy Z is based on that true story. (Sad fact there is something wrong in a world where Jon Cryer had a huge hit with Two and a Half Men and Teddy Z only made it one season. It was an amazingly good show.)
  10. My Favorite Brunette (1947) – It’s a Bob Hope and Dorothy L’amour movie without having to put up with Bing Crosby. What else can you want? This was actually part of a series of similarly named movies Hope made, but they don’t cross characters or connect stories.
  11. The Dude Goes West (1948) – This is one you probably have never heard of which is too bad because it’s amazing western. Seriously if there is one movie you haven’t seen before on this list you want to follow up on, this would be the one to pick. Eddie Albert plays Daniel Bone. [It’s Bone, not Boone, even though his wagon gets painted the other way.] He’s a gunsmith and there isn’t much call for that in New York City anymore so he has a lot of time to borrow books from his friend the bookseller and he’s probably the most widely read and retained reader ever. However, he needs business so he heads out west. Did I mention he needs to be an amazingly accurate dead shot so he can tell what’s wrong with a gun? Also, that he draws a pipe when he gets into trouble? Seriously it’s a light-hearted western about how each reader secretly thinks they’d be able to remember and apply all the stuff they’ve read.
  12. Anne of Green Gables (1934) – This movie and its sequel weren’t the first film version (that one was silent), they weren’t the best known version (Kevin Sullivan), but they are an utterly charming one. The actress who had gone by a variety of screen names took her role as transformative and so took the character’s name as her own. That’s why the actress who plays the daughter in Stella Dallas is named Anne Shirley.
  13. My Favorite Wife (1940) – A woman is rescued from a desert island where she’s been living for several years. She gets home on the very day her husband has her declared dead because he’s going to marry someone else. What’s a man to do when the love of his life comes back, but his life has moved on? Once he gets a chance to see who she was on the island with, is it his choice?
  14. Front Page (1931) – If you love clever dialogue and you haven’t seen this yet… Go ahead. I’ll wait. — Dialogue snaps with every line showing the best and the worst of people and of the newspaper industry.
  15. His Girl Friday (1940) – This remake of Front Page was inspired when a script read was done and a woman read the Hildy Johnson part. Turns out the movie worked even better that way. There is no background music because there is always tune in the words. A couple of the best bits: Cary Grant gives a shout out to  his real name (Archie Leach), and his previous role in Alice in Wonderland as the Mock Turtle, the character played by Ralph Bellamy is described as looking like “that actor – Ralph Bellamy.”
  16. Bringing Up Baby (1938) – A screwball comedy is one where characters are put in utterly ridiculous and extreme situations and that thing you think of two days later in the middle of the night that would have been perfect to say, comes tripping of everyone’s tongues in the exact perfect moment for an hour and a half straight. In this one Cary Grant’s character, a shy, absent-minded paleontologist, meets a society woman who seems to think that 2 plus 2 equals 5. The trouble he gets into in just the first day he knows her is incredible, then she decides that she’s in love with him and he needs to marry her and is the only one she can turn to for help with the unwanted leopard her brother just sent her.
    ♪♫♪ I can’t give you anything, but love, Baby! ♪♫♪
  17. Topper (1937) – It’s interesting the name of the movie is Topper because the character of Topper doesn’t real drive any action, he reacts, but boy howdy does he react well. A couple, what used to be known as young, bright things, lived fast and hard. They were driving too fast and the car cracked up and they were both killed. The car was repaired and comes into possession of unassuming little man, named Topper. They decide Topper needs a new shot at life and excitement and mayhem follow in their wake. It was so successful that there are two sequel movies (Topper Takes a Trip – with only the wife ghost returning, Topper Returns – with a different ghost, a murder mystery and Eddie “Rochester” Anderson), a TV show, and a 1979 remake starring one of my favorite actresses, Kate Jackson.
  18. Holiday Inn (1942) – A movie so popular that a hotel chain was named after it. A performer retires for the “easy” job of farming and a nervous collapse later opens his farm as a club only open on the holidays each year. It introduced some beautiful holiday music including White Christmas and Be Careful It’s My Heart. Heads up there is a minstrel number for Lincoln’s Birthday and the actors wear blackface. Although is a great tune, the lyrics are unfortunate in many, MANY ways. For those who like to pretend it didn’t happen or don’t know, the fact that the vast majority of original American music for most of the 19th century WAS written for minstrel shows is a pretty nasty shock. On top of that it’s done in full blackface which at least has a good plot reason in the movie, but it’s a DOUBLE nasty shock. Be forewarned.
  19. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – This is another one where you want a particular version of the movie. This is the one with Maureen O’Hara and Natalie Wood playing a mother/daughter duo that has lost all the magic from their lives. You’re better off if you watch it in black and white, but it also is available in a colorized version. The woman then in charge of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade discovers her Santa Claus (he’s always the finale of the parade in his sleigh) is dead drunk. A replacement shows up and she gratefully hires him. Good news, he’s great! Bad news, he really thinks he’s Santa Claus! Can Kris Kringle convince Susan and her mother Doris to believe? Highlights include: Macy and Gimbal shaking hands, the little girl who only speaks Dutch, “I speak French that doesn’t make me Joan of Arc!,” learning to pretend to be a monkey, the flood of post office letters, and “maybe I didn’t do such a wonderful thing after all….”
  20. Pride and Prejudice (1940) – Here’s an odd thing, there are two movie versions of Pride and Prejudice I love. I refer to this one by its Lizzie (Greer Garson) and the other one by its Darcy (Colin Firth). Of course the 1994 version, with just a couple of sour notes, plays the most like the book and for that reason I adore it. This movie takes the basic set up and a few of the major events, shakes them up in a bag and comes out with something only slightly related to the book, but superb in its own right. My favorite two additions are a scene at the Netherfield ball featuring a Darcy-Lizzie archery lesson and the transformation of Aunt Catherine into much more the sort of woman she believed herself to be and you always wish she was. However, there is a lot more fun stuff to find. Watch it for yourself.
    SAD FACT: This version would undoubtedly be better known if it had been shot in color as originally scheduled, but Gone With the Wind had all the color film and technicians absorbed and they gave up and settled for black and white.
  21. Back in the Saddle (1941) – Gene Autry often plays a character named — Gene Autry. In this one he actually plays a character with a different name, but this is actually just a representative example of his work. Gene Autry lives to support (to steal a line from another small town boy) “truth, justice, and the American way.” He pushes for kindness, friendship, and figuring out the bad guy’s plan. He solves them  while courting a girl with a song. Gene Autry movies are always enjoyable although there are at least two that are unintentionally funny today. Riders of the Whistling Pines is about an evil plan to fool people into thinking that the DDT was dangerous to stop the government from using DDT to save a stand of trees so the evil developers could get the land and of course the government would never lie to you (it was 1949). The Old Barn Dance is about an evil tractor company that is trying to use the money farmers have to borrow to buy tractors as part of a land grab. Even though they add a fake logo they are clearly International tractors which really weren’t trying to get everybody to switch to tractors I guess????
  22. Wizard of Oz (1939) – Think of a great old movie, guess what year it was made and you probably have a 50-50 chance of being right if you say 1939. Wizard of Oz is among the top of a very good crop. Being right at the exact moment to do so, it won’t be until Schindler’s List in 1993 that color is again used so effectively. The Kansas prairie is shown in black and white while opening the door to OZ in color. It changes the story a little – in part to take full effect of the color film (the magic slippers became red instead of silver and the Emerald City is truly green you just don’t wear green glasses). The most substantial change in the story is that in the book Dorothy really travels to OZ and in the movie it’s a dream that works out the problems of her life using versions of the people and the situations she knows. There are SO many fun facts that I’d love to add here that I guess I need to do another Oz-centric post. I will just say if you love the movie, the book, or the prairie you really should read To Please a Child.
  23. Heidi (1937) – I really adore Shirley Temple. Like generations of little girls with golden curls I had aspirations of dressing and acting like that. I completely failed of course, but it was the dream. I really could list most of her movies – and I’ve broken down and added a second one below – I’ve picked this one because I love the story. This is why I love shepherd’s bread and butter and cheese just like she ate. (And read the books.)
  24. Little Princess (1939) – As I just said, I really adore Shirley Temple and this is one of her best known works. I especially like this one because it is based on The Little Princess by Frances Hodgeson Burnett. (Burnett also wrote the glorious The Secret Garden.) The story actually started as the novellette Sara Crew, but proved so popular Burnett lengthened it. This is another movie that leaves out big chunks that make it make more sense within the running time, simplifying things as it goes, but it’s still a good story. Let it inspire you to read the book. Shirley’s character is a rich girl whose mother is dead and her father is serving in the British Army in South Africa during the second Boer War. When word comes that he’s been killed and his money stolen the former “princess” has to become a scullery maid to earn her keep, but it doesn’t break her cheerful spirit. Plus, as always, she has a great dance number this time in a little Scottish outfit.
  25. Scarlet Pimpernel (1935) – Everything else aside, this movie has a soft spot in my heart because before I saw this movie I really thought Leslie Howard was the twit he played in Gone With the Wind. Having seen the Scarlet Pimpernel I knew Leslie Howard can ACT! It made me read the book which is also awesomesauce. In a Zorro (see my Guy Williams comments in the previous movie list post) – like story Sir Percy, a British Lord, falls for a beautiful French woman at the time of the French Revolution. They fall in love and marry, but she expects him to trust her implicitly and she refuses to deny or explain why she denounced an aristocrat who was then sent to the guillotine. (We later find out she had a pretty darn good reason and it really was second hand, she told someone else not the authorities.) In reaction Sir Percy becomes a hero rescuing people from the French Revolution, organizing his friends into a band, and taking on a soppy persona who seemingly only cared about fashion, literature, and pleasure while showing contempt for his wife. She is blackmailed into giving up a clue about the Pimpernel only afterward does she explain her actions to her husband and after he leaves to go to France she discovers it was her own husband she betrayed. What will she do now? Frequently quoted in is a poem “by” Sir Percy:
    They seek him here, they seek him there,
    Those Frenchies seek him everywhere.
    Is he in heaven? Is he in hell?
    That damned elusive Pimpernel.
    It was remade in the 1980s with Jane Seymore in the role of his wife. They give a lot more agency to her character, but sadly do it by making Sir Percy a much weaker character.
  26. ‘Pimpernel’ Smith (1941) – The Scarlet Pimpernel was an unexpectedly popular novel that spawned a series of novels that were never AS popular. Likewise they wanted to cash in on the popularity of the Leslie Howard movie, but by now World War II was here. France was now an active ally and Germany the enemy. This movie jumps ahead in time to the then “modern day.” A descendant of the original Pimpernel now is rescuing/smuggling people out of Germany. He’s a likewise foppish impression as an archaeology professor. He drives the women out of his class because he’s going to use the German’s obsession with discovering a super race as their ancestors. He’s bringing his class with him as a cover. Eventually the students figure out what’s up and actively begin to help. Watch for pretty much the best use of saying the phrase “red herring” ever.
  27. Road to Morocco (1944) – The famous “Road” movies are the most acclaimed series movies ever. Unlike most series the stars play different characters every time. The stars are Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, and Bing Crosby. In each movie Hope and Crosby play partners of some kind who are each other’s best friend and yet Crosby’s character is always willing to throw Hope overboard. For example, in this one Crosby sells Hope into slavery to get the money to get back home. Normally they get back together and then fight each over the love of Dorothy Lamour’s character. Sometimes Hope wins, but more often Crosby does. One of the cool things that continues movie to movie is Hope-Crosby playing Patty Cake as a diversion ending with them punching the people currently after them. Also, watch for jokes about Paramount who had them both under contract at that time. This was the heyday of Hollywood Studios and in many movies stars were expected to sing and dance. They often did duets (Crosby was the better singer, Hope was the better dancer). I picked this one as my example because “We’re Off on the Road to Morocco” is my favorite song they ever did together. It’s got such great lines as “Bet you 8 to 4 we’ll meet Dorothy Lamour” and “Like a complete set of Shakespeare that you get in the corner store drugstore for $1.98 we’re Morocco bound!” and “Or, like a volume of Omar Khayyam that you buy in the Department store at Christmas time for your cousin Julia, We’re Morocco bound.” I mean who can resist that?
    FUN FACT: Morocco bound refers to a cheap kind of leather that was used for book binding.
  28. It Happened on 5th Avenue (1947) – This is another Christmas movie and one that my mom likes to watch every single time she finds it on. A self-made man has lost the connection with his wife as he got more and more important. Now he’s the crust of the upper crust of society and owns two homes that he lives in for half the year. He summers in New York and winters in Florida. A hobo has found that out and apparently for a few years anyway has arranged to live in the opposite house. This year the daughter returns unexpectedly and found that the hobo living there with a bunch of returning WWII vets. They don’t have any money, but they do have a plan. First her father and later her mother return, but when she begs they pretend to be fellow hobos and they both learn from the experience.
  29. Meet John Doe (1941) – This is also sort of a Christmas movie although you don’t necessarily realize it IS a Christmas movie until the very end. With Gary Cooper and Barbara Stanwyck as the stars you know it will be amazing. Desperate to make a hit with her writing, a reporter (Stanwyck) writes a screed pretending it comes from a homeless man with a political cause. Her boss at the newspaper decides the way out after he prints it is to hire someone to become that man (Cooper). His speeches both inspire good neighbor clubs across the country and allow the rich man bankrolling it a foothold to start a political movement. Which half of the movement will determine the future?
  30. Sullivan’s Travels (1941) – A film maker known for comedies wants to be a truly great director and decides to go undercover as a homeless man so he’d gain the depth he’d need to do dark dramas. In the process, he learns when in the face of true darkness what comedy really means.
  31. The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947) – Sometimes the fact that Shirley Temple was darling and could dance incredibly well covers up the fact that she could also act. This one really shows off her acting chops.This is one of her later films. She falls in love with an artist who comes speak at her school (Cary Grant) much to the consternation of both the artist and her older sister, the judge. The sister pressures the artist into pretending to go along with the little sister so then he can convincingly dump her and get her over it. As her plan goes along the older sister discovers that maybe her little sister was on to something when she thought how wonderful the artist was.
  32. Ball of Fire (1941) – A tough broad has been dating a mobster. The cops are on his trail and her testimony could sink him. Cut to a group of academics that have been working for years on a new encyclopedia – funded by an inventor who felt ignored by the current encyclopedias. Discovering his article on slang is incredibly out of date he heads out into the world to get people signed up to come to a session on learning current  slang. He happens across the singer who at first rejects him, but then decides if she invites herself to stay with them no one will find her. However, she is treated with respect and kindness and suddenly marrying the mob doesn’t seem like her only choice. It was remade as a real popular musical time capsule, A Song is Born (1948), which is worth watching just for the popular music conversations it preserves as the academics are studying popular music in that one. [Note: This is not where “Heart and Soul” was first introduced. That was a short with the same name.]
  33. Captain Blood (1935) – This is one of my all time favorite pirate movies. It is also an Eryol Flynn/Olivia de Haviland movie. They made exciting adventure movies that rewrote history into what you wish really had happened. In this one a corrupt British system sells our hero into slavery and when he escapes he sets up a true democracy where all the pirates are moral and polite and respecters of women. They ultimately overthrow the evil monarchy when the good monarchy restores order and rewards Peter Blood by giving him the governorship and the girl.
  34. They Died With Their Boots On (1942) – In another Eryol Flynn/Olivia de Haviland movie this is most likely EXACTLY the movie Mrs. Custer would have wanted made. She spent the rest of her life pushing his reputation. In this one start from one of the best cute meets in movies. Then follow on how you wish their story had really gone. The thing about Eryol flynn/Olivia de Haviland movies is that the world would always be a better place if history had really played out that way, but it didn’t, it really didn’t.
  35. Luck of the Irish (1948) – This story is one of the greatest stories of the American spirit. An American goes to Ireland and accidentally finds a leprechaun. The American doesn’t believe it and thinks it’s a tease. After successfully capturing a leprechaun he’s shown it’s pot of gold. He refuses it saying he isn’t going to take someone else’s gold that he wanted to make it on his own. The leprechaun is impressed and sets out to improve the American’s life — or is he? The American’s speech about the gold is one of the American things I’ve heard in the movies.
  36. Stage Door Canteen (1943) – The link takes you to a page where they tell you the plot. Ignore that the important part is the role of the canteen itself. Take a look at that.

Also Run

This is a series of movies that you should definitely watch at least once.

The Women (1939) – The main reason to watch this movie is everything (even the animals in the paintings on the walls) are females. It does have the most Jean Smart role not actually played by Jean Smart as one of the friends. The rest of it I wasn’t too keen on. I kind of enjoy the payoff scene at the divorce ranch in Reno, but apparently the point of the plot is that you should accept your husband having a honey on the side because he’ll come back to you if you ignore it??????

Goodbye Mr. Chips (1939) – This is a very sweet movie, but also very, very sad. I cry every time.

It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – The main reason I love this is the scene where they dance on the gym floor over the swimming pool. (It was really at a high school in Los Angeles with the wooden gym floor covering the pool – although I think it’s one of the worst ideas ever because wood and water don’t mix. It looks cool though.) Also, what’s wrong with her being a librarian? Anyway it’s a well acted show, but it always tears me up.

The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (1943) – I listed Luck of the Irish before. I really believe that one shows the best part of American culture. Although this one is a good hearted movie, honestly the end scene where the bigwigs hear the story and decide what to do about it is another true part of American culture. It’s not always a great thing, but this shows one way of how things get done in America. (And frankly a lot of it is hilarious.) It’s only here for that bigwig end show.

Stella Dallas (1937) – If you are looking for a great cry, this is the movie to you. The way she gives up her daughter so the daughter will have a chance at a good life gets me every time. Just let her see the wedding. Oh, no there I go again. – Note the daughter is played by Anne Shirley who took the name when she starred in the Anne of Green Gables (1934) movie.

There You Have It

And there you have it. There’s my list of the best movies from 1920s-1940s. What films would be on yours?

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help?  Attend one of her programs,  schedule one  yourself,  watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her  on   Facebook ,   Twitter ,     LinkedIn ,     SlideShare,   and  Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

L.M. Montgomery Links

L.M. Montgomery is the brilliant Canadian author behind books like the Anne of Green Gables series and The Blue Castle. I find Montgomery to be a true Kindred Spirit.

L.M. Montgomery Shelf

The Shining Scroll – This scholarly publication began in 1992 and is the main source of Montgomery research.

Benjamin Lefebvre – Is one of the leading Montgomery scholars. His website gives great descriptions of outcoming books.

Destination Green Gables – A short blog from 2014-2015 However, it’s got a great gathering of photos from the Anne of Green Gables Museum. Find her main blog in Polish.

L.M. Montgomery Online – A website devoted to the life, the work, and the legacy of Canada’s most enduringly popular author. “Whether you are an academic, a student, or a life-long reader of Montgomery’s work, I hope this resource will prove useful to you.”

UPDATED: January 30, 2020

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Dakota and Lakota Traditional Games Resource

In the January 8, 2020 issue of the DeSmet News they had an article about a newly released resource from the South Dakota State University Extension system. Jeremy Red Eagle and Mike Marshall worked with them creating a collection of games focused on bringing values from tribal cultures. They include honoring the person who gives you a challenge, respecting the people you play with, showing courage and perserverance and being humble. They worked with International Traditional Games Society (ITGS) to help recover some tribal games.

Dakota Lakota Traditional Games Resource

Their handout booklet gave directions on how to play various games.

Dakota Games

  • Kaƞsu kutepi – They shoot the plum seed (dice)
  • Tasiha uƞpi – (Foot bone game)
  • Hokṡina itazipe – (Young boy’s archery)
  • Tahuka caƞhdeṡka – (Hoop and arrow)
  • Caƞkawacipina – (Spinning tops and whip)
  • Takapsicapi – (Lacrosse)

Lakota Games

  • Icaslohe econpi – (Game of bowls)
  • Inyan onyeyapi – (Rock sling)
  • Ipahotonpi – (Popgun)
  • Napsiyohli – Small Finger Ring (Ring Toss)
  • Tateka yumunpi – Wind Buzzer (Bull Roarer)
  • Tate kahwogyapi – Wind Chaser – (They are chasing the wind)

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

30 Top Posts of 2019

Sarah in front of Rocky Ridge
Sarah in front of Rocky Ridge

Each month I’ve started to share the top 10 blog posts that have had the most views in the previous month.  Since it’s the end of the year here are the top 30 posts with the most views during all of 2019. Take a look maybe there is something there that will interest you too. 🙂

Schedule of Presentations

Hoover Takes the Quilt

Annual Laura Ingalls Wilder Christmas Shopping Guide 2019

Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country 2019

September 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Where did Albert come from?

Mt Pleasant IA Midwest Old Threshers 2019 Events

In the Kitchen With Laura Project January 2014

Free Speech and Tinker v Des Moines

Laura Ingalls Wilder Events Around the Country

T-Shirt of the Month March 2017

45th Cast Reunion at Walnut Grove FAQs

In the Kitchen With Laura Cambric Tea

Booking a Program

Sewing With Nancy Zeiman

On the Way Home Live Tweet Part 1

Ep 100 Laura Ingalls Wilder Fandom Roundup 2018

Ozark Mountain Players Announce 2019 Dates

In the Kitchen With Laura Project February 2014

Program Descriptions

July 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

Amelia Bloomer’s Grave

May 2019 Laura Ingalls Wilder Events

One-Room School Lunch Survey 2018

Introducing Trundlebed TRAILS

A Long Way Home A Visit with Laura Ingalls Wilder

Musical Now Has License Rights Available for Purchase

Miniature Oxen

T-Shirt of the Month July 2019

Images Of The Past: Carrie Ingalls Swanzey

Homestead Land Patents

Grain Bin Home Safe-T-Home

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Show Me The State: The Lost Disney Park

Show Me State is a public radio series about Missouri. They’ve done a couple of really cool episodes lately. This is one is about Walt Disney’s “hometown” Marceline, Missouri. I’ve added notes about the main points of the radio show.

​http://www.tinyurl.com/y3mj9qou

Sarah in Marceline Mo
Me in Marceline

Marceline, Missouri heavily influenced Disney both in Parks and movies.

Kaye Malins, head of museum

Co-author of Walt Disney’s Missouri: The Roots of a Creative Genius, Dan Viets

Agricultural museum show kids what turn of the century farms were like

Newish town – Marceline was about 20 years old – when Walt first arrived

Pop caps at 4,000

To Walt the most important thing was dreaming tree

Walt’s speech in Marceline is recorded – talks about how Roy was always looking out for him, making sure he had money, Roy was a financial genius

Walt had many projects going

“I feel sorry for people who’ve lived in cities all their life and don’t have a little hometown.”

Asked Walt if they could name the pool for him. He wrote right back and wanted to know if he could bring Roy. Took him to his dreaming tree.

Walt asked his friend to buy the former Disney farm. He planed to re-create his version of Marceline IN Marceline.

Plan never made it past drawings and mock ups.

Roy asked to do Florida project, he would finish, but couldn’t do Marceline. His health was gone.

10 Overnight rooms

“Good job, Kay.”

Dan Viets has recording of Disney’s speech

 

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Historic Foodways at Pepin 2019

This month’s “In the Kitchen With Laura” takes us back to hearth cooking in the mid-19th century as the cooks of the Traditional Craft Demonstration area show off their display of cooking tools mentioned in the “Little House” books or the “Little House” Cookbook by Barbara Walker.

Nancy Sorchy and her sister Janet put together a display of cooking equipment she has in her personal collection.

Take a look and find:

  • the spider/spyder
  • fry pan
  • bake kettle/Dutch oven
  • trivet
  • firkin
  • piggin
  • noggin

If you enjoyed the video check out all my episodes on my In the Kitchen With Laura playlist.

 

In the Kitchen With Laura Playlist

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

 

Happy Halloween 2019

Me as Laura and my brother as Fonzie

Have a Happy Halloween with The Henry Ford.

Check out a Bogie Book for yourself!

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos,  listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on   Facebook  ,   Twitter ,   LinkedIn ,   SlideShare,   and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Walnut Grove Reaper

One of the fun things that exists on Twitter are archives hashtag parties. Someone picks a particular date and time and a theme giving museums/libraries/special collections/archives a chance to dig out or take photos. They then cockily send them back and forth with the hashtag so people following can find a lot of cool things they’d probably never see any other way.

The Reaper

This entry was sent out by the Library of Virginia.

Walnut Grove is the name of Cyrus Hall McCormick‘s family farm in Rockbridge County, Virginia. It was on this farm that McCormick and Jo Anderson developed a reaper. You can visit the place today. The information I found also recommended the book The Century of the Reaper by Cyrus McCormick.

Modern Farm Equipment

In Little House in the Big Woods Laura describes Pa harvesting with a scythe. The late 19th century saw a big step forward in mechanical equipment for farming. One of these was the reaper. A horse-drawn reaper would go through a field of grain (oats, wheat, etc.). The cutting bars on the front have metal teeth (like those for the mowing machine that Laura and Carrie fetch from town and then get lost in the slough) and paddle wheel sweeps the cut grain on to the platform behind that then the person working with the machine could then tie into bundles to create a shock. The entire stem of the individual stalk is cut off.

Separating the grain from the stem, etc. is a separate process. Both the more basic flail (Farmer Boy) and the threshing machine (Little House in the Big Woods) are described in the books. Combines – machines that combine the functions of a reaper and a thresher into one machine – later took over but generally not until the 1930s. It was only in the second half of the 20th century that they became the self-moving vehicle of today.

Walnut Grove Creeper

Although I knew the story of McCormick – my family have always been strong International people – I didn’t realize his farm was called Walnut Grove so it gave me a bit of a shock when I first saw this Tweet. I was so glad to find another – if slight – connection between Laura and agriculture history.

I must admit it made me think of “The Creeper of Walnut Grove,” too.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting 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. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast,   look at her photos, and find her on  Facebook ,  Twitter ,   LinkedIn ,    SlideShare,  and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.