Nerstrand Big Woods State Park

Have you gone looking for the Big Woods?

Sarah's Notebook

Although, it shares a name with Laura’s book, this state park actually was named as the only remnant of Big Woods in its area. The Big Woods in this area covered about 5,000 acres when permenant settlers arrived in 1854. It features 1,280 acres of land and was established by the Minnesota Legislature in 1945.  It remains today a good example of the Big Woods which once covered much of the northern states.  It has sugar maples, basswood, elms, green ash, and Ironwood trees. There are also 50 varities of wildflowers and many varities of ferns and mushrooms.

Although it doesn’t take its name from Laura’s title, it does come from the same source and I think the park will be well worth a visit.

UPDATED March 9 2018: I added my current signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at…

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Quote: “What’s popular…”

Sharing this again in honor of this quote “What’s popular may not be credible, and what’s credible may not be popular.”

Sarah's Notebook

The November 1, 2008 issue of Library Journal features a review of a new search engine called Hakia. It weights according to content and context rather than popularity and relevancy (as does Google).  Instead it considers peer-reviewed information, commercial bias, currency of content, and source authenticity and has a section called credible sites that are identified by real librarians. So far those are limited to the environment and health, but plans are in the works to expand them to other areas.

COO Melek Paulatkonak of Hakia gave this great quote “What’s popular may not be credible, and what’s credible may not be popular.” A true quote and one well worth thinking about. (p. 22)

UPDATED March 6 2018: I’m very sorry that this search engine no long exists, but I think the quote from the article about it remains powerful and worth sharing. I added my signature block.

Sarah S. Uthoff

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Lambs in the night

Looking back at Lambs in the Night.

Sarah's Notebook

2 sheep in the barn Suffolk Sheep in the Barn

Sheep LOVE bad weather to lamb in. I don’t know what it is, but a good storm is all that’s needed and you’ll be sure to get at least one. Here’s something I bet you don’t know. Sheep only have two teets. Sometimes they have triplets or more, but then they just have to share. Sometimes the odd triplet out fights back in and does fine. Sometimes it does fine, IF you supplement it with some bottle feedings. Sometimes the odd triplet out dies immediately. Sometimes the mother just out right rejects it or lets it get too cold and then you have to rescue the lamb. It becomes a bottle lamb and has to be feed at least every 3 hours.

Our first set of triplets this year picked the night of a big ice storm. We saved two of them. The next set…

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Do you know about hops?

Sarah's Notebook

One of the major agricultural products of Franklin County, New York was hops. Hops are primarily used in the brewing of beer. A couple of years of bad hop crops had depressed the area around Malone/Burke shortly before the James Wilder family left. There isn’t any evidence that James Wilder grew hops himself, but he surely would have known about such a staple to the area. The Franklin County (NY) Historian recently published a blog post on hops, read more about it here:

UPDATED February 27 2018: I double checked the link and added my signature block.

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…

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Farm Expert Connected to Blockbuster Movie

Since Disney has opened this park this is an even better story.

Sarah's Notebook

Avatar Update

Since I originally posted this an amazing recreation of the planet from the movie has opened at Walt Disney World.

Part of the floating islands at Pandora in Walt Disney World Pandora Floating Islands – Photo courtesy of Alissa Craig Firket

That world creation is even more important now it’s immersive. Holt’s research must have been incredibly useful as the world expanded.

A creek with exotic vegetation Pandora’s Creek – Courtesy Alissa Craig Firket

Plant Research

James Cameron’s new movie Avatar has made a big splash. Jodie Holt is a weed researcher at the University of California at Riverside. James Cameron called on her to help fill some blanks about alien plant life and to help fill out some ideas about the work Sigourney Weaver’s character would do. Holt showed Weaver how “someone in the profession would dress and behave and how to approach a plant to take samples. Holt wrote a chapter for the companion book, Avatar: An Activist Survival Guide about Survival…

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Winter Weather

Since we are having a proper Iowa winter again this year in the Midwest, I thought people might appreciate this post from 2008.

Sarah's Notebook

In Iowa it is surely winter. We really don’t have any right to complain because we haven’t had a proper Iowa winter in about ten years. There have been ice storm winters and occasional blizzard winters, but we haven’t had a proper lasts all winter type winter for 10 years easily. This year it got an early start right at the beginning of December (they have started earlier – we have a movie of my grandfather picking corn on Thanksgiving in the snow) and has not let up since. Luckily while it has been very cold at times (first time I heard of a negative 40 windchill in years) for the most part the extreme cold weather hasn’t come with the storm decreasing the amount of snow and insuring that the snow is wet and heavy enough that it doesn’t blow easily. Our farm (and at present the roads – three days…

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Good News – Land Patent Search Available Again

Did you know you can find land patents online?

Sarah's Notebook

There used to be a great search for patent records available online. A lawsuit over lack of sufficiently safeguarding privacy of Native American Tribes caused all records to be pulled, but the Land Patent Search is now back up!

You can search it for yourself here:

While the information is transcribed, only some of the documents have an actual image available. However, you can find Charles P. Ingalls in Minnesota, Carrie C. Ingalls in South Dakota, and Peter Ingalls in Florida among others.

UPDATED January 20 2018: I double checked the link and added 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…

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