Cows with Strange Equipment

It amazes me sometimes just how much non-farm people don’t know. Just recently AFLAC insurance started to run a new commercial about a farm. Some of the animals are a little creepy looking. The good thing is they feature a Hereford. Herefords are the best beef breed and what we raise. However, you NEVER put a milking machine on a beef breed. They don’t make enough milk for it to be worth your while. It’s just WRONG. You can view the commercial at:

The part with the seriously WRONG cow is at second 19. Oh, milking machines have to be hooked up to some place for the milk to go and they don’t go up and down like a bunge cord.

This is the worst cow since Barnyard the Movie, where the MALE cows have udders. Take a look at them in the trailer.

When You Get the Jokes

Lately it has really come home to me that you really know you are part of a group when you start to get the jokes, the small references, the reuse of a phrase. When you use one of them and someone gets the joke or you get theirs, you know you are home. I had that experience just lately several times. (Once standing on the pageant grounds in De Smet, once reading a posting on a message board, and once when a particular message popped up off my e-mail. Of course, I have a wide and diverse set of homes, I once spent a weekend where one day I was giving a lesson on how to Ebay and the next I was getting a lesson on how to use a telegraph, my various homes present a broad and unique mix.) I thought I’d try to mix in as many as I could below just to amuse myself from all over. I really wanted to get a red shirt reference in their too, but  I couldn’t quite figure out where. 😉

 Just recently I’ve had several instances of that that I’ve especially noticed references online and in person showing up and ringing a bell, yeah, that sentence kind of got away from me. I’ve really put some elbow in it and it’s been putting a big stupid smile on my face. I’ve been looking for something in a fairy ring and enjoying the violets. It’s so nice to be with people with whom you can do the Dance of Joy and they understand. Probably nobody got all those, so don’t hit yourself with a slate if you didn’t, but as you wish.

It’s  a really good feeling to feel like you are a part of something, so whatever you are really interested in join a group today.

If You Lose It…

Smaller is better seems to be the motto in technology. Also, many cell phones, memory sticks, etc. look nearly identical and in my job at the library I see many of both lost daily. It’s easy to leave either someplace.

However, we can take steps to speed their return. There is a national campaign in place to get people to put a tag in their phone under ICE (In Case of Emergency). Then if someone else has to use your phone in an emergency or to identify the owner of a lost phone, they know just which number to call. With the tag in place, it’s obvious what number is an emergency contact or the person who can reconnect the phone and its owner.

This second idea is all my own, I’d like to suggest that any time you get a new memory stick, you create a new word document called “This belongs to.” Within the document put your name and contact information so that if it’s lost, it’s easy to return it to you. We find lost USB sticks at the library all the time. Try to describe yours (Uh, it’s black, it slides in and out with a little plastic switch). It’s worse than describing your suitcase. So take the time to create your file now and pass this tip along!

Welcome back to Me

Welcome back to me. I’d like to apologize to everybody for dropping out of sight online for the last couple of month. There has been some sickness going around here and I’ve had it, but good. It’s been a different kind of illness, it’s been mostly stuck in my head. I’ve had a terrible time concentrating and getting blinding headaches if I tried to read and concentrate, especially online. Every time I thought I was better it came back and hit me again. I finally got to the point where I’ve at least read all my e-mail and I hope that I can slowly catch up with some of the things that I thought and in some cases said that I’d have done by now. I still have to get in fairly short bursts, but now I’ve started again. I hope that I can play catch up. Again sorry for disappearing, but in one of the best pieces of advice I every learned is from the bee story on Captain Kangaroo, “The best I can do is the best I can do and I’m doing the best that I can” and I’ve been following it.

These Happy Golden Years

In a letter dated Feb 26, 1967, Eugenia Garson, the force behind the Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook,  wrote Rose that she had the hardest time finding the music to These Happy Golden Years. She struck out at the Library of Congress and many other music libraries. Finally she found by chance in a small private collection in New York. It had originally been published in East Liverpool, Ohio, in 1879. Let’s all thank Mrs. Garson and her daughter for not giving up and listen to this great song that gave us a great title. Find it on “Laura Ingalls Wilder Speaks” available from most of the gift shops.

UPDATED March 6 2018: I added my updated 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 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 , TwitterLinkedIn , SlideShare, and . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.

Walnut Grove Depot

You never know what you’ll come across when you are searching the web. When I was looking for something else entirely I found this page of old (circa 1920s) family photos of Revere, MN. Not only is that just down the road from Walnut Grove, but that’s also where the depot that now is part of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum came from in the early 1980s. It was a hard trip, it even fell off into the ditch once along the way, but it finally made it and has put in years of faithful service. It’s current the red buidling with the Laura displays.

A sign in front of the red Depot museum.
Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum Depot in Walnut Grove

So when I saw the name Revere, Minnesota I just had to check out the photos and low and behold, there was the depot in its original location. You can see it the best in the photo on the right in the second row. Take time to stay and look at a typical Midwestern small town from that time (note the wooden grain elevator like those in an earlier post).

It makes me think, go ahead and follow the rules of good photography and get close up photos of people by all means, but don’t forget to take some really wide shots, too. It’s been my experience that even family members in years to come will be just interested in that. (Oh, look it’s Aunt Jean’s kitchen! That’s before we took the playhouse down. Remember sitting under that old tree before the ice storm?) So make sure you are taking some of those type of photos for the future too.

UPDATED September 24 2016: I put in a couple of slight edits added my current siganture block and the photo.

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 Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.


Mansfield Date Changes

Laura’s Memories, the Wilder pageant in Mansfield, used to be the hardest one to find dates for. Now they have a minimal webpage where you can find the dates.

For those of you unfamiliar with the production, it’s staged in a built-in arena near Laura Ingalls Wilder Elementary. The seating is the most comfortable I’ve found at any Wilder pageant. The plot starts off with a take-off on Laura’s recorded conversation with Docia Holland (identified only as librarian in the play). As Laura remembers back over her life, stories from her childhood on play in her mind and on the stage behind her. It’s a musical and frankly I think the songs were better than the major production at the Guthrie last year. Be aware though that the cast shares the parts (for example, the same girl doesn’t play Laura all the way through, but does continue to appear on stage as other characters). Also, notice its early start time. They don’t use the dark for special effects, so it starts a full hour before the other two pageants (and they even offer afternoon performances sometimes). It ends early enough so driving to your hotel isn’t a challenge.

Long time fans will notice some changes in the date pattern this year. Usually they split the pageant dates between early or mid-summer and then re-stage it around Wilder Days. This year they’ve moved to the first two weekends in August and the first three in September, which I would think would be easier on the production. They’ve also got the date for Mansfield’s Wilder Day (most activities are on Saturday, although there is usually some Friday and Sunday spillover) set for Sept. 19th. This is the third weekend of September where for the last couple of years they were on the second. I hope this sticks because that takes them out of competition with Wilder Days in Pepin and means that I might have a chance to visit during the days again and hear Pa’s fiddle. Be warned Pepin is about 6 1/2 hours north of where I live and, depending on your route and road construction, Mansfield is about 9 hours south. Don’t try to do them both in one weekend.

This change in dates comes on top of Burr Oak’s earlier announcement of moving their Wilder Days from the second weekend in June to the last, moving them out of direct competition with Prairie Days in Independence. It’s getting more and more possible to not have to choose between events, assuming you have the time for multiple trips. 😉