Decorah in the Spring

Actually it felt more like summer as our weather continued to pendulum back and forth between unusually cold weather and unusually hot. I was driving up to Decorah to give a class, so I was within 10 minutes of Burr Oak, but didn’t actually make it up there. The wonderful restaurant, the Victorian Rose that used to be in the beautifully restored Hotel Winnishiek has closed. I had heard they were cutting it back, but I mean closed as in space now entirely filled by a spa. Luckily just across the street and down a little bit, is a great tea room called Hart’s Tea & Tart’s. I highly recommend it, but it’s only open for lunch and afternoon treats.

You might also notice that several of the nearby counties have gotten on the barn quilt bandwagon. This is a fairly new program where people paint giant quilt squares, get people to hang them on their barns, and then make a tour for people to drive around the county and see them. It’s a nice opportunity to get off the beaten path, but having seen some in several different counties now, some counties definitely do a better job with it than others.

By the way, the class went really well and while we didn’t have that many people, they all drove for some distance to come, including two from Wisconsin.

Sarah Uthoff


Michigan One-Room School Conference

For those of you who don’t know ,Michigan is hot bed of organization these days. Not only do they have probably the best CCC organization in the country, if their one-room school community isn’t the best organized, then it’s in the top two.

The Michigan One-Room Schoolhouse Association will meet hold its annual meeting in Marshall, Michigan, on Saturday, May 19, 2007 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Follow the link to see their agenda. It sounds like a great day.

Also, please remember that the national one-room school conference, hosted by the CSAA will soon be upon us. I’ll be missing it because I’m saving my big trip this year for September, but it seems to be coming together well and Susan has been doing a great job of organizing it. Thanks, Susan!

 Sarah Uthoff

Earth Day and Arbor Day

This month saw both Earth Day and Arbor Day. I celebrated Earth Day in my usual way, by forgetting to wear my official Earth Day T-shirt….again. I also got a free tree to plant from the National Mississippi River Museum, but it’s still in a vase on the kitchen table.

Arbor Day is much more important to me. One of my favorite gifts to send people is a certificate from the National Arbor Day Organization that trees have been planted in their honor. It also played an important role in many one-room schools. There were entire books (I have several) put out by some of the states each year on how to properly celebrate Arbor Day in your school with informative lessons, poetry, and photos. Iowa’s state quarter features a slightly modified image of Grant Wood’s painting “Arbor Day.” Find out more about it, here Be sure to check out the great coloring page.

The idea of Arbor Day started in Nebraska with Sterling Morton. His house and grounds are preserved and the National Arbor Day headquarters is nearby in another of his former properties. My family used to make it part of any trip west to stop by Nebraska City (south of Omaha) and tour the house. It has a Tiffany Glass skylight and a gorgeous rose garden. Two of Morton’s sons started very successful businesses, Morton Salt and Redwing Cornstarch. One of them endowed an Arboretum in Chicago, another place to stop and think about Arbor Day.

 Sarah S. Uthoff 

Articles, Articles, Articles

We have a selection of new Laura Ingalls Wilder articles today. If you can’t get the links to work, click on what you can link and copy and paste the rest of the URL.

First up, we have a story on CNN about the 75th Anniversary of “Little House in the Big Woods.”

Second, here’s an article I found via our friends at the Ingalls Homestead website.

Third, here’s an article about me with a full color photo, from the Kalona News.

Sarah S. Uthoff

Bus Trip to Malone (Burke), New York

The Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Burr Oak is sponsoring a bus trip to Malone for a special event September 22nd in honor of Almanzo’s 150th birthday. “Join us for a trip into our pioneering past to visit the Almanzo Wilder Museum and Homestead in Malone, NY September 19-25, 2007 during the spectacular fall foliage display….We will also make stops at The Market Barn (60 shops with antiques and Adirondack collectibles) in Malone; The Von Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe, VT including a horse drawn wagon ride; and Danbury, CT to drive by and briefly stop at 23 King Street, the former residence of Laura’s daughter, Rose Wilder Lane.”

I was going to go out for this event anyway and I was delighted when I found out about this bus trip. I think it will be a great way to see Malone for the first time. Please come join us. You can e-mail me or contact the museum directly for more information.

Sarah Uthoff

Website Update and Photo of the Fortnight

I just uploaded my first major revision of the website. I’ve added five new pages. The one I’m most excited about is Photo of the Fortnight. Every two weeks I’m going to put up a new photo from my collection. I hope you enjoy it. First up is a shot of Rocky Ridge Farmhouse from a different angle (most photos show it from the front). I’m really excited about this feature and I hope you enjoy it. I chose to put it in as PDF, but you can find the new link every two weeks right here on the Photo of the Fortnight webpage.

Sarah Uthoff