O Pioneers!

Brent and my niece MaKaila outside of Pioneer Village

This is not a post about Willa Cather…that will come later. This post is about a trip to Pioneer Village  in Minden, Nebraska, a place meant to capture pioneer life but has also managed to capture the 1950’s….. as that seems to be the last time this place was updated.  There was a sign talking about how travel has changed so much comparing it to the cars and trains of the 1950’s.  There were also signs in all the buildings that said “No Smoking” as if that weren’t a given.

No Smoking!

The first part of the museum was filled with old cars, buggies, and planes.  They even had one of three replicas in the U.S. of the Wright Brothers planes (of course that sign was from 1950 so it’s likely not true anymore).

Trains, planes and automobiles

Our brief stop in San Francisco

Once you got through the main building you walked out into this faux village.  You could walk in all the buildings and see what the sod houses were like, the general stores, blacksmith shop, etc.  There were lots of photo ops.

We made sure we played the old-timey stick and hoop game which someone had to tell us how to do because we were too dumb to figure it out.

Brent and I also renewed our vows while we were there….why not?  I was wearing a white dress afterall.

After the wedding, Brent got serviced 😉

After seeing a barn full of fake cows, a building full of collections (pens, salt and pepper shakers, etc), and some stuffed animals, we were all arrested.   I ‘m not sure what we did wrong but it was humiliating.

We stopped in the gift shop on our way out and picked up a little something for Edith. What 7 month old girl wouldn’t want a pencil sharpener shaped like a gun?

The Kearney trip concluded with a trip to Tex’s Cafe. It’s this little diner that has been around forever or so it seems.  I remember going there as a kid and it hasn’t changed a bit since then (except it is no longer filled with cigarette smoke–thankfully).  I had biscuits and gravy and they were delicious.



Before I dive into craning, I need to mention that Brent and I found this sweet abandoned barn on the way to craning. We were quickly chased out away by a scary man wearing a mask who was living in the dugout shown below.

We finally made our way to Kearney to check out the Sandhill Cranes.  I decided that when you go to watch the Sandhill Cranes it should be called “craning”.  Brent disagrees with me.  I lived in Kearney for 18 y ears and never went “craning” but as we drove down Interstate 80 I saw a ton of cranes just sitting in the cornfields.  This makes me believe that I have seen a crane or two in my day I just didn’t know it.  They sound like geese and look like big grey birds in the cornfields so I can understand how I never realized they were cranes.  On our way to officially go craning we stopped at Fort Kearney per Brent’s request.  I have visited this place many times as a child so I didn’t really care about going. The best part was sitting in the fort drinking a beer (from a Kearney Brewery–Thunderhead)…..as a child my favorite part was sitting in the fort eating my sack lunch so not much has changed.

When we made it to Fort Kearney (the state park) we walked down a long path to get to a bridge that crosses the Platte River.  At sundown all of the cranes land in the river for the night.  There were a lot of people making their way to the bridge it was like we were all escaping the zombie apocalypse or more appropriately making our way down the Oregon Trail.  I was expecting some sort of mind blowing experience watching the thousands of cranes come in for the night.  It was cool seeing them all come in from different parts of the sky but I can’t say that my mind was blown.  The weather was beautiful, the sunset was gorgeous and Brent and I really enjoyed our zombie walk. The experience made me realize how badly I need to get a fancier camera.



Finally, here you can see proof of the cranes:

And proof of the zombies:


It’s not just corn!

I was recently able to tour a couple of Nebraska farms through a Farm to School Retreat and Farm Tour hosted by my current job.  Nebraska is an agriculture state and most people think  of corn when they think of Nebraska…we are the “Cornhusker State” after all.  However, Nebraska is home to many small farms and ranches like Common Good Farm and Robinette Farms that grow all sorts of fruits and veggies, as well as raise chickens, pigs, and cattle.

A natural with the chickens

We started off at Common Good Farm where they told us about biodynamic farming and their Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. They had the cutest little corgi that demanded everyone’s attention.

Confident Corgi

Robinette Farms was beautiful. It was nestled on an original farmstead where the old buildings and farm equipment was still around, just waiting for someone to use it.  Luckily, two young farmers came along.  The old house is still standing and they let their summer interns live there.  Their pigs live in the woods, and their chickens wander the grounds.  It seemed like it was taken right out of the Wizard of Oz or something.


It was a gorgeous day. The sun was hot and the wind was gusty.  It was a perfect March day in Nebraska.  At the end of the day I smelled like sunshine and dirt.  I frequently dream of becoming a farmer.  Spending long days in the sun, working in the dirt often seems very appealing.  However, after hearing the stories of these wonderful people who grow our food, I don’t think I am cut out for it.  As much as I want to smell like sunshine and dirt everyday, I don’t think daily physical labor is something I am cut out for.   I guess I will just have to continue as a happy gardener instead…and maybe get some backyard chickens!

On that farm he had some chickens

Happy 145th Birthday Nebraska!

Nebraska became a state on March 1st, 1867.  It was the 37th state in the nation.

We can thank the gold rush for becoming a state. Before that, Europeans just weren’t settling here.  According to Wikipedia, Nebraska is the 8th least-densely populated state and home to a lot of German and Czech-Americans.

Happy Birthday, Nebraska! Isn’t our state seal lovely?

Equality Before the Law