Kansas, Just At The Horizon

Last week, my family & I escaped the chill of Wisconsin for the relative warmth of Middle America. My husband’s parents live in Southern Missouri and it was time for a visit, so we packed up our little car and on Saturday after my husband was done with work we headed out. As I may have mentioned here before, unlike most humans my husband doesn’t like to wait for morning to leave on trips. To him, vacation starts when you leave home so he likes to leave immediately. Door to door it’s roughly a 10hour drive, so by leaving at 5:30pm we were expecting to arrive in the vicinity of 3:30 in the morning. This, of course, is barring delays (like a gas station’s register not working for 15minutes which did happen this time around) and the distinct possibility that we’d be too tired to make it straight through and have to stop (which we didn’t). We pulled into their driveway at about 3:45 in the morning and went straight to bed.

The rest of the week was pretty full of quiet family down-time. We took a few hikes…

img_5766In some rather scenic places…

img_5725Including a new-to-use state park, Prairie State Park in Mindenmines, MO or about 5miles from the border with Kansas.

img_5732It’s not a huge park, but it has big views and will definitely fill the gap in your heart that longs for the prairie.

There was a fair bit of mud on the relatively warm day we were there which was kind of great because along with the free range bison in the park which we could easily see signs of other animals present.

img_5733Coyotes, the bison…

img_5734(quite a few of them, actually), deer, and another which we think was a fox.

img_5738I looked very hard to see one of the coyotes, but no luck.

After a good long hike and a drive around the park in which we saw more bluebrids than I’ve ever seen in one spot in my life and what might have been a short-eared owl — he flew off before we could ID him for sure and sadly, we couldn’t relocate him — we headed to a restaurant my hubby’s dad recommended…

img_5737Cooky’s Cafe in Golden City, MO. With a population of 756, don’t blink or you might miss Golden City and Cooky’s, too, but I will say after being out in the brisk prairie air all afternoon, the fried chicken was delicious. It was so delicious, in fact, that I didn’t even have room for their famous pie.

Most of our time, however, was just spent hanging out with an occasional super short hike in the area right around my in-law’s home, oftentimes including gratuitous views of red shouldered hawks. You know, family time as it should be — low-key, relaxed, and with an occasional treat.

I didn’t take my spinning wheel. I took my spindles along, but with two curious cats in my in-laws’ house I didn’t take them out. I did knit up a sock…

 img_5813And then earlier this week I started the second. I’ve discovered that I’m a much faster sock knitter than I remember. It could be the fun yarn from Junkyarn speeding things along, too. I took notice of this dyer last year when for reasons out in the world I was feeling the desire to go out of my way to celebrate strong women. With the tagline, ‘Hand dyed yarn inspired by women’ — each colorway from Junkyarn is inspired by and named for a woman. This one is named ‘Rey’ after the leading lady in Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I love the colors, the character, and I adore that it reminds me of my kiddos with whom I went to the theater (a big deal in our house) to see the movie. I’m not sure if these will go into my regular sock rotation or my stockpile for the future, but I do know that I think they are utterly fantastic.

I also started and finished a shawl in the last week.

img_5812This is Prairie Skies and I knit it in the handspun I spun during our vacation at the end of last year to Door County. I meant to weave in ends and give it a spa day yesterday, but ran out of time. Hopefully that’ll be done by the end of the weekend because I am 1,000,000% in love with it.

And because my wheel had been empty and still since before we left on that Saturday evening…

img_5808A new spin was in order last night. This is Three Waters Farm Radicchio on Polwarth + Silk. There is some in the shop here on a BFL base if you can’t live without the colorway. I’m hoping to knit up a version of Susan Ashcroft’s Winterplay hopefully before the month is out. I should be being more disciplined with the weight of the singles, but I really just need something relaxing right now so I just have it on the smallest whorl of my fast flyer and I’m going with it. It’ll be what it is and I think the colors will make it just fine no matter what.

Obviously, we’ve made it home since I mentioned I didn’t bring my wheel and I just showed you a photo of my wheel. It’s been a busy week of getting back into the swing of just being home — school, cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc. I’ll admit that I returned home inspired — whether it was the quiet family week or the humbling prairie views toward Kansas — to forge ahead with some simple pleasures to enrich our daily lives. Baking bread from scratch, both our signature french bread with our new demi-baguette pan, but also a long forgotten ‘Dakota Bread’ I made regularly until the kids came and I simply ran out of time and energy. I awoke Monday and whipped up a small batch of Blondies just because I had the ingredients and I’d never made a Blondie before. I was also reminded of a good granola recipe that I used to make. You see where I’m going here… Suffice to say, there is a small truckload of bulk ingredients headed my way shortly. I see a lot of kitchen spindling in my future to go with all this baking, don’t you?!

8 thoughts on “Kansas, Just At The Horizon”

  1. I have baked bread from scratch since we were first married and there’s just nothing like it. I succumbed to a bread machine some years back and just replaced mine at Christmas with a Zojirushi bread maker – OMG, is it wonderful. You’ve made me hungry!

    Love the spinning – always – and the socks and shawl are wonderful. WOW, you were a busy girl!

    1. My MIL has a Zojirushi and it’s AMAZING. Ours is a economic hand-me-down that my mom gave us after I killed my first one. I use the bread machine on the dough cycle and then I reshape the loaves and do the last rise in the pan of my choice. 🙂

  2. That Junkyarn yarn is gorgeous!! I’ll definitely have to check them out. And the park looked lovely too! There’s something so nice about being able to go and just exist in nature for a little bit.

    1. It’s so restorative. I definitely need the quiet and to just exist from time to time.

      And yes, check out Junkyarn! I find the easiest way to catch updates to be through following her on Instagram, so if you have it follow her — I believe her account is @wraybot

  3. That sounds like a wonderful vacation, except for the no spinning bit. I love the prairie park – it sounds a special place. And that lake was an amazing color! The knitting is looking good, of course, and the baking sounds equally so. 🙂 Glad to have you home, though, we all missed you.

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