Underground Kansas Salt Mine

On our way to my cousins wedding, we stopped at an underground salt mine in Kansas.  I had read about it on OMSH blog when they took a road trip, and added it to our list of “must do’s.”

You have to wear a hard hat and take a small breathing apparatus should you get stuck down there!  AND you have to ride an elevator down to the shaft…not for the claustrophobic person!  Once you get down to the mine, you are on your own to walk around and read the information.

There are a number of hands on things to touch and look at.

This part of the mine has been set up as a museum, but there is another part that is still in operation.  Because the mine is deep, and it salt, it sits at 68F degrees year round, and there is no humidity in the mine.  This makes it great for preserving items including trash!

We opted to take the train through a part where they explained more about the mining process.  It is very interesting!

Especially when we got to the “toilet” area!

As mentioned, this is a great place to preserve items, so there are a number of movie reels, costumes, and other important documents and artifacts preserved down in the mine.

We were able to take some mined salt.

I would love to take my Girl Scouts here someday…they offer a scout night.

Little House on the Prairie

The only vacation we took this summer was a short trip up to Kansas for my cousin’s wedding. We left early Thursday morning (like 4am) and drove all day. I say we…but really Wade drove so I could work. Our plan was to stop in Independence, Kansas and then head over to Wichita. They are not near each other but we promised the girls we would go see the “real” little house on the prairie.

I had plugged in the address into the GPS in the morning and did not think twice about it, until we got to our destination and there were nothing but fields. 🙁 After driving around for about 30 minutes and arguing whether or not the place existed (even though I was looking at their website!), I called.  The lady that answered could not figure out where we were but mentioned they were closing early so we had better hurry.

It was around 4pm. The website said they closed at 5pm, but the lady told us she was closing at 4:30 so she could go deposit payroll at the bank. We had approximately 30 minutes to find out where we were and then find the museum. All of this after driving for 12 hours straight JUST to see this house. Wade was NOT happy and the lady at the museum really did not care that we just drove through 3 states to get there.

We arrived at 4:27pm. She had already closed up the shop and told us to start with the far house because that is the one she locks first. She literally followed us through each small building and locked behind us.


(I only took iPhone pictures for this one.)

Contracted Datana

I went out to the front one evening to look at the clouds as a storm as blowing in.  As I was walking back up the path to front door, I could hear this weird crunching noise, like something chewing.  I walked over to one of our two trees in the yard and noticed that 2 big branches were just skeletons!  The leaves were all gone!

I ran in and got Wade so he could take a look and grabbed my iPad to look up what they were. They are Contracted Datana and apparently they just eat until they are finished and then move on to another tree. There was no suggestion on what to do, so Wade cut the branches that contained the worms (they were in giant clusters!), and we put them in a bucket of scalding water with a drop of dish soap (to remove the surface tension). They all drowned.

A month later and they still have not returned.

The Best Pickles EVER

Yes, these are the best pickles EVER!  Not because we made them, but because the recipe is the best one I have ever tried.  And of course the best pickles come from home-grown cucumbers.  For the first time in my garden, I was able to grow perfect cucumbers!  I planted them by the trellis thinking they would climb…and boy, did they ever!

The one problem that I have always had is powdery mildew. I can’t seem to keep it away. I found some organic spray that actually seemed to work fairly well, but if I missed a spraying, the leaves were covered again.

From the vines, I was able to get about 5 quarts of pickles before we went on vacation.

The recipe is as follows:

1qt jar
1 jalapeno
1″ wedge of onion
1 clove garlic
cucumbers (as many as will fit, cram them in there because they shrink)
1 teaspoon dill SEED
1 tablespoon canning salt

1/2c sugar
1/2c pickling vinegar
1c water
Mix until sugar dissolves. Microwave JUST until boiling (about 4 minutes). Pour over jar contents to the top and seal. Store in a cool dark place for 2 weeks.

***The original recipe from a friend said to put the brine in cold, then place in a hot water bath just until the pickle color changes (10-15 minutes).  I have not been successful doing it this way, as my pickles always get too soft.


About 2 years ago we decided to do away with AT&T Uverse (and just kept the internet). We replaced our land line with Vonage, which is VoIP. Having a newer house, all of the phone lines are actually cat 5 cabling. (Funny thing when we moved in…I complained that we did not have any traditional phone wiring. Duh.)

Since Vonage is done through the mail, I hooked it up like it said in the directions. I just plugged it into my router. Well…that limits the phone to 1 line. We have those expandable phones where only the base has to be plugged in, but we only have 3 additional ones and we have more placed we like to have a phone.

Not sure why now that I am typing this because in all reality, we use our cell phones for everything. But anyway…

About a year ago we had to have AT&T out for something and the guy was REALLY nice and told me how to hook up the Vonage box so i worked throughout the whole house. Another duh moment for me. I could have figured it out had I thought about it.

Basically you take the Vonage box, and hook it directly into the cable box for the house. After 2 years, I know have a working phone next to my bed again. 🙂