Archive for August, 2007

070804 – Saturday – Kansas photos

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Here are some photos from Kansas. Most of these are from the trip we just completed but a few are from an earlier visit in 2005. If you hover your mouse over a photo before you click on it, you’ll get a description.

Kansas farm roadSharon at her father’s graveThe family at the St. Marys museumSharon as a little girlBrother Scott & mother DorothyFamily portrait with Sharon’s paintings on the wallSharon planting on the farmFarm buildingsSharon on the way to another plantingBart, Greg’s dogSharon at the shrineMom, Greg and SharonFarm buildingsThe 1880 Ronsse farm houseFarm house and out buildingsFarm buildingSharon and I with Kansas fields behind

070802 – Thursday – Kansas to Washington

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

We’ll be leaving in a few hours to journey back to Kansas City, then to Chicago and finally back to Seattle. We can only hope that all will go well with the airlines and our connections.

It’s been a busy and interesting couple of days. To say I’ve enjoyed my time with Sharon’s mother and brothers would be an understatement. They are a family I am very happy to have married into.

On Monday, we discussed the fact that there’s a perception that the taste of the well water on the farm has changed in the last year of two. On Tuesday, Sharon and I drove over to Manhattan, Kansas, to the health department there and got a small sterile bottle to put some of the water in for testing. We ended up seeing a lot of Manhattan before we found the place but I actually enjoyed driving around in a new town. Tuesday night, while everyone sat around, a conversation began about the history of the farm; when it was homesteaded, when parts of it were sold, whether or not the title was in Sharon’s mother’s name as it should be or in her father’s name (who passed away in 1986). There was also a question of whether or not they were paying property taxes on 40 acres when, in fact, the actual area was closer to 30.

That all piqued Sharon and my interests and so on Wednesday, we got up early in Topeka and drove to Westmoreland, Kansas, which is the county seat of Pottawatomie County and went to see the Deeds and Mapping folks there. What a pleasure it was dealing with professional folks in a small county. We had immediate access to the folks who could answer our questions and friendly service. Bonnie, in the Register of Deeds office and Brenda in the GIS office were both especially helpful and knowledgeable.

After an hour and a half, we knew everything we wanted to about the correctness of the current deed (it was right!), the property lines, when the property was home-steaded and a variety of other interesting facts and figures. It was a great treasure trove of stuff to take back to the family that evening.

We also stopped by the Health Department office in Manhattan again and dropped our bottle of well water off for testing. Sharon Wolff here was our contact person and wonderfully helpful and knowledgeable.

I’ve kidded Sharon several times about how easy driving in Kansas is. You just point the car, lock on the cruise-control and wait to arrive as you gaze at the passing scenery. Driving from Topeka and to Manhattan to Westmoreland and then back to St. Marys was like that. We also shared the inevitable jokes about the Flint Hills which Sharon claims are the mountain ranges of Kansas.

In the afternoon, we went to see Judy, Sharon’s childhood friend and her husband, and discussed their plans to travel soon to Belize. We also went out and Sharon looked at some of Judy’s trees which were having a problem. It was hot. 95F and 95% or more humidity. I suppose people get used to it but I was dying standing in the sun as they looked at the trees and discussed remedies.

Last night, we all looked over our loot from our trip up to Westmoreland and watched the TV reporting on the bridge disaster in Minneapolis. We all sat around together until late because we all realized that when Sharon and I left, we were not coming back for awhile. It felt poignant to me.

I took a number of photos yesterday and I’ll be posting them here when I’m at my computer at home tomorrow.

Ps. I joke about the Flint Hills of Kansas with my wife. But, the truth is, they are quite beautiful. A fellow from the Flint Hills area who runs a blog to promote tourism there wrote a comment and passed links to me to two articles about the area:

NY Times article:

National Geographic article:

Flint Hills Blog: