Marshall County’s Pioneers

Back in 1855, fifty or so pioneers made their way into what is now known as Marshall County, Kansas. Food was scarce, housing was non-existent. Each of them paid approximately $25 into a general fund for a determined amount of land and agreed to use the money to purchase a steam saw-mill. By 1857, they had their mill.

Daniel Caldwell Auld was one of those pioneers. Born in Pennsylvania, he was raised in Ohio by his Irish immigrant parents. He became the area’s first justice of the peace a year after his arrival in Kansas and his home also served as the second post office ever established in Marshall County. His son, William, took over as postmaster when Daniel Auld joined the army. A staunch union man, he fought many battles in the Civil War and returned home to serve in the legislature and help Kansas become a state.

And here is where my ignorance of pioneer statehood comes to light: Kansans fought ardently to make theirs a “Free State”, the very opposite of the bloodthirsty pro-slavery agenda being carried out by Missourians just across the border.  It turns out Kansans had no intention of creating a Free State for blacks escaping or being released from their lives of brutal slavery in the South. What they really wanted was a Free State for free white people who saw no good in getting politically involved in the slavery issue.

This changes my original feelings for Mr. Daniel Auld, who I spent a week or so believing was an do-gooder abolitionist, but I live a relatively comfortable life 150 years after the fact, so…I can’t judge. Besides, who’s to say back then that having no involvement in the slavery feud was just as bad as, or worse than, being pro-slavery? Was there a difference? Ah, questions for another day.

By now you may be wondering why in the world I’m rambling on about Kansas, the Auld family, and legislative issues from the 1860s. If it helps you at all, I am, too! My story about Marshall County, Kansas, wasn’t supposed to go in this direction but, as you may sometimes notice, I get excited about historical facts that nobody else cares about in the hopes that you will eventually care about them.

It all started with this book my husband purchased a few years ago for $10 at a local antique shop:

Vermillion KS 1866 school bond records

…which led me to me getting all weird about holding in my hands a record book that came to life a year after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination!  

Vermillion KS 1866 school bond records

Vermillion KS 1866 school bond records

The pages of this record book hold school board minutes beginning in 1866 and document who paid their school bonds on time, in full, and who still owed on a payment plan. Daniel’s son, William, was elected to be the Superintendent of the school district they were trying to create and signed off on many a paragraph closing the meetings and passing directions to others. The surnames Barrett, Raiden, Strong, and, of course, Auld are prominent (as were their families in local matters, I have come to learn).  I’m afraid to keep perusing through the book because the fragile pages are beginning to slip from their binding, so I tried my best to make mental notes and employ my usually useful photographic memory to retell what the majority of the pages really hold: recipes and oddly placed bits on how to survive pioneer life.

There are recipes for everything – I lost count of how many types of bread these people baked – and I am utterly confused by the recipe instructions, so Matt and I got a good laugh at the final step for a lot of them, which is to “toss it into the quick oven”. What does that even mean? I need temperatures and measurements to work with, times for which to let the breads bake, and where does one even find lard these days?

Household tips include burning brown sugar bits on charcoals inside your room (“room” was underlined emphatically!!!!!!) to ward off mosquitoes. And if your child is suffering from croup, tie a handkerchief tightly around his neck (but not too tightly) after soaking the cloth in various “vapors”. Uh…what?

And here’s another gem found on a page explaining how to remove stains from one’s silk square pieces (handkerchiefs?) – a tip to treat cholera (is the acid phosphate sold in the same place I can find lard?).

Vermillion KS 1866 school bond records

Matt and I decided to donate the record book to Marshall County’s Historical Society, a small volunteer-run organization that is only open for phone calls three hours a day. I got so excited that I called early and left a message. A nice woman named Ms. Skinner called me back while I was making dinner, long after the three hour window had closed. When I told her the book was from 1866 and rattled off some of the names listed inside, she sounded genuinely shocked and said, “1866? That was before anything!” She took our names to give us credit for the donation and told me to ship it to her at my convenience.

I thought a little this morning about the name Skinner, because it didn’t show up in the record book at all. Marshall County, Kansas, is home to a tiny population of 10,000 and it’s unlikely (according to my amateur observations) that someone would live there unless they had always lived there, at least in the family name. If I am correct, which I think I am, Ms. Skinner is somehow related to one half of the publishing firm Brice & Skinner who distributed a local weekly called the Blue Rapids Times. The paper made its debut in July of 1871 and still runs today.

Maybe Matt and I will be mentioned in it!

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The Oklahoma Standard

There is very little left to be said that hasn’t already been said. It all comes down to perspective from this point forward. By now, everyone knows what happened and everyone knows that my family and I are safe. In terms of natural disasters, the EF5 tornado that tore through Moore, Oklahoma was the absolute closest I’ve ever been to that kind of death and destruction. However, in terms of tornadoes, it was nowhere near me. There are 18 miles between my house and the Warren Theater. For the first time in my life, the horrifying images I’m still seeing on my television are literally just down the road from me.

I am now able to compare the absolute fear that takes over when one is about to face the eye of a hurricane and when one is about to take cover from a possible tornado. They are the same yet completely different. You have days to prepare in both situations, but here in Oklahoma, you have mere moments to react. The meteorologists in this part of the country warned us ahead of time that the weekend’s weather, leading into Monday, would be volatile. Saturday I learned of heat bursts as we buckled down for 80 mph winds that never came. Sunday I had my first taste of a non-drill tornado warning and watched Carney and Shawnee get ripped apart on live television. By Monday, I was in go-mode.

The hail started falling around 2:30 and the sirens started wailing shortly after and my husband sent me text messages from his downtown highrise office telling me to get the dogs into the basement. It was absolutely confusing when the meteorologists warned of a tornado dropping on the ground in Newcastle but they continued to talk on the television about a storm near Bethany and Warr Acres, the area in which we live. My husband wasn’t aware that the sirens sounding here at home had already warned me to head underground. He took photographs from his office window of a storm system dropping what initially looked like a funnel cloud closing in over our neighborhood but turned out to be two major storm systems converging.

over Bethany

over Bethany

He took a few other shots of a massive storm just to the south of downtown Oklahoma City, the one that had just dropped a twister down onto Newcastle, west of Moore. The photographs below show a ground-to-sky tower of rain and a huge wall of blackened clouds. Deep within its core is the EF5, slowly making its way into the city of Moore.

rain-wrapped Moore tornado

tail-end of Moore tornado

I eventually came out from the basement and left to pick up my daughter from school where, she tells me, she sheltered-in-place with her classmates and helped to calm down a terrified fifth-grader by explaining to him the Spiderman was stopping the tornado. We (me, the kiddo, and three confused dogs) immediately rushed down into the basement once more when the wailing sirens sounded for the last time on Monday and I think I’ve been in a kind of mild shock ever since. My daughter, it seems, is doing just fine. Now we get to carve a notch in our proverbial belts and claim to be somewhat experienced. I’m grateful to those who have proclaimed my official status now as an Oklahoman, seeing as I still feel somewhat like a stranger in a strange land.

If I could take the intensity of a hurricane and compact it into a mile-wide vortex and then combine it with all the anxiety and fear of an impending two-day tropical cyclone crammed into a span of five minutes, that is my best description of what it is like to face a potential tornado. And I wasn’t even there. I’m here, safely tucked away in Northwest Oklahoma City where I can’t even see the destruction unless I turn on my television. And it’s the only thing that is on my television. Of course, there is the schnauzer that was rescued on live TV directly behind his owner who, at that very moment, was mourning the loss of her pet and there are snapshots of teachers carrying their injured young students to safety. I get it – this hope thing – but, truth be told, I can’t stop weeping over Plaza Towers. If only this had happened next week, those kids would not have even been in school… or Why don’t Oklahoma’s schools pull half-days during severe weather alerts, like we do in Florida?…

I have to stop thinking those thoughts. It’s done. The Universe doesn’t make sense sometimes and, quite frankly, I’m still pissed off at her. We all grieve differently, I suppose.

There have been earlier posts in which I’ve entertained my East Coast friends with certain vocabulary that is known only to this part of the country (mesocyclone, fruit salad hail, suction spots). One of my new favorites is this one: the Oklahoma Standard

“There has been a lot of talk about the ‘Oklahoma Standard’ of dealing with disasters, and this community is responsible for setting that standard. We knew all along what kind of people we served and have always been proud to serve them. Now, the rest of the nation and the world know they are the best.”

Oklahomans are no strangers to disaster given that the above quote was born from the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995. But in many instances, before and after the bombing, pieces of Oklahoma have been blown down by the big, bad wolf time and time again and, you know what? She has rebuilt time and time again. So why do people live there? I, too, asked myself this very question just over a year ago.

Here is my answer: there is no safe space. In the world. Anywhere. My home in Michigan was constantly under the threat of wildfires, suburban DC was and still is teeming with violent crime, and Florida…well, you’ve all had your say about why people continue to live in Florida. Hurricanes and sinkholes and coastal erosion galore! But it is home for many people, as it was for me for 16 years, just as Oklahoma is home for so many others.

And, for now, Oklahoma is home to me.

ok heart

Hey, Girl: History, Ryan Gosling, and a ton of book recommendations

The three of us went out to eat a few nights ago and my daughter was playing a game called Plague, Inc. on Matt’s iPhone. Elle wanted me to help her choose symptoms, just a few things to support the launch of her virtual pestilence that she and my husband so heartwarmingly named Mother. We discussed joint pain, fever, vomiting, jaundice, and even tossed around the idea of a painful rash. When Matt ordered his dinner, I mistakenly thought I heard him say “barbecue” so I immediately, and very excitedly, went off on a tangent explaining the 1868 Yellow Fever outbreak in Memphis and its likely contribution to the city’s deep African-American roots. Think about it: were it not for that pesky epidemic, we might not have ever heard of rock n’ roll, B.B. King, or barbecued pork.

Matt and Elle both called me a nerd and never before had I felt so sure about my future career plans in public history.

C.S. Lewis once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” This, whatever this is, is not another goal nor is it a new dream. It is simply a more refined goal or, if you prefer to be all woo-woo about these sorts of things, an old dream with much better direction.

Also, Ryan Gosling can Hey, girl me any day of the week.

Some fascinating reads on diseases:

Some good reading material on American history and why public history is important:

This post went off the rails about ten links back, but I love to share a good read with anyone who is interested. I am also thrilled to receive new book recommendations so feel free to fire away.

At times, I feel disconnected from the parts of the country that I really love to learn about – Oklahoma is rich in Native American history, obviously, but I’m more of a Civil Rights and Civil War kind of girl. If you know of any war monuments, landmarks, or related places of interest here in the middle of the country, please share.

 

The Village of Castleton

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It tends to be very hot this time of year in Oklahoma, which is evident today as the mercury is set to climb to 91 degrees. This past weekend, on the other hand, was sunny, gorgeous, and unexpectedly comfortable. We spent most of Saturday at the Oklahoma Renaissance Festival, about a half hour from our cabin at Greenleaf, where we wandered the Castle grounds with gypsies, jesters, knights, and the occasional child butterfly fairy. I bought a colorful skirt from an adorable orange-haired pixie and an Italian peasant girl made me one of the most delicious iced caramel lattes I’ve ever had.

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Even Elle admitted to having the best weekend ever. She got to dress up as a gypsy and wear a bright-colored skirt. She played with a bow and arrows, saw her first jousting competition, and walked through a torture chamber museum. Here she is getting her first henna tattoo:

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The great thing about these Renaissance Festivals is that much of what the vendors sell is handmade, or at least produced by small companies that specialize in Renaissance pieces. There were merchants selling plague masks, leather-bound books, hand-carved walking sticks, and even giant wind chimes that sound like church bells, which we ended up coming home with. In this little shop (or should I say shoppe?), I went a little nuts over this whimsical painting and the wooden Viking ship pencil holders (but stay tuned for more Vikings!):

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It’s been decided that, shall I ever have the opportunity to travel back in time, I would like to visit this era (but only after it has been introduced to proper sanitation).

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P.S. About those bells, click here.

Flight Between Questions

Plans for the summer are already in the works. There is no question that I’ll be returning to Florida for a few weeks, but I might try turning this 2-day drive into a less frantic rush to reach the North Florida coast. I am hoping to make some time with the kiddo to walk the Civil War battlefield in Vicksburg, Mississippi or to tour the USS Alabama battleship in Mobile Bay, which is the last thing to disappear in my rearview mirror as I cross over Escambia Bay into Florida.

I think the overdue appearance of spring here in Oklahoma has me already pining for summer in Florida. There is even a remote possibility of finally seeing Key West with my husband.

Vicksburg cannon

Mississippi River and Civil War cannon in Vicksburg, MS

I like having a plan, as I’ve mentioned before. My astrological sign accuses me of being indecisive and a website I recently came across calls my Libran indecisiveness legendary. I won’t argue with either of those statements although I wish there were more emphasis on the Libran’s ability to commit to that hard-to-come-to final decision. Happily, I have made a decision for myself and it will have everything to do with what happens next year as far as deciding whether I will continue on with my education or rest for a while and enjoy life without research projects for once.

Or research projects in the academic sense, I should say, because I’ve decided to volunteer at the Oklahoma History Center. This opportunity will teach me a variety of skills such as preservation, genealogical research, and cataloguing as well as help me to become more familiar with specific exhibits and, ultimately, Oklahoma itself. As much as I get exhausted by the socializing required of me when my husband and I host weekend gatherings at our house (one Sunday after our hot tub party, I barely moved out of bed for the entire day and thought I might have caught the flu – nah, I was just tired and I’d been sober the day before!), I really do enjoy being in front of a crowd of people, even kids, and sharing knowledge. This experience will give me that knowledge to share. I’m a history nerd and I want to get others excited about it, too.

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(Case in point: I had my daughter watch the Capital Cities video for Safe & Sound and explained to her the evolution of dancing and how it corresponds to the video’s scenes of war. She immediately went off to Google the Hindenburg disaster and learn more about the A-bomb. Mission accomplished.)

It feels good to have a plan, to have some kind of direction, even if it seems vague to everyone else. Sarah Vowell even wrote in Take the Canolli: Stories From the New World, “There comes a time halfway through any halfway decent liberal arts major’s college career when she no longer has any idea what she believes. She flies violently through air polluted by conflicting ideas and theories, never stopping at one system of thought long enough to feel at home.”

Sarah (I once had a dream that I picked her up in my neighborhood where she was hitchhiking so, in my head, we’re now on a first name basis with each other) closes this thought by adding, “Until I figured out that the flight between questions is itself a workable system, I craved answers, rules.”

It hits me as rather strange that it’s taken me this long to figure that out. Thanks, Sarah.

Loud City, Quiet City

Last night, after a delicious pizza dinner at Upper Crust surrounded by Chesapeake’s holiday lights (I wish I had taken pictures of those!), we all headed downtown to watch the Oklahoma City Thunder take down the Dallas Mavericks in a very exciting overtime win. I had read the articles and heard all about the Thunder Love in this city, about how Kevin Durant is the nicest guy in the league, and that Oklahoma City puts most other NBA cities to shame with their team support, but none of that could have prepared me for the sheer energy I felt in that arena.

One of the things I miss most about home is the connection I have with my community and my neighbors, that thread that ties me to others and makes me feel like I’m a part of something bigger. The Oklahoma City Thunder has filled that gap, people. Sitting way up there in Loud City, I was cheering and hollering with tens of thousands of like-minded Thunder fans and I can’t wait to go do it again.

After the game, the three of us walked the longer, more scenic route to our parked car and enjoyed some of downtown Oklahoma City’s festive holiday lights. I have no idea where we were exactly, but I have learned to use the Devon Tower, the tallest building in Oklahoma, as a land-based North Star of sorts, as it can even be seen from miles outside of the city.

In this quiet, peaceful park at night, somewhere between the Devon Tower and the Crystal Bridge, we talked about how great the evening had been and watched a bunny scamper across the snow-covered grass as it was being chased by a small stray cat. Elle finally got to take part in her very first snowball fight.

Devon Tower

Crystal Bridge

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downtown OKC

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Crystal Bridge

Perspectives and the Moons, Part Two

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Because I only have a limited time with this particular book, Earthtime Moontime by Annette Hinshaw, I know that I am rushing through it and focusing on the pages that relate directly to me. I hate to say it, but amidst final research papers and an upcoming trip to Dallas, I probably won’t have time to study the other pages as intently so I feel even more pressure to at least get something useful out of it before it’s due back at the library.

Only from a different perspective can we reach toward removing some of the invisible limits with which we bind ourselves. Putting ourselves inside the skin of another culture can open up our personal possibilities.

~ Annette Hinshaw

**********

If you were born between August 29 through November 26, some or all of this may apply to you.

I was born under the Harvest Moon and just before the Sorting Moon. If we’re talking horoscopes, I am a Libra.  My tarot card (Justice) tells me I believe in karma. Oh, do I ever.

All of this ties together in a neat little package. It’s so simple, but complex at the same time.  For now, I will write only about my moons.

My Harvest Moon tells me that I was born with four primary energies: gathering, ending, responsibility, and fulfillment. Each of them has everything to do with my sense of accomplishment. Gathering reflects my ability to accept praise or criticism, from myself or from others. Ending means that I have a difficult time coming to terms, not only with what I have, but also with what I don’t have. Responsibility highlights how I accept that things are what they are, favorable or not. Fulfillment highlights my ability to gain for myself what I may be jealous of others for already having. And, of course, there are contradicting energies that come from the Seed Moon, my Harvest Moon’s lunar opposite, the impatient part of my personality that also fears failure and running out of time.

Harvest Moon babies are strong believers in self-accountability. We also have a hard time bringing relationships to a proper closure. However, we know when to move forward and we know when to quit. Our lives are spent constantly questioning justice, believing that we get what we earn and pitying those who get more than their fair share. Again, there’s that karma. It’s a karmic kind of justice that we believe in so strongly.

My six Sorting Moon energies are all about choice (again, refer back to the self-accountability factor of Harvest Moon babies): discrimination, choice, analysis, specialization, free will, and order. Oh, do I ever love me some order.

“The Sorting Moon is about decisions and how we make them, free will and how we use it.” Sorting Moon babies collect and categorize outcomes from every other decision we have ever made (no matter how great or small) and determine how our choices affected us or others, good and bad. This wisdom helps us to recognize that we still (and always will) have a choice in how we shape our own lives, no matter what kind of decision we must make. Not all decisions are pleasant, but by accepting our own accountability (I’m such a Harvest Moon baby), we express our gained freedom by making a choice, any choice.

(My Libra brain does cause me to shut down when given too many choices, though. Keep that in mind when dealing with most people born in October, FYI. This also rings true for those born under the Sorting Moon as details tend to overwhelm us and cause procrastination, which is still considered to be a choice. Interesting…)

Sorting Moon babies have a “special talent” for analysis and evaluation. In more realistic terms, we are good at dissecting the fun out of nearly everything with our constant nitpicking and categorizing. We also see the hopeful bits of humanity, too, and this explains why sometimes decisions are difficult to act upon. We sit “on the fence” for longer periods of time. Notice, though, that when a choice has finally been made that the commitment to follow through is propelled by our loyalty to the choice. And intuition. Sorting Moon babies go from the gut sometimes but are very good at helping others focus on what details are more important than others. It seems easier for us to do this for other people than for ourselves, though.

Sadly, that isn’t explained at all. Maybe that has something to do with Scorpios, whom I’ve never really read much about. Also, the Sorting Moon’s lunar opposite is the Mating Moon. Those people tend to thrive in groups, in the kinds of activities that center around community and uniting with others to fulfill the needs of a group.  Sorting Moon people celebrate the individual. That doesn’t mean just ourselves, but other individuals as their own people. This is apparently our way of validating the choices we’ve made to assure ourselves (and each other) that we can continue to make good choices. And that is our contribution to the group, to society at large.

I have a difficult time believing I am a full-on Harvest Moon baby, because so much of the Sorting Moon seems to rule my life. But perhaps that’s the balance I must strike – learning how to feel comfortable as both, because it’s perfectly okay to do that. That’s the biggest Harvest Moon challenge, I think, is that ability to live in both worlds, under both moons, and accept it.

Thanks, Harvest Moon and Sorting Moon. There’s one less decision I have to make.

Grace in Small Things: #6

Elle's first place photograph

Elle and Andrew Afuko

  1. That my child’s confidence has hopefully been boosted by her first-place win in a local student juried art show. (That’s the winning photo, top, and her with the organizer of the Red Dirt Artists & Gallery show, Andrew Akufo, bottom.)
  2. Spending a Thanksgiving luncheon with Elle at her school and meeting her classmates (even the ones that give her a hard time – we know who you are now! Just kidding…kind of).
  3. This year, Elle had a dad to visit her for lunch at school.
  4. Sharing a Friday night dinner with new friends and their kids.
  5. Reading through six chapters of a book for the pure fun of it in one sitting (college textbooks were hidden away all week). My eyes exploded but it was worth it.

Visit Grace in Small Things

A Partial Hometown Tour of Jacksonville (Gangnam Style)

A few comments about this video:

00:14 – That’s the Jacksonville Beach Pier. After two of its wood-built predecessors (the original and the replacement pier) were either destroyed or heavily damaged by a few different hurricanes and tropical storms (Floyd, Fay, and Bonnie), the city finally decided to build one with concrete pillars.

00:22 – Everbank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

00:47 – Matt and I had our first date here at River City Brewing Company and dinner with my friends and family when we celebrated getting married. That’s the Main Street Bridge in the background where we also walked on our first date. Dawww, sentimentality.

01:11 – I have a bone to pick with this shot. Never in all my attempts to drive through the St. Johns Town Center have I seen such clearer traffic and better behaved drivers. It’s not about the cop, either. Town Center drivers are usually assholes. I’m impressed by whatever power has been yielded over these Town Center shoppers. Truly, truly impressed.

02:32 – Friendship Fountain was finally cleaned up (thanks, city tax dollars!) and it’s beautiful at night. The fountain changes colors and music plays around the park with the Main Street Bridge lit up in the background. It’s where we held an impromptu photo shoot with our aforementioned wedding celebration peeps. The photos didn’t come out very well though, because unfortunately nobody who attended our dinner was a photographer or even knew how to take photographs at night. Ooops. But here’s my best attempt at such a picture:

downtown Jacksonville, Friendship Fountain

Friendship Fountain & Main Street Bridge

02:51 & final scene – Shahid Khan, owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, is the guy wearing the white shirt and that awesome ‘stache! He’s a Pakistani-born American businessman, not a terrorist as some bigots originally tried to have us all to believe. There are more Arabs in Jacksonville than most people probably realize so I think it’s time America just got the f*** over the whole “all Arabs are terrorists” thing.

I’m not sure when I’ll be going back to Jacksonville (important decisions are being made on November 6th and I’m not talking about the election, folks!), but it’ll be my first time back since July. Although it doesn’t look like much has changed, except the Jaguars are actually losing more games this NFL season, I am so eager to return! Oh, but gaaawwwd the drive…

Mayport shrimp? Fernandina Beach’s salty air? Tangerines from our backyard citrus trees? YES, PLEASE. Also, I’ve made a deal with my mother in which she will send me as much citrus as possible (grapefruits, valencias, and tangerines) in return for the pecans that are raining down from our Oklahoma backyard’s trees.

Butter Makes it Better – Part One: Sweet Potatoes

My last dollar had been spent at the OSU-OKC Farmers’ Market on Portland Avenue* and all that was left to do was wait out a really nasty thunderstorm. I poked around a bit at some eggplant I couldn’t afford when a really nice gentleman, the eggplant farmer himself, told me he would take an i.o.u. from me if I really wanted one. I declined and told him I was just learning how to cook real food (as opposed to desserts and other baked goods) and I needed some advice on where I went wrong with my eggplant last time. After I told him what I’d done, he couldn’t figure it out either and only offered, “Oh, next time just cook it longer!”

Okay, sounds easy enough.

As the storm bore down on us, the farmer and I both lamented over the passing of the okra-growing season. Here is when the farmer tried to turn me on to sweet potatoes. I reminded him that I am only learning how to cook but I that did have some sweet potatoes at home, so I asked him how he likes to eat his sweet potatoes. His description and directions were so simple, but my mouth watered at the thought of eating his favorite sweet potato dish that his wife makes for him.

So here’s to you, my new farmer friend. You helped make our Sunday dinner ridiculously tasty.

sautèed sweet potatoes

Sautèed Sweet Potatoes (for two)

olive oil
1 large sweet potato
2 tablespoons of butter
3 tablespoons of brown sugar

Thinly slice the sweet potato and sauté in olive oil first, gradually adding the butter. Add the brown sugar in one tablespoon at a time over the course of a few minutes. Remove from heat as soon as the edges of the sweet potatoes start to curl and get a burned look to them, probably around 6-8 minutes. (They’re not burned, they’re candied.)

Also, I’m totally guessing at the butter & brown sugar measurements but those are approximate based on my tastes (you may wish to use more or less on the brown sugar, but the butter seems mostly correct-ish).

sautèed sweet potatoes

*I was especially excited to go to the Farmers’ Market this weekend to meet Paula’s folks (they are vendors at the market and are there every weekend – I’ve been walking past them nearly every weekend for four months and didn’t realize it!). Paula blogs over at Stuff I Tell My Sister and was one of the first Oklahoma bloggers to welcome me to my new home here in Oklahoma City (she’s located in Tulsa). We have yet to meet in person, but it means so much that her parents were even eager to meet me. I had a really good time talking to them both and can’t wait to see them again to ask about her father’s Air Force career (yep, he was stationed at the base where I was born – go figure!). Thank you, Paula, and tell your parents hello from me!