Thursday, December 29, 2011


Jasper was able to set traps with Grandpa with the hopes that he could make a coonskin cap. The next rainy, muddy, and cold day yielded 3 coon. They were skinned and now someone needs to tan them. Supposedly it takes a very patient person.

Prine One-Room School House

"Prine School was a one-room school house situated just west of Oskaloosa. It opened in 1861 and was named after Henry H. Prine, who donated the property for which the school was to be built. As Oskaloosa began consolidating its one-room school houses around its area in the 1950's and 1960's. The school was officially closed on May 20, 1966. About a year later, the school was moved to the Nelson Pioneer Farm, present site of the Mahaska Historical Society. The school was moved here to preserve the heritage and attitude of school during the middle and late 19th Century and into the 20th Century as well."
-Mahaska County Historical Society

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Daniel Nelson Barn

In 1856, Daniel hired A.J. Jewell to construct his barn. The whole barn went up without a nail, each piece locking into place with wooden pegs. A.J. Jewell also the man is the man that homesteaded the farm i grew up in. I hope to write more about him later.

Nelson Pioneer Farm

Three more children were born while they lived in the log cabin, James, John and Martha. In 1852, huge stones were brought up for the foundation. They were quarried from the nearby Skunk River, pulled by wagon ice and snow. The bricks were kilned on the farm, made from native clay from the creek. Most of the wood was cut from timber on the home land and prepared by the Nelson's own saw mill.
After moving into the brick home, another child was born, Sarah. At the age of seven, Sarah came down with chicken pox. Some of the pox settled in her eyes and she was blind for the rest of her life. She attended Vinton School for the Blind, the same school that Mary Ingalls attended.

Littler Log Cabin

Daniel and Margaret Nelson moved from Ohio to Iowa in 1841. They settled in Fairfield and had their first child William. In 1844, they decided to follow Daniels's Uncle to Oskaloosa, but they lost their way and wintered in an abandoned wickiup near Eddyville. It is here that their daughter Barbara was born. She is thought to be the first white child born in Mahaska county. When weather allowed, they homesteaded 230 acres outside of Oskaloosa and promptly built a log cabin. Eventually, this cabin was replaced with a cabin built by Benjamin Littler, which was moved from Bussey.

Bloomfield Cemetery

In this period of transition and travel, the kids and I have explored many cemeteries. This is the one by my parents' farm and where my Mom wants to be buried (under a tree, of course). After a nice afternoon hike, we stopped by for the incredible sunset.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

We Are Moving

Bittersweet for us, but we are excited. I will post more later...

Assumption Abbey

Turtle On Moss

Girl On Moss

Bryant Creek

My friend and I have wanted to spend time at Assumption Abbey for quite a while.
But the extra effort it requires to get down there has prevented us from doing so. I think it took 4 hours and then some. Of course the drive was lovely, with good conversation and Ozark sunshine.
This Cistercian/Trappist monastery is located outside of Ava in south central Missouri on a large amount of donated land. Brother Francis said it was 5,000+ acres, but the pamphlet said 3,400. Either way, it is a gigantic piece of land with plenty of trails and creeks. I was disappointed there wasn't a map available.

The first ten years, the monks tried farming, an orchard, and vineyards to support themselves. Then they utilized the resources from the land to make concrete blocks. These blocks were also used to build the current monastery in 1970. One of the monks was injured while working at the block plant. While he was in the hospital, he fell in love with a nurse and left the monastery. Then they decided to quit block making and began to make fruitcakes. This is their current means of support.

Others living here include a group of nuns on the western edge, Franciscan monks on the north, and 2 hermits.Apparently, the Franciscans lease their space for a basket of fresh trout and $1.

I love the subtle beauty of the Ozarks Mountains. The smell of fall forest mixed with mist is incredible. We took our time leaving and ambled around down by the creek. It was a soothing end to a wonderful weekend. We left when a half-dressed man with an unleashed pit-bull and a gun pulled up.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011

Figure Skater

Avery Lion

Harry Potter

Tullaia Witch

Denise Bee

Friday, October 21, 2011

Big Spring 2011

We met some Classical Conversations friends for a boat ride and gravel bar exploration. They have riverfront property just a little ways upstream and happened to be down the same weekend.

Prairie Ring-Neck

Chubb Hollow Trail
The spring comes out on the left hand side of the picture and flows into the Current River. This trail follows the river and then goes up the bluff for wonderful views.

The cabins and lodge were built in the 1930's by the CCC and are on the National Historic Register.

Before and After 1

4 Years Later...