Thursday, June 16, 2011

A Winner and Day Tripping (Part I)

Before I share the fun things I saw and did yesterday on my tour through Osage County, Missouri, I'm going to announce the lucky winner of Mary Horner's Book, Strengthen Your Nonfiction Writing.

The winner, who name was selected at random, is:

Val the Victorian

So, Val if you can drop me an e-mail with your mailing address, I will get Mary's book to you. I'm sorry that everyone who posted a comment couldn't win, but if you want to learn how you can order a copy of Mary's book, visit her WriteRteacheR blog.

Now, on to yesterday's day trip.For a few years now my sister Kathleen (in the photo at left) and I have been enjoying biannual day-long tours put on by the Osage County Agritourism Council and local banks. Yesterday's tour was co-sponsored by the Heritage Community Bank in Chamois, MO.

My connection to Osage County began 19 years ago when husband and I bought a "farm" in Osage County. Actually, it's our sometimes weekend getaway--89 acres on the fringe of the Ozarks, with rolling hills, open fields, and deep woods along the Gasconade River, just outside the village of Hope.

Yesterday's tour was probably the best Osage County visit my sister and I have ever been on, and well worth the two-hour drive (one way) from St. Peters to the Osage Community Center in Linn.

The day started off at 4:55 a.m., when Kathleen called to see if my power went out after the storms that rumbled through early, early morning. My power was OK, but hers wasn't. She had to take a shower with only a flashlight to see until the sun came up.Fortunately, by the time I picked her up at 5:45, her power was on, and the sun was up, with the promise of a beautiful day. The drive across the Missouri into the historic City of Hermann was lovely.

After arriving at the community center and getting our name tags, the first person we spoke with was Delores, a 70ish woman who just drove to town after planting beans and corn, which she guessed the river would take by the end of the summer. Delores, whose husband recently passed, got the crops planted late because of all the storms. During much of our trip we heard about the expected flooding of the Missouri, which flows along the northern border of Osage County.

Our first stop was Our Lady of Help Catholic Church, founded in Frankenstein in 1863 by German and Irish settlers. The parish of about 130 families is known for their picnic, with kettle beef and quilt auction, which this year brought in $23,000. The top-selling feed-sack quilt brought in $3,000. The second went for $2,700. The sunbonnet girls tea towels also sold for a good price.

Next, we drove to the Chamois Power Plant, which overlooks the Missouri River. We were told if it rains up North or West along the Missouri, they will get flooded, hopefully not as bad as in 1993. The coal for the power plant comes from Illinois and Wyoming. As research projects in the past they have also used walnut shells mixed with coal and corn cobs. The walnut shells worked, but the corn cobs--not so much. They now have an algae project going on in conjunction with Lincoln University out of Jeff City and Missouri State Science and Technology University out of Rolla.

Our next stop in Chamois was at the Old School House on the Hill Bed and Breakfast, where I chatted with Lila Mae and her son Ronald, who live up the road from our place. Our group toured the Old School, which has been converted into a B&B. After the tour, we had a wine tasting, courtesy of Stone Hill Winery in Hermann. Next we were served lunch of barbque pork steaks with all the trimings, topped off by home-made strawberry shortcake. From the hilltop we could see the Calloway County Nuclear Power Plant across the river.

Tomorrow I will post about the remainder of the tour, where we visited Sassafras Valley Farm, featuring Emden Geese, and the tour of Todd and Sharilyn McCane's magnificient Quail Hollow Ranch.


  1. Wow! I haven't been this excited since I won three Little Caesars coupons at a trivia contest!

    Thank you for the book, and for keeping us all updated on submission and contest opportunities.

    I think I might have been to Chamois a couple of times, back when I used to coach at Cuba High School.

  2. Donna--

    Val Thevictorian just emailed me. Unfortunately, she will not be able to get her book via the postal service---all the roads that go to her house are covered with fallen trees, so the mail trucks cannot deliver to that area.

    She said, "Sioux, tell Donna to give YOU the book, and you will make sure it gets to me."

    Really. I'm not kidding. Why don't you believe me?

    (On an unrelated note, your tour sounds like it was an interesting one.)

  3. Donna,
    I love day trips like this. Thanks for the mini tour. This weather has sure wreaked havoc.

  4. Hi Val,
    Congratulations again. I didn't know you were a teacher.

    Hi Sioux,
    Works for me. I didn't know you knew Val.
    The tour was great! I need to get away more often.

    Hi Linda,
    Yesterday was a lovely day, but the farmers aren't having a good year weatherwise. I'm praying for clear skies and good weather until the crops come in.


  5. Donna--I'm sorry I got the details wrong. Val's house has been flooded, and she doesn't want to get the book and have it get soggy and then moldy. She said that I should get the book, read it (because she cannot wait, and would like to hear about it right away), and then when the water level is down, I can get the book to her.

    On top of the flooding problem, apparently the locusts have taken over her house and made it their "headquarters." Yes, we all are under the impression that they're dead, they've mated and gone underground, but they're not totally gone. They have taken over Val's house (she has primo satellite reception and all 5 kinds of Cheez-Its at her home) and Val KNOWS she cannot read and enjoy a book right now with all the racket they're making...

    How about THAT story?

  6. Hi Sioux,
    Wow! You are creative.
    And with all the weather included in the story, you should submit it for the Joplin Storm Country anthology.

  7. Congrats to Val!

    Sounds like you had a great trip with your sister. What a blessing!

    Have a wonderful weekend! :)

  8. Reports of my meteorological catastrophes have been greatly exaggerated. A country gal never travels the backroads without a chainsaw. Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, nor beaver debris, nor a plague of locusts stays Val's mailman from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.

    Flooding will never be an issue at my house, because it sits on a hill so high that I routinely run through the grounds singing like Julie Andrews. Before her throat issue.

    No Cheez-Its shall ever cross my threshold, because I refuse to host any food made from a dairy product that is more mature than I am.

    The locusts are on the outside, looking in, mere shells of their former selves.

    I think there was a salesperson named Sioux who once tried to sell me the London Bridge over a span of swampland. She had a big stack of books in the back of her car.

  9. Hi Donna! Loved hearing all about your trip and look forward to part 2. And congrats to Val on winning Mary's book. are one Tall Tale Teller! (say that about 10 times...really fast!) And and Sioux could do an entire comedy routine together! You're both hilarious!!

  10. Hi Karen,
    Sisters are a blessing! Although I see only two of them regularly, I love all four of mine--and my two brothers, too.

    Hi Val,
    You are too funny. I love the Julie Andrews line. And next time I see Sioux I'm going to peek in the back of her car to see if she has any books that don't belong to her.

    Seriously. I think you and Sioux should do a stand-up act or co-write a short story. It would be a winner!

  11. Day trips are always fun and extra special to do with a sister. I spent last weekend with my 3 sisters at a wedding. Good times all around.

  12. Hi Becky,
    We must think alike and must've typed our comments at the same time.

  13. Hi Sally,
    The wedding with your sisters sounds like fun. A couple weeks ago I went with two of my sisters to see the movie Bridesmaids. Talk about funny!

  14. Donna--I see Kathleen has gorgeous hair just like you. You're both lucky to have hair that is naturally that beautiful color!

  15. I would gladly welcome any collaboration with, or friendly competition against, Sioux. Unless I'm too busy reading my new book, of course!

  16. Congratulations to Val Thevictorian. I hope you enjoy it! And Donna, thanks for sponsoring the contest, and thanks to everyone who is now a follower. I appreciate your interest in my book.

  17. Hi Mary and All my Visitors,

    THANK YOU ALL for visiting, leaving comments, and for many of you becoming followers on Mary's blog.

    You are the best!


  18. Your post makes me want to go and do something fun instead of cleaning house and running errands (the usual weekend routine). Blah!


  19. I enjoyed this post AND the entertaining comments. Thanks for sharing your trip and for helping to keep some great history alive.

  20. Hi Pat (K9Friend),
    I hear you about housework. There's no end to it.

    Hi Tammy,
    Thank you. If all goes well, I'm hoping to wrap it up on Monday.



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