Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Train Has Arrived!!!

The long wait is over and the train has arrived! Manufacturer delays put us 60 days past schedule but it is good to finally tell our visitors that it is here. It will take afew days to work out the bugs but we hope that it will be up and running for the Celtic Festival this weekend. We will keep you posted on any new developments. Thank you for your patience!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Farewell to Three Friends

In the past few days, three familiar faces have left us for other opportunities. I suspect that they won't be total strangers and that we'll see them once in a while, but we wish them well on their journeys through life! David Winkler has been with us for several years as a volunteer. He worked as a Mountain Man for several years, and was so engaging to folks of all ages. He's terrific! David, thanks so much for all you've done. Jennifer Bailey was our Staff Programming Coordinator for over a year. She helped schedule staff and interpretive activities on all of our sites. She is friendly, energetic, and amazing! Jen, your service here is much appreciated! Best of luck at your new position! Olan Mikkelsen was our Large Group Coordinator and also a Mountain Man. He was known at the Mountain Man site for his fun stories and energetic, hands-on presentations. Large groups loved his care and enthusiasm. He has taken a wonderful career opportunity with the Veterans Administration. Thanks for the fantastic work you've done, Olan! You set a high standard! We will miss you all very much. Thanks for being our friends!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Recipe: Victorian Brown Bread Ice Cream

This is an unusual but delicious way for Victorian women (like pioneers) to use up that stale bread that didn't quite get eaten! Ingredients:
  • 3/4 C brown breadcrumbs
  • 2 C cream
  • 2 large eggs (separated)
  • 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
In a medium hot oven, bake/brown the breadcrumbs in a roasting tin for approx 10 to 15 mins, turning often. Mix 1 Cup of the cream along with the sugar and egg yolks and heat to 185°, stirring CONSTANTLY. The mixture should thicken up so it sticks to and coats the back of a wooden spoon. Let cool. When the mixture is cold, stir in the breadcrumbs, vanilla and rest of the cream and then transfer the complete mixture into an ice cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. However, just as it's starting to freeze whisk the egg whites until fluffy (stiff peaks) and fold into the ice cream mixture, then finish freezing. Yum!

The Ice Slough

Among the more interesting and unusual events that happened to pioneers while coming across the plains was the journey through/to the Ice Slough in Wyoming. It currently lies about 30 miles west of Casper. At the Ice Slough, pioneers could dig down through the turf to find a huge sleet of ice, even in the height of summer! They would break off chunks of ice and drink ice water--unusual even back east--make lemonade, make ice cream, and just enjoy the simple pleasure of being cool on the arid prairie in the summer. Can you imagine the delight that pioneers experienced? Long weeks of host, dusty trail walking (most pioneers walked, even if they had a wagon)--and suddenly ICE. What a treat! This was on the main trail for most pioneers headed West to Oregon, California, Utah, and other regions, so by the end of the summer, the Ice Slough showed much sign of digging, with turf piled up next to jagged holes. Nevertheless, there seemed to be plenty of ice to go around for the pioneers, even the later ones. ICE-SLOUGH ACTIVITIES Try these activities with your family or group! Icy Fingers Divide your family or group into TWO teams of equivalent size. You'll need a large block of ice for each team. At the start, a team member from each team should hold the block of ice as long as possible until they can't stand it any longer. They then pass the ice block to the next player. The first team to go through all players LOSES. Marble Toes Fill a tub or large bucket with ice water. There should be plenty of ice floating around in it! Toss a few dozen marbles in the ice water. Each player then reaches in with his or her toes to retrieve as many marbles as he or she can in an allotted time. The one with the most marbles wins!