February on the farm

One of the things we have really enjoyed is the herd of bison that is literally just outside our camper. The first picture has a corner of our picnic table so you can see it is perhaps 10-15 feet from us. They have a large field to graze in but come by to see us most every day and it has been fascinating to become more familiar with them. They have a long blue tongue that they continually seem to be licking their lips but are probably working the grass and oats around in their mouth. They seem to just meander, eating all the time, but on a few occasions (we haven’t figured out why) they have run up and down the fence line and then take their horns to dig a hole. One interesting fact – you can not tell if they are pregnant until a calf appears so that is always a special event!

Everything on the farm is done the way it would have been done 100 years ago – and that includes the slaughtering & processing of the meat. It is a very busy week on the farm as it has to be done in a timely manner which is not an easy task without power tools. It was ‘all hands on deck’ for this operation and we still had to greet and guide the visitors in each process. I snuck these few pictures as I don’t have a 1915 camera. We butchered an 850# hog and 1100# steer in a week, including stuffing 175 sausages, ham and bacon and then smoked. From the pig’s fat, fresh lard is made. The meat is put into large crocks and the lard is poured over it to preserve the meat for up to a year.

Do you remember our parents saying “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop”? Trust me, there are no idle hands on a farm as these two ‘city slickers’ have learned. There is always wood to be chopped, animals to be fed, eggs to be gathered and even when taking a break, a rag rug to be made.

The picture to the left was taken when we first arrived. Most, but not all, trees lost their leaves down here and everything was rather colorless. February seems to be bringing Spring. It has been an exceptionally warm winter with record-setting temperatures 25 days so far this year. They are predicting a good wildflower season but thus far, we haven’t seen a bluebonnet. The picture on the right represents the way the trees are now coming to life. I have always seen trees bud on all the branches but these trees develop clusters of green leaves while many branches remain bare.

March is Texas History Month. We gave tours today to about 100 school children and are bracing for spring break. We are told there will be 500-700 people a day – a busy way to finish our TX winter experience. Hope you have enjoyed the ride!

Month One Complete

1 Sauer Beckmann sign

The time is flying by – it’s hard to believe we have been here a month already. We have learned a ton and now able to share that with our guests here at the farm.  The weather is in the high 60s to lower 70s most days. We did get a lot of rain in January but none in the forecast. We want to see the blue bonnets before we leave so hoping for rain this month. Farm - crew

Here is a picture of everyone we work with in front of the house, Jim & I are on the left. There are other volunteers who work on the days we are off. Pretty neat period apparel wouldn’t you say?  The two guys in the center are park rangers and they are the ones who actually milk the cow each morning and bring it into the kitchen.

Remember – this is 1915 and we have no electricity or even an ice box so the milk sits on the counter for the day. It’s not homogenized or pasteurized so it is able to sit on the counter. State health regulations do not allow us to drink it (DARN) but the family would have enjoyed it in its raw state. By the next morning, it would be sour milk and used for baking. The third day it has ‘clabbered’ (looks like a good Greek yogurt) and at that point, we put it on the stove to make either a type of cottage cheese or something like a parmesan cheese they would have added to their meal. It lasts about another 3 days and then we cook it once again, adding milk & butter and it becomes ‘kochase’ a German cheese that is like warm brie when warm or hard cheese once it sets.

Farm - Jim at door.JPG

There is a breezeway between the kitchen and the main part of the house – a common design back then. It would face the prevailing winds and many of the meals were eaten out there. Jim is inviting guests into the main part of the house and explains the furnishings & what life was like in there. We also have an 1908 Sears & Roebuck catalog as most things were ordered from there since Fredericksburg, our nearest city, is 16 miles away and would have taken 7-8 hours because there were no roads so they were riding cross pastureland.   Besides the main house, Jim has mastered the original ‘log, rock & mortar’ cabin that was built in 1869 and can explain that structure as well.


Hope that gives you a little idea what we are doing here at the SAUER BECKMANN LIVING HISTORY FARM.  We are enjoying learning about that time period and I am learning more about my heritage. They were hardy people and refused to give up when the going got tough. Mark, one of the guys we work with is 5th generation native to this area and a wealth of information.  Thanks, Mim, for telling us about the TX Hill Country!

TEXAS – winter of 2017



It was a slow start as we hit a snowstorm leaving CO.1 snow shot
This picture doesn’t quite capture the 6″ of snow nor the sub zero temps but that’s what we had along with 50-70 MPH winds that caused them to close the interstate. We ended up staying put for a day because of the winds but had clear sailing after that.

1 Sauer Beckmann sign

This “Living History Farm” is on the LBJ State Park,just across the Pedernales river from the LBJ Ranch.

The oldest structure on the farm is the Sauer cabinFarm - Sauer cabin 1869.JPG

which was built of rock and logs in 1869.

This is the newer part of the farm, The left side constructed in 1885 and Farm - Beckman L is 1885 n R is 1917.JPGthe house on the right in 1915 and maintained at that period. We cook on its 1915 era wood stove and perform farm chores as they were done in 1915. These are fresh eggs from the chicken coop and the morning milking.

Farm kitchen - fresh milkFarm kitchen - eggs

After the milk sits for 2-4 days, Berne warms it on the wood stove then pours it into cheesecloth and hangs it on the clothesline. The next day we have cottage cheese.

The yard is kept clear of weeds as a fire break and snake deterrent and, of course, the chickens must be fed.

Farm - sheep

A ram and two ewes live on the farm. We are told that the ram can be a bit cranky but we have only noticed that he is quite curious.

One of the ewes had a pair of lambs but unfortunately they only lived for a few days.

Our meals come from meat and vegetables that are produced on the farm. We have avoided telling this pig that her days are numbered.

We still have cabbage and collard greens in the garden and canned vegetables from last year – tomatoes, onions, okra. Some sausage that has been stored from last year. Any day that we are on duty, we share the noon meal (dinner).

We share the park with a variety of wildlife:

There is an exceptionally large deer herd. We often wake up to 50-100 whitetail or axis deer in front of the motor home. The Texas Longhorn herd is on the other side of the park and a small (9) group of Bison live on the other side of the fence behind us


Idaho Sights & Scenes

Mining town -made out of crushed cansOn our days off to explore the area. there was a significant gold strike and, like so many others, towns sprang up, developed, and turned to ghost towns when the gold ran out.

Ingenious miners cMining town 3reated this building using flattened tin cans!





This part of Idaho seems quite wet – water, water everywhere!

Salmon River, North Fork 2

North Fork of the Salmon River

Salmon River N of town 7

Salmon River N. of the city

Panther Creek 3

Panther Creek









This is the route that Lewis and Clark hoped to travel to the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean. After advice from the local tribe and much investigation they realized that there was not to be an easy water route, but a very difficult overland trek though 180 miles of mountains before reaching a tributary of the Columbia.

cactus in bloom 1

Imagine walking on this for over 100 miles without hiking boots. For most of the trip the Corps was walking in badly worn moccasins. The paths through these mountains consist largely  jagged broken rock with cactus as one of the prominent forms of vegetation.

Salmon Idaho

4 field overlooking Bitterroot Mtns

Greetings from Salmon Idaho where we will be spendingthe next 2 months at the Sacajawea Interpretive Center! Salmon ID is a small town about half way up the state but close to the MT border and rich in history. There will be more history upcoming but let me start with showing you a bit of where we are. The view to the East here is the Bitterroot Mountain range – a part of the northern Rocky Mountains and the continental divide.




1 Interpretive Center

The interpretive center is small but packed with information about Lewis & Clark’s “Corps of Discovery” as well as the Lemhi Shoshone (‘Agai Dika’ – means salmon eaters) Native Americans that lived here for thousands of years.



Salmon sculpture


The center sits on 72 acres of land and has great walking trails with interpretive sites along the way. Before all the dams were constructed on the Snake and Columbia rivers, the salmon would swim over 800 miles from the Pacific Ocean to the Salmon River to spawn.




fishing weir

This isn’t a good picture of a ‘fishing weir.’ These were used to catch primarily salmon but other fish as well. We hope to clean this area up a bit while we are here so hopefully, we can get a better picture of it then.




Now for a bit of history ~

2 Sacajawea n Pompey sculpture

With the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 doubling the size of our country, President Jefferson asked his personal secretary and longtime close friend, Meriwether Lewis, if he would explore this new area to find the northwest passage to the Pacific Ocean. Lewis recruited his friend, William Clark to co-command the “CORPS OF DISCOVERY”. It took them a year to collect all the supplies they anticipated would be needed as well as hand-picked hardy men with extensive backwoods experience to form the first ever ‘special forces unit’. The spring of 1804 begins their adventure into the unknown and they get as far as Fort Mandan North Dakota before winter sets in. During the months in ND, they hire a French Canadian trapper by the named Toussaint Charbonneau to interpret for them through the unknown Indian territory. For some reason, only one of his Indian wives accompany him on this trip – Sacajawea.




Campobello Island NB

When we first arrived in the Maritimes almost a month ago now, we heard about Campobello Island. It is right off of the eastern-most tip of Maine and it is where FDR summered as a boy and he & Eleanor summered early in their marriage, long before he became president. It is a small island that is co-managed by both Canada and the US – the only park of its kind. So we decided to make one more stop before we turn westward – and we are so glad that we did! The ‘cottages’ were charming and we got to attend a ‘tea with Eleanor’. Once again I am reminded of what a humble woman she was, and way ahead of her time as far as her ideas and woman’s role in politics.
 1 Roosevelt cottage 22 Hubbard Cottage front3 HC tea room

Since it was a full moon while here, we got to enjoy watching the change of the tide going in and out – 28 feet! These pictures were taken from the same vantage point but not sure it captures how amazing this is to see.
 4 E Quoddy LH tide in 5 E Quoddy LH tide out 6 us

And this cute little picture had to be included. . . Lobster fishing season concluded on July 1 so the fisherman have cleaned their traps and painted their floats for next year. I found it entertaining that they hung the floats on the clothes line to dry. Of course, they still go out fishing the rest of the summer – jut not for lobster. I believe I mentioned before that each fisherman has a distinct pattern on their floats to identify whose nets belong to whom. 
 7 fisherman floats 1 8 fishermen floats 2 9 fishing wharf

I mentioned in a prior post that when we were in Nova Scotia ‘Arthur’ struck the Maritimes but New Brunswick took the brunt of the storm. It was no longer a hurricane but had been downgraded to a ‘post tropical storm’. Here is one picture of some of the damage on this island. It has been more than a week since  ‘Arthur’ hit and some are still without power and many downed trees everywhere. I sure hope I never go through a real hurricane.
 10 Arthur storm damage

So our final farewell to the Maritimes with one more sunset; we head into Lubec Maine, the eastern most city in the US, and then head eastward, making our way s-l-o-w-l-y back to Colorado. We have enjoyed the Provinces a great deal and hope you have enjoyed visiting them with us.
 12 Lubec ME 111 sunset 1
 Happy trails to you – until we meet again!



Prince Edward Island

To reach Prince Edward Island there are two choices, the ferry or the Confederation bridge. We chose the bridge. It is quite a marvel. The bridge is 8 miles long over the Northumberland Strait. We are told that it is the longest span over water that freezes.Confederation bridge 2

Prince Edward Island (PEI) was quite a bit different from both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia with fewer people and very small towns. It reminded both of us of Scotland and Ireland both geographically and culturally. Many of the people speak with a brogue, the music is flavored with Celtic tunes and well seasoned with beautiful old churches around nearly every bend in the road – once again a reminder that the Americas were founded so that people could enjoy religious freedom.

0 Hillside church 3 Rolling hillside AV show band

The countryside looks much like Ireland except that there are no castle ruins nor sheep in the fields. It is largely agricultural with great diversity of crops although we could only recognize potatoes and corn. On the north shore (Gulf of St Lawrence) were beautiful red cliffs and even red sandy beaches. It was breathtakingly beautiful.3 Rolling hillside 4 Red Cliffs 2 5 Red cliffs 3

While in Charlottetown, the largest city in the province with population of 35,000, we went to see the play, “Anne of Green Gables”. That was delightful. This time we took a camera but were not able to take pictures. Back in Cavendish we went to ‘Avonlea Village’ where they have costumed entertainers reenacting the story. Several of the original buildings from the author’s village have been restored and now form the current village.

8 AV school recital9 AV Lucy Montgomery birthplace6 AV Gilbert apologizing to Anne 7 AV Dianna n Anne  tea 1

Two special treats on this island occurred. First was seeing a Royal Canadian Mounted Policeman on his horse just meandering through town. And then on our last night when we went to watch the sunset on the Gulf of St Lawrence, we came upon a beautiful red tailed fox who just stood there and posed for us!

10 Mountie 11 red fox 1

As the sun sets on our time in Prince Edward Island, we have one last stop in Canada – Campobello Island.

12 Sunset 2