Sunday, October 30, 2016

Pioneer Country, Part 2

I'm just now getting back here to finish writing about our trip to Tulsa.  After visiting the modern day Pioneer Woman's Mercantile, we drove to visit one of the original Pioneer Women in Oklahoma.  The story of how she came to be, and the story of the man that made it all possible, is an interesting one to say the least.

This 17-foot-tall statue representing Oklahoma's pioneer women stands in front of the Pioneer Woman Museum in Ponca City, Oklahoma.  The idea for the statue was conceived by E.W. Marland, an oilman, philanthropist, U.S. senator and governor of Oklahoma.  Marland commissioned artists from all over the world to present their version of a statue to commemorate the pioneer experience and to honor his grandmother.

A dozen small models were submitted and then people all over the United States voted on their favorite.  The winner by a landslide was the work of London-born Bryant Baker and the final work was unveiled in 1930.

About a mile from the museum and statue is the estate of E.W. Marland.  The 55-room mansion is known as the Palace on the Prairie.  The grounds were once the site of polo matches, fox hunts and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.  From his office window, Marland could see the statue honoring his grandmother and the women who helped settle the land where he made -- and eventually lost -- a fortune.

The estate is beautiful and the mansion houses many beautiful works of art, including the original 12 statues that were commissioned for Marland's Pioneer Woman.

Marland was an interesting person in  his own right, but the story of his second wife, Lydie, has the makings of a novel.  Marland and his first wife, Virginia, had no children of their own.  In 1916, they adopted Virginia's nephew, George, and niece, Lydie, then 19 and 16 years old.  Ten years later, Virginia died.  Two years after that, Marland had Lydie's adoption annulled and he then married her.  

It was during this time that he built his Palace on the Plains, which was a wedding gift to his new bride.  Unfortunately, they only lived in the 46,000-square-foot mansion a short time when his oil company was lost in a hostile takeover and, for the second time in his life, Marland lost most of his money.

The mystery surrounds yet another statue that Marland had commissioned.  There were actually two statues, one of each of the siblings, George and Lydie.  After Marland's death, Lydie instructed a worker on the grounds to destroy the statue that was of her likeness.  It would be over 30 years later, after her death and the death of the worker, that a letter surfaced revealing the whereabouts of the broken pieces.  It was then unearthed and put back together.  The original statue is in the entrance of the mansion, reunited with George.  A replica stands in the garden, keeping watch on the house.

There was much speculation about Lydie's life in the years following Marland's death.  She disappeared from Ponca City for more than 20 years, leaving most to believe that she had died.  It was only at the end of her life that she returned, living in seclusion in the carriage house that she and E.W. shared after they went broke, not far from the estate that was now in the hands of the Carmelite Fathers.  During her absence, the only evidence that she was alive were the payments that arrived to cover taxes on the cottage.  There was even an article that ran in the Saturday Evening Post titled, "Where is Lydie Marland?'

The mansion, listed on the National Register of Historic Landmarks, is a work of art. Marland hired a master architect who commissioned artists to hand paint the decorative ceilings and sculpt intricate designs on the exterior of the building. One of my favorite things is on the portico on one side of the house.  In each or the four corners an artist sculpted one of Marland's favorite hunting dogs.

In 2012, an academy award-winning film company purchased rights to a movie based on the lives of E.W. Marland and Lydie.  I haven't been able to find anything about how that is progressing, but you can bet that if it eventually comes out, I'll buy a ticket to see it!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Pioneer Country

Dan and I flew to Tulsa last weekend to spend a few days with our good friends, Pam and Jim. 

When Pam and Jim moved to Tulsa a year ago, we knew it would be just a matter of time before we'd head down to see them.  So, on Friday we hopped a plane and got there in time for supper.

On Saturday we took a drive to nearby Pawhuska, of Pioneer Woman fame.  We knew the Mercantile wouldn't be open for business yet, but thought we'd have a look around.

The doors were open and the place was bustling with workmen and a crew of people in Mercantile shirts, setting things up.

As we poked our heads inside for a peek, Jerry, the general contractor, met us at the door and gave us a warm greeting, inviting us to step inside! It was a bit surreal seeing the Mercantile in person, after watching its progress on Ree's show and on her blog.  If this blog were 'scratch and sniff', you could smell the rich aroma of all that natural wood.

We were free to look at the entire first floor -- Jerry was almost apologetic that we couldn't go upstairs to the bakery because the workers were still finishing up the stairway.

It was so exciting to see the original mural that was discovered under the plastering of the old building. The carved flowers in the wood below are just beautiful and will be the same pattern used on the stationery sold at the store.  It was all I could do not to start going through boxes to find some to buy;)

The kitchen. . .

 That wonderful ceiling tile that they worked so hard to restore just gleams.  So beautiful. . .

The cappacino machine!

Seeing the inside of the Merc was more than we'd hope for.  I can't wait to go back and visit when it's open!

Pawhuska is a sweet little town.  We had a fabulous lunch at The Prairie Dog. They have a hot dog bar that would rival any hot dog stand on the streets of New York City, as well as frozen yogurt and cupcakes that are to die for.

There was an art festival going on in town, and lots of little artists were hard at work drawing chalk sidewalk pictures.

We wandered through the shops and had a nice conversation with the friendly proprietor of Clifton's Osage Prairie Gifts.  

There was a chuck wagon dinner being served that evening.  Here's Jim, talking to the cook.

Lots of places to shop in this little town!

Being the groupies that we are, we stopped at the local grocery store that Ree frequents. . .

. . . and paid homage to her at the butter display;)

Before getting in the car to leave, we took a run walk up the steps of the old courthouse.

From the top, a view of the little town of Pawhuska.

Tomorrow, I'll post about another Pioneer Woman on the prairie of Oklahoma!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Quick update

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog.  I still want to write about Sam's mom's visit.  And over the weekend, Dan and I went to see some very dear friends and had a wonderful weekend!  We arrived home late Sunday night, and on Monday morning I hit the floor running because I had Brooklynn and Bentley for the day.  Which was also Dan's birthday. And a Bronco game on TV that night, which I'm not a big football fan, but I sat through it and played with the grandbabies.

Here's a picture of Dan and Bentley doing 'So Big'.  Bentley caught on quickly and was soon raising his arms by himself.  

This morning I am plowing through the piles on my desk, doing laundry and getting organized, then going into work.  

Just wanted to stop in and do a quick update.

Happy Tuesday to all.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Monday, Monday

We are having the most beautiful Fall this year. I haven't blogged since last week, because I've been spending a lot of time enjoying the outdoors. Also, Sam's mom was in town, and we went on a marathon planning spree for the wedding.  We accomplished a lot! and I have more photos to share of her visit in another post.  

This photo was taken on Saturday, of Joe and Sam near Clear Creek in Golden.  

On Sunday, my family gathered to celebrate my brother's 60th birthday.  Brooklynn 'helped' Mark blow out the candles.  That's my dad looking on.

Today, I had Brooklynn and Bentley for the day.  We took a nice long stroll and ended up at the library.  Brooklynn is my little book lover and she was delighted with all the books! 

She eventually settled in at the puzzle table and played, while Bentley and I sat on the floor nearby.  I just love our children's library.  There's a wonderful play area and lots and lots of stuffed animals for kids to snuggle up with while reading books.

Before we left for home, my brother Matt came by with some coffee for each of us, and we sat at the pond near the library and talked for a while.

Such a beautiful day to be outside.  Here's a glimpse of our walk home.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

The pumpkin patch

Earlier this week, I got a text from my favorite 12-year-old  asking, "Tante" (that's what he calls me), "Do you want to go to the pumpkin patch and the corn maze?"  I looked at my list of things to do for the day, wadded it up and replied, "Wow! Yes!"

I thought I was going to miss out on the pumpkin patch this year, so what a treat:)

We combed through acres of pumpkins and picked out a couple of good ones.

There were a lot to choose from and it was a gorgeous day.

Then we hit the corn maze.  It was my first time and according to my Fitbit we walked three miles.  And we never did get to the other side.

We ended up at a favorite coffee shop for hot chocolate and -- what else? -- a pumpkin latte.

What a perfect way to spend a fall day!

Friday, October 7, 2016

All Things Fall

When I think back on my favorites for this week, the common thread is Fall. I don't take Autumn for granted here in Colorado, where Summer will often pop back in and out, causing me to shed my favorite sweaters and vests, and then Winter gets kind of pushy, knocking leaves off of trees before the color is all gone.

Here are my favorites for the week.

1.  The final baseball game of the season.  Dan and I went to the Rockies' final game with our friends Rick and Pam. Fall baseball games are sort of a breath of -- cool -- fresh air, after a hot summer.  It's time to wrap it all up, and there's the sadness of another season gone, but the anticipation of the holidays and knowing Spring training is right around the corner!

 2.  Finishing up the backyard.  I can safely say that we are FINISHED with landscaping in the backyard.  We planted two trees last weekend, this redmond linden and a peach tree.  There is still a big project left, Dan is going to build a workshop (in the area behind where he's is standing) which will involve running electricity out there, so we'll get to bury some of the wires running over our yard.  But the building will be a labor of love for him. And he's a happy camper that I can piddle around the gardens on my own now that the heavy lifting and digging is done;)

 3.  Cleaning up the gardens. In addition to planting trees, we finished the Secret Garden fence by putting on the fence post caps, and I transplanted my herbs to a new raised bed area.

4.  In the kitchen.  Stuffed patty pan squash, chicken pot pie and a harvest stew were on the menu this week.  It's been nice changing things up in the kitchen.

 5. Coffee. I'm going to cram in a couple more favorites for #5.  A wonderful, long phone chat with Pamela! which involved brewing another pot of coffee to get through. And discovering a new favorite at Starbucks: Cinnamon Dolce Latte.

How was your week?  Link up here with Susanne and the Friday Fave Five crew, if you'd like to share.