Monday, July 16, 2018

Treasured Family Heirlooms

by Pam Hillman

What is an heirloom?

Webster’s defines an heirloom as, “Something of special value handed down from one generation to another.”

As I ponder the meaning of heirlooms, I turn to the battered antique trunk at the foot of my bed. Its domed top and shiny brass accents shimmer in the late afternoon sunlight streaming through my bedroom window.

My husband bought the trunk at his great aunt’s estate sale several years ago. It is a beautiful old trunk. Battered, but sturdy, it cradles heirlooms handed down through five generations.

I flip the clasps open and lift the lid, letting the smell of old leather, musty books, and time gone by waft around me. For a moment, my gaze lingers on my treasures, old and new, before I reach for the baby clothes stacked on top.

I pull out dainty smocked suits that my children wore home from the hospital; a pair of tiny, hand crocheted booties; soft white and powdery blue blankets used to wrap my newborn sons in. Memories of those precious days parade through my head as I touch each object. I shake my head as I finger the baby clothes. It is hard to believe either of my young men were ever small enough to wear the tiny garments I hold in my hands.

Underneath a soft baby blanket, I spot a baseball glove, its brittle leather over thirty years old. The glove brings back memories of a brother whose life was cut way to short. Memories of the time he threw a baseball straight up in the air because I had decided I couldn’t miss it if the ball fell on me. I missed—and got a busted nose for my effort. But it really wasn’t my brother’s fault. The whole thing had been my idea.

As I dig deeper, the keepsakes grow older. I pick up a hymnal, dated 1907, a relic inherited from my husband’s great-great aunt. Its care-worn pages are a testimony to the many times Aunt Mary Ann lifted her voice in song. I can just see a dozen or so stout country women dressed in their Sunday best, hats perched just so, sturdy shoes dusty from their trek to church, lifting their voices in song. The song in my head fades away as the hymnal is placed carefully to the side.

In the bottom, I find a quilt. Not just an ordinary quilt—a special quilt—a quilt hand-stitched by my mother’s mother. I’m not sure how old it is. My mother doesn’t know, and Mamaw wouldn’t be able to tell us if she were alive.

I do know that it is old, and worn, the fabric stiff and shiny in places, the binding threadbare, the lining torn. It isn’t beautiful. Its pieces aren’t mirror images of each other, intent on showing off some delicate pattern. It’s a hodgepodge of color, shapes, and sizes. Some pieces of fabric are long and narrow, brown. Others tan, triangular. I spot a few pieces of dull green here and there. But even now, it has a thick sturdiness that guarantees a cozy night’s sleep on a frigid winter night.

As my fingers glide across the surface of the quilt, an image of my mother as a little girl, snuggling under the quilt, flashes like a movie clip before my eyes. As quickly as it appears, it’s gone. I sigh and lean over the edge of the trunk once again.

The afternoon shadows deepen as I examine each and every precious item in the trunk. I marvel at the black velvet pillbox hat with grosgrain ribbon Mamaw wore to church back in the 1940’s. I touch the cool metal of Papaw’s pocket watch, the stiff softness of his brown felt hat. The label inside says Adam, Fifth Avenue Quality, long oval, and I wonder how many hats he tried on, how long he stood in the store, before he picked just the right hat, just the right style, to suit him.

When I’m done, I carefully pack everything away, my trip down memory lane creating more and more memories, expanding, like sweet rolls set out to rise. I gaze out the window, enjoying a quiet afternoon reminiscing.

These heirlooms speak to me somewhere down deep inside. Their value is special, just like Webster declared. I knew the man who wore the hat, the woman who hand-stitched the quilt, and the young girl who grew up to be my mother. I have the memories to prove it.

And that’s what makes an heirloom special.

Do you have a special heirloom handed down from your parents or grandparents? We'd love to hear all about it!!!

CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of.

The Road to Magnolia Glen
I'm still celebrating the release of The Road to Magnolia Glen. :)
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Sunday, July 15, 2018

History of the Bakers Dozen and GIVEAWAY!

We've all heard of a baker's dozen, but have you ever wondered where and why we get 13 donuts?

After reading about a baker's dozen I went to Etymology to seen when the term was first used. It was 1590. Now that doesn't mean that was when the number 13 was used as a dozen by bakers but that was when the term was coined. 

There are a few theories on why we have the baker's dozen today but the most popular and widely accepted idea goes back to medieval times and that thing we still see today--greed. Back in the medieval times bread was a daily staple in all households. The bakers became a little greedy and started skimping a bit on the bread. Now when we think of bread, we think of this big loaf that has twenty or more slices. But in medieval times often the breads were small hand size loaves.

Even today we cry foul if we are cheated on a package claiming one count and giving us less. Imagine now living in a time where you might work a whole day to buy the bread to feed your family and then you get the bread home to discover you'd been shorted!

The story goes that this practice of shorting the customers was becoming more and more prevalent. The bakers lined their own pockets by shorting their customers.

Aberdour Castle Dough trough used for leavening bread
picture by Rosser1954

The people had finally had enough of being cheated of their staple food and made such an outcry that the kings could not over look it any longer. The kings took action and levied heavy penalties against any baker accused of cheating his customer. Some sources claim that the penalty was a sever beating. Either way the bakers began adding one more to the dozen making it thirteen to avoid accidentally shorting the customer.

So here we are over 500 years later still enjoying the fruits of a medieval custom!

How about you? Do you know of any medieval customs or laws we follow today just because that is the way its always been done?

Leave a comment or answer the above question for a chance to win Shattered Memories set in Charleston, SC. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you should you win. 

The Charleston earthquake has left destruction like nothing Doctor Andrew Warwick has ever seen. On a desperate mission to find the lady who owns his heart, he frantically searches through the rubble, where he finds her injured and lifeless. After she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are quickly dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. Things only get worse when he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.

Waking in a makeshift hospital, Olivia Macqueen finds herself recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evaing the danger lurking around her.

Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Social Media in 1898?

Gabrielle Here:

I often tell people I don't know what I love more: writing or history. Give me a couple hours to myself in a museum, and I will get completely lost in research. One of my favorite research tools is reading old newspapers. It's amazing what you can find. I have to be careful, though, because I might be looking for something very specific (like what stores were in my hometown in 1898), but then I discover a juicy little tidbit and I'm suddenly down the proverbial rabbit trail. At times like that, I have to make a note to myself to return on a different day and treat myself to a different research trip.

A little while ago, I had one of those fun days at my local historical society, where it was just me, my laptop, and the microfilm reader.

My computer behind me and the (awesome & new)
microfilm reader beside me.

For two hours I immersed myself in 1898 newspapers. I read the paper from January to the end of April and I could have continued, if no one needed me at home.

This was the first time I used the new microfilm reader! I
know I'm a bit of a dork, but this was awesome. :)
Image courtesy of the Morrison County Historical Society

What I love about newspapers from that time period is how personal they were. One of my favorite sections is the "Come And Gone" column where they reported who went where, who visited who, who came to town, who left for good, who is now employed where, etc.

Image courtesy of the Morrison County Historical Society

Another section of the paper was reserved for news specifically about local citizens. Who hosted a dinner party (and who was invited), who has been ill, who is going in for surgery, who has had a fire, who is constructing buildings and homes, who is filling in at the post office for the postmaster as he's been ill, and on and on and on! It paints a thorough picture of life in our town in 1898 - and it's wonderful fodder for a novel.

Image courtesy of the Morrison County Historical Society

As I read through the newspaper, I was struck with the realization that Social Media is not a new invention. As humans, we're a curious lot of people, and we like to know what's going on with the people in our community. Whether that community is our neighborhood, our town, the blogosphere or Facebook/Twitter, we enjoy learning about people's lives.

The important thing is to use that information well. Social media can be a great tool - or a scary weapon.

What about you? Would you enjoy sitting in a museum and reading newspapers from 1898? Would you like if your local newspaper kept tabs on your every move? :)

Gabrielle Meyer lives in central Minnesota on the banks of the Mississippi River with her husband and four children. As an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society, she fell in love with the rich history of her state and enjoys writing fictional stories inspired by real people and events.

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Visiting the Alamo

By Miralee Ferrell

I only set one book (so far) in Texas, a novella called Love's Sweet Storm, in The Cowboy's Bride collection, written in conjunction with 8 other fabulous Old West authors. It's not set at the Alamo, but since Texas is synonymous with the Alamo, I thought it would be interesting to dig a little deeper and share a bit about my trip there this year, as well as a smattering of history.

Old Mission Church at the Alamo
I had the privilege of visiting San Antonio this past February, as my son and his family are serving in the Air Force and stationed there. Of course, one of the top places I wanted to visit in the city was the Alamo. I'll be honest when I say I was a little awed and a little disappointed, all at the same time. Awed at knowing so many had sacrificed their lives there, and disappointed that so much of the fort and surrounding buildings were gone. Oh, to own a time-travel machine and go back before the last battle, and see what it was like in all its glory. There are only two building still standing, this and the barracks where the troops stayed.

A little history that most of us probably know from Wikipedia: February 23 –
The old barracks where troops stayed
March 6, 1836) was a pivotal event in the Texas Revolution. Following a 13-day siege, Mexican troops under President General Antonio López de Santa Anna launched an assault on the Alamo Mission near San Antonio de Béxar (modern-day San Antonio, Texas, United States), killing all of the Texian defenders. Santa Anna's cruelty during the battle inspired many Texians—both Texas settlers and adventurers from the United States—to join the Texian Army. Buoyed by a desire for revenge, the Texians defeated the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto, on April 21, 1836, ending the revolution.

The old barracks and all the grounds have changed a lot. The large wall surrounding the entire compound is no longer there. The area covers 5 acres, but very few original structures remain. The barracks interior was very interesting, as it had pictures and artifacts from that time period, as well as wall murals. Parts of the barracks building used to be two story, but only the bottom story remains. 

This is my five-year-old granddaughter peeking out of one of the tents on the Alamo grounds. We enjoyed exploring, but the line was so long at the Mission we couldn't go in. 

Davy Crockett portrait in 1834-
-2 years before he died
I've always been fascinated by one of the heroes of the Alamo, Davy Crockett, since I was a little kid and saw shows about him. He died there, defending the fort. Famed as a frontiersman, folk hero, and congressman Davy Crockett was one of the most celebrated and mythologized figures in American history. He grew up in East Tennessee, where he gained a reputation for hunting and storytelling. He was made a colonel in the militia of Lawrence County, Tennessee and was elected to the Tennessee state legislature in 1821. In 1827, he was elected to the U.S. Congress where he vehemently opposed many of the policies of President Andrew Jackson, especially the Indian Removal Act. Crockett's opposition to Jackson's policies led to his defeat in the 1831 elections. He was re-elected in 1833, then narrowly lost in 1835, prompting his angry departure to Texas (then the Mexican state of Tejas) shortly thereafter. In early 1836, he took part in the Texas Revolution and was killed at the Battle of the Alamo in March.

There is so much history in San Antonio and Texas in general. It has such a rich heritage! The people who run the Alamo have music in the park nearby, tents set up you where you can see what the troops stayed in, old rifle displays and more. It was fun wandering around and seeing a small piece of the history of Texas come to life. I was fascinated to find an ancient tree within the compound that dates back to prior to the Alamo. I'm not sure what kind it is...maybe an oak or mesquite? Anyone know?

Have any of you visited the Alamo or any other famous historical sites where it made you proud to be an American? What did you think of the Alamo if you've been there?

Miralee Ferrell is a best-selling, award winning writer. Most of her books are set
in the Old West in the 1800s, but she also has a few contemporary romance novels and 5 middle-grade horse novels. She lives in the Pacific NW, where she also works as the publisher at Mountain Brook Ink (publishing). She had the privilege of having one of her books released as a movie in January, 2018, on UP TV and it's since been shown on Hallmark online and Hallmark on Demand. The book title is Runaway Romance and it's available wherever books are sold. You can find out more about Miralee on her website HERE.

The book I mentioned as a novella is Love's Sweet Storm--set in The Cowboy's Bride Collection

When traveling to meet her intended groom, mail-order-bride Allie Patrick becomes stranded in a norther Texas shack during a snowstorm. She's all alone--until a local rancher stumbles in half frozen. Will a few nights alone with a man ruin Addie's dreams of wedded bliss with Sam Tolliver, or is this a divinely inspired detour to bring her and Grant Hollister together?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Amazing Grace: Quiltmaker Extraordinaire

A footnote from history by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Detail, Petit Point Basket by
Grace McCance Snyder
photograph by
Stephanie Whitson
For this lover of most things historical, visiting a new place usually means checking out at least one museum. The state history museum in Lincoln, Nebraska, was one of the first places I visited as a new resident. I was drawn to a display case on the main floor of the museum, where the largest piece of needlepoint I'd ever seen was on display. Imagine my amazement when I got close enough to realize that it wasn't needlepoint. I was looking at a pieced quilt, with the tiniest patches I had ever seen. How was piecing such tiny triangles even possible? 

That museum visit introduced me to Grace McCance Snyder, who came to Nebraska in 1885. She was three years old, and would later recount, "I do not remember the ride through the hills to Poppie's claim, but I can still see the homestead as it looked when we pulled into it that day--just two naked little soddies squatting on a bare, windswept ridge above a narrow, winding canyon." 

Grace's first Nebraska home was a 12 x 14 sod house built by her father. It had a wood floor, and "after the walls settled Poppie plastered them with a smooth, hard finish of canyon clay and water. A coat of whitewash every six months or so kept them clean and white." As a mother herself, Grace would one day look back and say, "... to Mama it must have seemed poor and desolate ... she had grown up among the green fields and woods of Missouri where she lived in a big white house ... I wonder, now, how she stood the hard life we lived, those first years in Nebraska."

Grace McCance Snyder's memoir, No Time on My Hands, was one of the first books I read about pioneer days in Nebraska. It's wonderful reading, but it's Snyder's incredible quilts that have won her fame. 

Snyder's first quilt was "played to death," since Grace was the second of seven girls, but it's creation is a touching part of her story. It was her job to herd her father's cattle on the open prairie. Finding the task lonesome, Grace begged her mother for some scraps of fabric, and pieced her first quilt--a four-patch doll quilt. 

As a teenager hired to teach three boys on a remote ranch, Grace remembered that the rancher's wife thought it improper for the schoolteacher to help with everyday chores. As a result, "From the time I left the schoolroom until bedtime, I had nothing to do except work on my pretty quilt and write a few letters ... if it hadn't been for the letters from home ... I would have curled up and died of homesickness long before Christmas."

The Snyder's wedding photo
As a newlywed, Grace would use the quilt she'd made during that long, lonely winter to cover canned goods boxes on which she laid an old bedspring. Voila: a couch. Her daughter, Bertie, remembered, "As soon as supper was done, Mama's day's work was mostly over. She went to her rocker in the living room. She either crocheted or cut and sewed quilt pieces." Nellie shared, "Mother pieced all the quilts we ever used for bedding ... she belonged to a club that made quilts, too: it was their 'welfare work.' But all the time she was also making the lovely quilts of her own that she kept to use or to give as gifts to relatives and friends." 

Grace Snyder on her way
to vote for the first time.
April 20, 1920, women had just received the right to vote in Nebraska, and a 38-year-old Grace Snyder donned her best riding habit and rode nine miles northeast of the ranch to a one-room country schoolhouse to vote. 

It wasn't until after her two daughters had graduated high school and left home that Grace turned their bedroom into a sewing room and began to make what she would call her "show quilts."  

Detail, Petit Point Basket,
photographed by Stephanie Grace Whitson
The quilt I saw that long-ago day at the museum is perhaps the most famous. Created in 1942-43, Petit Point Basket is based on a china pattern.
Inspiration for Grace McCance Snyder's
Petit Point Basket Quilt
Author's collection
Eight of the over 85,000 tiny triangles sewn together create a quilt block about the size of a stamp.

In 1999, when Quilter's Newsletter Magazine asked 29 quilt experts to select the 100 best American quilts of the 20th Century, over half of them chose this quilt in the first round of nominations. The quilt is treasured by the Nebraska History Museum, and if you ever visit Lincoln, you can see it by opening the drawer of the special display case constructed to protect this national treasure from the ravages of dust and light. 

When she was 91, Grace asked to return to the ranch (from the house where she lived with a daughter in town) and ride a saddle horse again. She did it. She was 98 years old when she was inducted into the Quilters Hall of Fame in 1980, and passed away quietly in her sleep at the age of 100. Her descendants still own the ranch where she and husband Bert put down roots. And they treasure the quilts she created.

See more of Grace McCance Snyder's show quilts here:  

Did you know about Grace McCance Snyder? Have you seen any of her quilts? What artifact or place makes you wonder about the past?


No Time On My Hands undoubtedly played a role in my becoming a novelist. Just as quiltmaking helped Grace McCance through a long, hard winter, quiltmaking provides an escape for Jane Prescott in The Key on the Quilt. Jane is serving a ten-year-sentence at the Nebraska State Penitentiary, even as she hides a startling secret. A caring physician will eventually help unravel the hidden meaning behind Jane's Courthouse Steps quilt.

The Key on the Quilt is only $2.99 as an ebook. 

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Candy Apples

The Best Thing at Early Fairs
by Martha Rogers

I attended the State Fair of Texas in Dallas every year I was in school and many times after that. Besides the rides, I loved the food we found there from cotton candy to funnel cakes. Now, everything from butter to Oreos is fried.

As I researched my book about the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, I ran across interesting facts about one of my favorite treats from my youth. Candy apples are a staple at most fairs either with the hard candy coating or the smooth caramel one.

The traditional red candy apples we see today are said to have been invented by William W. Kolb, a New Jersey candy-maker, in 1908. While experimenting with red cinnamon candy he made for Christmas, he dipped some apples into the mixture and displayed them in his candy shop. They sold for 5 cents each and became an almost instant hit. It didn’t take long for the treat to spread across New Jersey and then to circuses and candy shops nationwide.

Candy makers began experimenting with colors and coatings which is how the caramel or taffy apple was born. 
Here are examples of some of the colors which all
have a different flavor as well.

The caramel apple came along in the 1950swhen Dan Walker experimented with Kraft caramels and apples. He simply melted down left over caramels and dipped apples into the mixture.

Some experimented with toppings for the glaze and
flavors as well as the aforementioned colors for the coatings. Still, the traditional color for candy apples is red and cinnamon flavored. Coney Island vendors developed a softer coating and flavored it with Cherry. These are referred to as Jelly Apples.

One of my favorites is the nut covered one seen below. 

Fun Facts about Candy Apples:   International Independent Showmen’s Museum

1. Candy apples are of the hard candy coating variety, not caramel or toffee.
2. They’ve been around over a hundred years.
3. The first ones were for display only by Kolb in his candy store.
4. Candy apples are easiest to make in the fall not only because of the apple harvest, but also because of the lower humidity.
5. Traditional candy apples are cinnamon flavored.
6. In the first half of the 20th century, candy apples were given out for trick-or-treat. This practice stopped in the 1970s when people began adding dangerous things like razor blades to the apples.
7. Candy apples sweeten holidays around the world. They’re not just American.
8. Certain apples, like Fuji or Granny Smith, are better suited for the treat. They are crisp and hold up better with the coating.
9. They may be healthier than you think, but it depends on what you put into the coating while making it.

You probably own something or have owned something that got its color name from the candy. Candy apple red was and still is a favorite color for cars and other things like fingernail polish, helmets, and even bicycles.

The coating is usually a combination of sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon candies and red food coloring which is cooked to a hard crack stage. The apples are then dipped into the mixture and set aside to allow the gel to cool and harden around the apple.

Recipe for Candy Apples from the Just A Taste website

12 Granny Smith or Fuji Apples
12 lollipop or popsicle sticks
3 cups white sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring
You will need a good candy thermometer as well


Wash and thoroughly dry the apples (See Kelly's Notes below). Insert the lollipop sticks or popsicle sticks so that they are firmly positioned in the apples. Set the apples aside on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper and coated with cooking spray.
Combine the sugar, corn syrup and water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil and cook the mixture until a candy thermometer reaches 300ºF (the hard crack stage).
Remove the candy mixture from the heat and carefully stir in the red food coloring (it may splash, so stand back). You may have to add more than the designated ½ teaspoon, depending on the quality and strength of your food coloring.
One by one, carefully dip the apples into the candy mixture, swirling to coat them thoroughly and allowing any excess to drip back into the pan. Transfer the coated apples to the prepared cookie sheet and allow them to cool until the candy has fully hardened. 
Many people slice the apple rather than try to bite into the hard candy outer coating. It's easier on the teeth, too.

What are your favorite foods at the fair or a carnival?

Martha Rogers is a multi-published author and writes a weekly devotional for ACFW. Martha and her husband Rex live in Houston, Texas where they are active members of First Baptist Church. They are the parents of three sons and grandparents to eleven grandchildren and great-grandparents to four, soon to be five. Martha is a retired teacher with twenty-eight years teaching Home Economics and English at the secondary level and eight years at the college level supervising student teachers and teaching freshman English. She is the Director of the Texas Christian Writers Conference held in Houston in August each year, a member of ACFW, ACFW WOTS chapter in Houston, and a member of the writers’ group, Inspirational Writers Alive.
Find Martha at:      

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Minnesota History - The Pickwick Mill

Minnesota is chock-full of interesting historical sites. Many are run by the Minnesota Historical Society, some are run by county historical societies, and some are run by individual historical committees dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and conservation of particular locations and stories.

A couple of weeks ago, I visited one of these latter sites, the historic Pickwick Mill, located in Southeast Minnesota.

The Pickwick Mill was completed in 1858, and is one of the oldest grist mills in Minnesota. Six stories tall, made of local stone, and fully operational, the Pickwick Mill is a gem set in the bluffs along the Mississippi.

The mill was operational until the 1960s, when it shut its doors to commercial operation. Local residents wanted to preserve the history of the first grist mill west of the Mississippi, and created a historical society to get the mill back up and running and turn it into a museum.

By McGhiever - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

As you can see above, there are five stories above street level. There is also one story below street level, where the waterwheel is located. The waterwheel is an overshot model, where the water is directed over the top of the wheel as opposed to undershooting the wheel. Overshot wheels turn clockwise, while undershots turn counter-clockwise.

Flour Sacks from Minnesota Mills
 Local farmers would bring their wheat to the mill and unload it at street level into a chute along the side of the building where it would be weighed and credited to the farmer's account. The wheat then dropped to the bottom-most floor of the mill where the belt 'elevators' carried it all the way to the top floor, more than sixty feet above.
The basic plans from which the mill was built.
Gravity took care of the rest, sending the grain down, floor by floor where it is ground, sifted, and packaged.
A fine silk screen that sifted the flour after it was ground. The finer the
screen, the finer the flour. This mill had very high-quality flour that was
sifted many times before being sacked.
At the height of production, during the Civil War, the Pickwick Mill operated 24 hrs a day and produced 100 barrels of flour each of those days. A barrel of flour weighed 294 pounds! That's enough flour to make almost 300 loaves of bread.

Today you can tour the mill from May to October. It's a lovely drive to reach Pickwick, and the museum folks are knowledgeable and helpful.

I found the water-wheel particularly fascinating. It's amazing that having the sluice gate open only an inch or so provides enough power for the wheel to crank every piece of machinery in the entire mill.

You can learn more about the Pickwick Mill by visiting:

About Erica: Best-selling, award-winning author Erica Vetsch loves Jesus, history, romance, and sports. She’s a transplanted Kansan now living in Minnesota, and she married her total opposite and soul mate! When she’s not writing fiction, she’s planning her next trip to a history museum and cheering on her Kansas Jayhawks and New Zealand All Blacks. You can connect with her at her website, where you can read about her books and sign up for her newsletter, and you can find her online at where she spends way too much time!