Archive for June, 2011

Rose of Sharon Quilt

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

Prairie Wild Rose

One of my passions is flowers, especially the prairie flowers that grow on their own in pastures, just blooming for themselves. My college degree was in horticulture and I spent many years in the flower and plant research industry before “returning to the prairie” myself with my living and writing.

Wild flowers have grown across the Kansas prairie and the Great Plains of North America since the start of time. Dots of color from the prairie plants wave with the green sea of grass during spring and summer. Their seed pods turn color in the fall and disperse their seeds to start another cycle of colorful and useful flowers.

Pioneer women used the prairie flowers as an inspiration for their quilt patterns, and I’ve mentioned them in my historical fiction writing.

Here’s a quote from my Trail of Thread book:

“Ann has quilts tops and quilts of her own along. It’s customary to make a baker’s dozen of quilt tops for a young woman’s dower chest. When the wedding is about to take place, the neighborhood women get together and help finish them. Ann has gone ahead and quilted three of them since she’s nearing the spinster age, but she saved her appliqued Rose of Sharon top for her wedding bed, just in case she’s proposed to yet.”

Think of the ideas and color schemes the pioneer women would have seen as they walked along the trails. And, they would have varied from state to state and the time of year. I think it would help the walk to concentrate on the beauty of nature and how it could be used in a future quilt.

Harvesting Faith

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Planting Dreams book series

Photo by Linda K. HubalekCombines are running full blast to get the wheat harvested before the next storm blows into the state. Rain is good for the row crops (milo, corn, and soybeans are grown in our area), but not when you need to get the wheat harvested.

Not only must the combines manuver through the field without being stuck in mud, big trucks must drive next to the combine in the field while the wheat seed is augured out of the combine bin into the truck’s bed.

Then what happens to this grain? The loaded truck drives to a nearby grain elevator to unload the wheat, and then back to the field for the next load. Eventually semi-trucks will move the wheat from the storage elevators to rail cars or ships to travel where it will be used. This Kansas wheat might be in your next loaf of bread or bowl of pasta, whether you live in the United States or overseas.

It takes a lot of hard and fast work—and faith—that you’ll get the wheat cut while it’s at the right ripe stage. Hail can break the straw stems so that it can’t be cut, or continuing rain can cause the wheat seed to sprout while the plants are still standing, and ruin it.

Farming is always a gamble but it seems to be intensified during wheat harvest. No forty-hour weeks now. The combine is running continually until the straw is too tough to cut—which could be anywhere from 6 pm to 1 am. During the downtime (early mornings) machinery needs to be repaired and maintained, besides whatever else needs to be done on the farm.

Uprooting their families and moving to Kansas was a gamble for the Swedish immigrants too, just like wheat harvest. The Planting Dreams series (with Harvesting Faith being the third book) is dedicated to the people that homesteaded on the Kansas prairie to make their living by farming.

After 142 years from my immigrant ancestor’s arrival, my family is still farming and harvesting wheat today.

Welcome Summer

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog, Butter in the Well book series, Planting Dreams book series

Festival in Little Sweden USA- Lindsborg, KansasIt’s felt like summer for over a month with our high temperatures and Kansas winds sweeping across the Plains, but now it’s officially here. Thunderstorms are part of the season and they have already been a mainstay this month too. Luckily we’ve had rain, but no damage in our area.

Our little community of Lindsborg, Kansas (known as Little Sweden USA) celebrated the start of summer this last weekend with our 40th annual Midsummer’s Day Festival. The Smoky Valley region of Kansas was settled by Swedish immigrants in 1869 and the heritage of the original homesteaders is still honored in our area today.

Saturday’s celebration included the raising of the maypole, dancing, food, and heritage exhibit booths. We had a heck of a storm with hail, wind, and rain the night before, but Saturday was perfect weather for the festival.

I often wondered while researching and writing both the Butter in the Well and Planting Dreams series what the Swedish immigrants thought of their first full-blown thunderstorm while out in the middle of the Kansas prairie. It’s quite a sight as the clouds mushroom in the big sky and then grows black as it barrels toward you. That’s when a dugout would have been a good place to be….

Välkommen Till Kansas sommar!

Great review from Tina "The Book Lady"

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

The Trail of Thread book series got a great review from Tina, “The Book Lady” on the Family and Literacy and You website today.

Pioneer woman's story by Linda K. Hubalek.“I thoroughly enjoyed Deborah’s story as she and her family traveled to their new home in the Kansas Territory. Written as a series of letters from Deborah to her stepmother who raised Deborah and her siblings you learn about the trials she and her family went through during the journey to their new home in the new Kansas territory in 1854. Deborah shares everything in her letters – her emotions, her triumphs, her worries and sorrow as another family loses everything they own (can you imagine?).

The Trail of Thread series is a set of 3 books and is the story of the author’s mother’s ancestors. Very well researched (she includes the Bibliography in the back of the book) and well written it’s easy to image the sheer amount of work Deborah went through to prepare for the journey, from sewing the canvas for the wagon top, making sure it was waterproof, packing the wagons, deciding what to take, what to leave behind and more. You’ll also “feel” the emotions of wondering and planning in case something happens to your family. Will everyone survive the trip?

The book is a quick very enjoyable read and you’ll definitely want to read the 2nd and 3rd books in this series. Imagine the Little House on the Prairie books but written from an adults perspective. Share these books with your family. Read them aloud and talk about what it would be like to ride in a covered wagon, to walk across the states instead of taking a 10 hour car ride to get where you want to go. These books would also be great for kids that need to write a report for history class – the research and the writing will help them prepare for a top notch report. They’re perfect for everyone age 9 – 99!”

Ebook Sale on Planting Dreams Series

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in Blog

In honor of Father’s Day, three ebooks will be on sale for $3.99 for a month at only two sites, Amazon and Barnes and Noble. You can either download them for Kindle or Nook. Get them now and enjoy!

Planting Dreams Series- Historical Fiction About Pioneer Families

My third book series is based on my father’s Swedish ancestors who came first to Illinois, and then on to Salemsborg, Kansas in 1869.
Charlotta’s thoughtful writing covers the time period of 1868-1919 and tells why the Swedish immigrants decided to leave, their journey, and their life on the Kansas prairie.

This book series is based on stories and photos from Johnson descendants, along with fiction depicting Kansas history during this time period.

Planting Dreams: A Swedish Immigrant’s Journey to America
Book 1, 1868-1869

Planting Dreams book by Linda K. HubalekDrought has scorched the farmland of Sweden and there is no harvest to feed families or livestock. Taxes are due and there is little money to pay them. But there is a ship sailing for America, where the government is giving land to anyone who wants to claim a homestead. Can you imagine starting a journey to an unknown country, no knowing what the country would be like, where you would live, or how you would survive? Did you make the right decision to leave in the first place?

For more information and how to buy the Planting Dreams ebook or book>>>

Cultivating Hope: Homesteading on the Great Plains
Book 2, 1869-1886

Cultivating Hope book by Kansas author Linda K. Hubalek.Can you imagine being isolated in the middle of a treeless grassland with only a dirt roof over your head? Having to feed your children with whatever wild plants or animals you could find living on the prairie? Sweating to plow the sod, plant the seed, cultivate the crop- only to lose it all by a hailstorm right before you harvest it?

The second book, in the Planting Dreams series portrays Swedish immigrant Charlotta Johnson as she and her husband build a farmstead on the Kansas Prairie.

For more information and how to buy the Cultivating Hope ebook or book>>>

Harvesting Faith: Life on the Changing Prairie
Book 3, 1886-1919

Harvesting Faith book by Linda K. Hubalek.Imagine surveying your farmstead on the last day of your life, reviewing the decades of joys, hardships, and changes that have taken place on the eighty acres you have called home for the past fifty years. Would you feel at peace or find remorse at the decisions that took place in your life?
This third book in the Planting Dreams book series portrays Charlotta Johnson as she recalls the events that shaped her family’s destiny.

For more information and how to buy the Trail of Thread ebook or book>>>

When Family History Inspires You to Write Fiction

Written by lindahubalek on . Posted in about Trail of Thread book series, Blog

In 1990 my husband had a two-year engineering project that required us to move to the San Francisco area. I sold my wholesale horticulture business because it wasn’t something I could maintain from out of state.

Searching for what I wanted to do while in California, I decided to look into my ancestors past as a project to work on. I researched and found my family’s history, not only the important dates of their lives, but also their stories.

What I realized is that all my ancestors traveled from other places to settle in Kansas when the territory opened up in 1854, or shortly after the Civil War when land was available to homestead. They were from European countries, leaving family, community and the life they knew behind to start a new and hopefully better life In America.

The history that my family just happened into, because of the state and nation’s situation, inspired me to write the Trail of Thread series. To give them a personal feel, I wrote the stories in the form of letters sent back home to loved ones.

For example my ancestors Deborah and John Pieratt (with six children along), featured in the first book of the Trail of Thread series left Kentucky in 1854 when the Territory of Kansas was formed. They were part of the thousands of families that packed wagons and headed west for the promise of a new life. My mother, uncle and I actually drove their trip—by car in a few days—to see what they would have seen in person.

Thimble of Soil, the second book in the series, features a great aunt Margaret Ralston Kennedy. She was a widow who moved with eight of her thirteen children from Ohio to the Territory Kansas in 1855. I found out by research that she helped with the Underground Railroad in both Ohio and Kansas!

Orphaned Maggie Kennedy, my ancestor portrayed in Stitch of Courage, the last book in the series, followed her brothers to Kansas as the states fought out the history of the Civil War. She found love with Deborah Pieratt’s son and gave birth to the great grandfather I knew.

Not only did this information give me a look into my ancestors’ life and times, it inspired me to write books to give readers a “slice of life” of my ancestors, and all people that lived through this time period.

I hope you’ll read the Trail of Thread series to get an insight into your family’s history too.