Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 30, 2022


Yellowstone National Park, waterfalls
After years of ineffective administration of the park that resulted in poaching of wildlife and cutting of timber, the Army took control in 1886, enforcing regulations and attempting to prevent poaching. 

While they were effective at doing that, there were limitations to the services they could provide to visitors, and there was a lack of consistent administration among the various national parks. As a result, in 1916 the National Park Service Organic Act, which established the National Park Service, was passed. 

Now, more than a century later, Yellowstone hosts between three and four million visitors each year.

I hope you've enjoyed this month's posts and that, if you haven't already discovered the wonders of the country's (and the world's) first national park, you'll add Yellowstone to your must-see list.

Tuesday, March 29, 2022

Prize-Winning Cinnamon Rolls


cinnamon rolls
If you've read The Spark of Love, you know that the heroine enjoys and even attempts to make cinnamon rolls. 

Since the recipe for Evelyn's oatmeal pecan pie from Out of the Embers was such a hit with readers, I'd been thinking about sharing a cinnamon roll recipe with you. The problem was, I didn't have a special one. Then, almost as if she'd read my mind, a friend sent me her recipe, telling me the rolls were a favorite with everyone who'd tasted them and that the recipe had won the blue ribbon at her county fair. 

To my delight, when I asked her, Kathy graciously agreed that I could share her recipe with you. 

I hope you enjoy the rolls as much as Kathy and her friends have!

Kathy Flinchum’s Blue Ribbon Cinnamon Rolls


2 1/2 cups warm water

2 packets quick rise yeast

1 box yellow or white cake mix

1 cup all purpose flour

2 eggs

1/3 cup oil

1 teaspoon salt

5 1/2 cups all purpose flour

soft butter

1 cup sugar

2 tbsp cinnamon

raisins (optional)


Mix sugar and cinnamon and set aside.


Using large bowl of electric mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water for 3 minutes.

Add cake mix, 1 cup flour, eggs, oil and salt.

Beat with mixer until bubbles appear.

Slowly add in 5 1/2 cups flour.

Stir with a spoon making a soft dough. (Kathy uses the dough hook on her stand mixer.)

Knead on floured board for about 5 minutes.

Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise until doubled (approximately an hour).

Divide dough into 4 pieces.

Roll each section out on a floured pastry cloth into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick.

Spread with butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Add raisins if using.

Roll up as a jelly roll, starting with the long edge.

Cut into pieces between ½ and ¾ inches thick.

Place each roll on a greased pan.

Cover and allow to rise until double (approximately half an hour).

Bake in a 350° F oven for 20 to 30 minutes or until done.

Ice with a powdered sugar icing while hot.



Kathy’s Note: If you prefer, you can substitute cinnamon flavored applesauce for the butter and cinnamon sugar.


Amanda’s Note: I plan to use the dough setting on my breadmaker to simplify the process.


Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 23, 2022


geyser basin boardwalk Yellowstone National Park
The first superintendent of Yellowstone had a difficult job. Not only was he not paid, but there were no laws to protect the wildlife and no money to build infrastructure like this boardwalk, which keeps Yellowstone's millions of visitors from destroying the fragile surface.

Would you have wanted to be Nathaniel P. Langford? As much as he loved Yellowstone, he must have found his position frustrating. 

His successor, Philetus W. Norris, did not suffer from the same handicaps and was given enough money to build roads and a park headquarters and to hire a "gamekeeper."

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 16, 2022


mud pots Yellowstone National Park
Arguably the most influential of the explorations of Yellowstone was the Hayden expedition of 1871. This team included a number of scientists, two artist, and a photographer. 

William Henry Jackson's photographs, Thomas Moran's paintings, and Henry W. Elliot's sketches of the area further increased interest in the thermal wonders and natural beauty of the Yellowstone region and were influential in Congress's proposing national park status for it. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 9, 2022

Old Faithful Yellowstone National Park

I'm sure you recognize this as Old Faithful, the most iconic spot in Yellowstone. It's not the largest of the park's geysers, but its eruptions are the most predictable, giving it its name.

What you may not know is that Old Faithful was named during the second exploration of Yellowstone, the Washburn-Langford-Doane expedition of 1870. It was expeditions like that one that fueled the country's interest in this unique part of the United States and ultimately led to Yellowstone's establishment as a national park.

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Wednesday in Wyoming - March 2, 2022


geyser basin Yellowstone National Park

When I thought about my March Wednesday in Wyoming posts a couple weeks ago, I had a different theme in mind. But when I learned that March 1, 1872 was a significant date for Wyoming, there was no question what I'd feature this month.

You see, yesterday marked 150 years since President Ulysses S. Grant signed the Yellowstone National Park Protection Act, turning this corner of Wyoming and bits of Idaho and Montana into the world's first national park. 

A bit of history: There was already a precedent for preserving areas of natural beauty in the United States. Prior to 1872, Arkansas's Hot Springs had been established as a national reservation, and Yosemite was a state park, but Yellowstone - perhaps because it spanned three states - was the first to receive national protection. 

Both Hot Springs and Yosemite later became national parks, but that's another story. This month we're going to celebrate Yellowstone's sesquicentennial.