For the first time in almost three months, we’re going to drive six hours to our home in Oklahoma and we’re not planning to stop at a public restroom. Since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve been self isolating in Nebraska. Ann has an underlying heart condition as well as a suppressed immune system which puts her at higher risk, so we’ve stayed home.

dinner on the deck

We haven’t been in stores, had friends or family in our home, or even enjoyed takeout from local restaurants to ensure her safety. Really, we’ve only left the house for walks outside for exercise, doctor appointments, and trips to the grocery store for curbside pickup.

Maybe the best portable toilet

The most we’ve traveled by car lately has been 30 miles to the nearest grocery store that offers pickup orders. We’ve considered longer trips in our car, but one thing has always stood in the way. How could we drive for more than a few hours without using a public restroom where the virus could linger? Well, our friends at Dang Travelers had an answer!

Bloggers Angela and David have traveled extensively in their Chrysler Pacifica and have written all about essential van camping accessories. We asked for their advice and they introduced us to the Luggable Loo.

luggable loo

Basically, it is a 5-gallon bucket with a toilet seat. Angela recommended lining the Loo with a disposable garbage bag and adding a few scoops of kitty litter to absorb liquids and odors. While the Dang Travelers usually stay at campgrounds with public restrooms, the Loo has come in handy at times. With more than 2,000 5-star reviews on Amazon, we spent $40.87 on a loo and added garbage bags and kitty litter to our next Walmart grocery pickup list.

luggable loo supplies

Back to Pawhuska, Oklahoma

Now that we have a safe way to travel and after much thought and consideration, we’ve decided to make the six-hour drive back to our second home in Pawhuska this week. With the Luggable Loo in the back of our Pacifica, we feel pretty good about being able to go from one home to another without exposure to others. We’ll bring all our groceries, and stay put once we get there. Honestly, we should only need to venture out for gas once. Steve will wear a mask and gloves at the filling station and will pay at the pump.

Places to stay in Pawhuska

We’ll attend to our business there and make preparations to reopen our home as an Airbnb when the time is right. The safety of our guests and housekeeper are top priority. If and when we can ensure everyone’s safety, we’ll open up some new dates, so stay tuned. We’re excited to be back in our home there, that we call Postcard Place, and hope to be able to share it with others soon.

Places to stay in Pawhuska

Hopefully we’ll also see our daughter

This trip will also give us a chance to see our daughter, Meghan, who is an ICU nurse in Tulsa. It’s been several months since we’ve seen her and we miss her dearly. She’s been working long, stressful hours throughout this pandemic so I short drive up to Pawhuska will be nice for her, as well.

nurse meghan

Of course, because of her work at the hospital and the potential of exposure to the corona virus, we’ll have to practice social distancing, even with her. Nonetheless, it will just be good to see her in person, even if it’s outside in the driveway and we can’t give her a hug.


 

  • And, we have a baby bird! A cowbird, that is. ⁣
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We were so excited when we found eggs in the nest two house finches built in a fern on our front porch in Pawhuska, Okla. When we posted a picture of the nest last week, several readers pointed out that one of the eggs was not like the others - - it was a cowbird egg.⁣
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Cowbirds, it turns out, have kind of a bad reputation. It seems that they don’t build nests of their own. Instead, they lay their eggs in the nests of other birds and let the other birds raise their chicks. The cowbird chicks tend to develop faster than the other nestlings, and sometimes out compete them for food and resources. Because of this, there are those who give advice to remove the cowbird egg from the nest. ⁣
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According to an article we read on the Audubon Society’s website, though, there are several reasons to leave the cowbird egg in place: ⁣
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First, cowbirds are native to North America and have been here for millions of years and we are never going to teach them how and where to lay their eggs a different way. ⁣
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Second, cowbirds are, like all other songbirds, protected in the US. In short, it’s illegal to remove their eggs.⁣
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Third, cowbirds have been known to check the nests where they leave their eggs and will, occasionally, destroy nests from which their eggs have been taken. As a result, all of the resident chicks would be killed, as well, instead of one or two being outcompeted for resources. ⁣
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Because of these reasons, we decided to let the natural process play out in our fern. We’ll see what happens. But what we do know is that the cowbird hatched first...and that chick is hungry.
  • 🏡 We've had such a wonderful time at our Pawhuska, Okla., home. It felt so good to actually pack a suitcase again, even if we just went to our house there and stayed put. We walked together every day, drove through the Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, and chatted with friends from a distance on our front porch. We took time to watch the sunset and see a mama house finch care for her babies in our hanging fern. We also explored a state park and found a waterfall. ⁣
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Most importantly, we got to see our daughter, Meghan. She is an ICU nurse in Tulsa and because of her potential exposure to coronavirus, we'd not spent any time together in months. But Ann found a way to create a safe (and decorative) outdoor space for all of us to visit, share a few meals, and just be in each others' presence. We can’t tell you what a comfort it was to see her again. ⁣
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In this time of sickness and uncertainty, it was nice to have a clean, safe place to get away. We are so thankful to have found this gem of a town, so many supportive and caring friends here,  and a second place to call home.
  • As we've been home since March 12, Steve has taken up bread making as a hobby. His sour dough starter is looking promising, but he also found the easiest four-ingredient artisan bread recipe that is so impressive. ⁣
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We've shared the results a few times on social media and many of you have asked for the recipe, so he wrote a blog post about it. We've included a link in our bio with step-by-step instructions on how to make it. ⁣
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If you bake this artisan bread, we'd love to hear about it (and see a photo). Just be sure to tag us @postcardjar. ⁣
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We love this bread plain, with olive oil and seasoning, as toast with almond or peanut butter, and grilled for bruschetta. If you use the #Noom app like us, it is about 100 calories a serving (12 servings in loaf).
  • As we remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice this Memorial Day, we hope you will join us in honoring others in a time of reflection, gratitude and respect. ⁣
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Both Steve's grandfathers and Ann's grandfathers all served in the military and fought in WWII. We took this photo a few years ago at Wyuka Cemetery in Nebraska City, Nebraska, where Ann's grandfather, Donald Shrewsbury, was laid to rest.
  • Today is the day! This afternoon our friends and fellow travel writers @lindseyranzau and @coleranzau are taking over our Instagram stories and we can’t wait for you to meet them.⁣
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⁣They are travel experts on everything Minnesota and will also be sharing some of their favorite Midwest destinations in honor of #NationalRoadTripDay! ⁣
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⁣Lindsey and Cole have traveled the world and love finding hidden gems and writing about them on their blog, Look About Lindsey (link in bio). You’re going to love their personalities as much as their incredible photography so be sure to watch our stories and say hello.⁣
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⁣And, to see our picks for best Midwest road trips, follow @lindseyranzau where we’ll be taking over her IG stories. It’s going to be a blast and we hope you’ll come along.
  • We are so excited to announce that Minneapolis-based travel writers Lindsey and Cole Ranzau of the blog Look About Lindsey will be taking over the Postcard Jar Instagram stories Friday, May 22! In celebration of National Road Trip Day, we are trading places (and IG stories!) to show each others' followers some of our favorite Midwest road trips and destinations. ⁣
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We encourage you to check out our stories tomorrow to meet Cole and Lindsey (they are so much fun) and follow @lindseyranzau where we'll be sharing some of our favorite Midwest travel experiences on their Instagram stories. When the time is right and you feel you can travel safely, we hope you'll consider a road trip in the Midwest. ⁣
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You can check out the Look About Lindsey blog at the link in our bio. ⁣
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@natdaycal @pilotflyingj
  • The @pwmercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma, reopened today. We have talked to folks here who said employees have been working hard to clean and sanitize everything. On our walk today, we noticed that hand sanitizer that was readily available, tables were spaced out, and Merc employees were wearing face masks in accordance with CDC recommentations. We hope visitors to our little town will also do their part to keep everyone safe and healthy.

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