About 12 hours after Steve finished his last school board meeting and his ended his career as a middle school principal, we were on the road for a much-needed (and anticipated) vacation. First stop – Pawhuska, Oklahoma to visit The Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s Mercantile.

Once a booming oil town with claim to having organized the first Boy Scout troop in America, Pawhuska went decades with little notice after the Great Depression.

Then, Ree Drummond, a self-proclaimed pioneer woman, desperate ranch wife, mother of four, and lover of butter brought this small town back into the national spotlight.


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Creator of the weblog, The Pioneer Woman, and star of the self-titled Food Network cooking show, Ree has filled the hearts of her readers and fans for years. Now, she’s filling their stomachs, as well, right in downtown Pawhuska.

The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

We drove from our home in southeast Nebraska to The Pioneer Woman Mercantile in a day, arriving just in time for an early supper. A Mercantile staff member greeted us as we walked up and opened the door for visitors. Small town hospitality is at its best in Pawhuska.

Hoping to get a table in the deli, we got in a line that extended down the block and were told we should be seated in less than two hours. Fortunately, I have the most selfless husband who said he was more than happy willing to stand in line in the hot sun while Meghan and I went inside to explore the air-conditioned general store.

I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity and ventured inside The Merc, as Ree often calls it.

By late in the day, the general store wasn’t too crowded and we were able to browse the wooden shelves, admiring the brightly colored juicers, nut bowls, and ramekins.

I loved these colorful juicers.

We strolled past stacks of Pioneer Woman glassware and dishes and checked out fancy dispensers for common kitchen necessities like plastic wrap and parchment paper.

 

The Merc had everything. Stainless steel mixing bowls in every size imaginable, cast iron skillets like the ones Ree cooks with on her show, and so many pretty cake plates and teapots.

There was even a small clothing and jewelry section, complete with the colorful tunics Ree has made so popular, and her signature leather bracelets and turquoise-colored beads.

The perfectly organized merchandise was beautiful, but even more eye-catching was the amazing renovation of the building that had been a mercantile way back when.

This mural from the National Biscuit Company was uncovered during renovations.

Just like an old mercantile, items were tucked away in drawers.

 

Original brick, wood, and an uncovered mural highlighted the structure and the Drummonds’ attention to detail was impeccable.

There was a gorgeous gift wrapping counter in the back of the store and a darling little children’s corner with a play kitchen area to keep children entertained and lots of jars of finger puppets of historical figures.

The gift wrap was just beautiful.

I wouldn’t typically blog about stops at the ladies room, but I have to say, this one was worth noting – and yes, I took pictures.

The bathroom was beautifully designed. It included hooks to hold your bag while you wash you hands, and would you believe it, was stocked with Charmin toilet paper (don’t you just love details).

After I was finished using the restroom had taken enough pictures, I wandered up the winding staircase to the second floor.

At the top of the staircase was large room full of natural light from the floor-to-ceiling windows. It was furnished with comfy couches and wooden tables that made it a perfect place to sip coffee and shoot the breeze.

At the far end were a coffee bar, bakery and candy shop. And down a short hallway, you could actually peek in through glass windows at the kitchen staff preparing sticky rolls, cupcakes and maple scones in mass – and I mean mass – quantities.

We decided that we’d hold off on trying the baked treats until the next day and instead browsed the store a bit more, checking in on Steve every so often and giving him bathroom breaks.

I stuck to our pre-established budget and made it out with a few gifts for our moms, an extra-long spatula, a white colander, and one of those fancy parchment paper holders.

By that time, Steve had made it to the front of the line and we were ready to taste Ree’s creations in the deli.


Coming soon: Yes, the food is as good as it looks on TV; our visit to The Lodge; and Steve’s advice for men at The Merc. 

As always, thanks for sharing (and Pinning)!

Our visit to the Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile

  • 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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