How We Live + Work // 8.17.16

Last week we rented a cabin in Niobrara State Park. This is how we spent our time...

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Hello! It's Deana:)

Tonight as I write this, I'm thinking of where I was a week ago.

I was laying on my back, squished on a picnic table with my family, in awe of the silver glitter sprinkled across the biggest, velvety sky I believe I've ever seen.

We lived in a tiny cabin in Niobrara State Park for four days and this is our story.

Niobrara is a teeny tiny village at the far northeastern corner of Nebraska where the Niobrara and Missouri rivers merge. It boasts a population of 370 people and is the headquarters for the Ponca Tribe. It's name means running water.

The Niobrara landscape delighted me. If an English countryside and a rugged Midwest prairie had a baby, it would be Niobrara.

Our first full day in Niobrara was spent exploring. As we drove quietly down lonely gravel roads—just to see where they led—we saw pieces of stories and imagined who they'd belonged to in other times.

We also learned that not far from Niobrara is a Prairie Pompei called the Ashfall Fossil Bed. Due to extraordinary ecological conditions some 10 to 12 million years ago, ash from a Yellowstone hotspot was swept by currents and deposited in Nebraska. The ash fall created a suffocating blanket that resulted in fossilized bone beds that represent a well-preserved "snapshot" of mammals and organisms from the  Miocene age. The site was absolutely fascinating and we were able to watch as paleontologists continue to unearth the intact skeletons of wonderfully named animals such as: Stink Pots, Fruit Eating Dogs, and Giant Bone Crushing Dogs (that were about the size of a grizzly bear).

Niobrara is a dream for quiet people. We kept remarking over and over, "Do you hear that? No noise."

Just sounds.
Of birds and breezes.

Our cabin was located on a bluff that overlooked a valley of green in almost every shade. Each day started with a cup of coffee on our screen porch and ended with star gazing. In between we ate simple meals in our tiny kitchen, played games, and took naps—when we weren't hiking, swimming, or kayaking.

One of the highlights of the trip for me was shopping at the local market. The thing about the businesses in Niobrara (and I think there are maybe five of them), they're all named after someone: Woody's, Terry's, Vic's, Jimmy Dean's, and (the store that allowed me to trip back through time) Farnick's.

I'm certain— based on the design of the fold up shopping carts—that Farnick's is an old Piggly Wiggly. Do you remember when grocery stores were small? And every item had a price sticker? And the old feller behind the single cash register read a book while you shopped and then put his book flat down on the counter to ring you up, which involved punching in the prices on all the stickers? Do you remember filling white wax bags with Brach's Royals caramels? 

Well, that's Farnick's. 

My kids found these things to be oddities. It occurred to me they'd never experienced a store without a scanner or a debit card swipe machine. 

They wanted to know more about the old days.

Ever had a Kolaché? Me either. We drove down the main drag in Verdigre in search of the Kolaché capital's famous pastry, but the bakery was closed. Instead we drove to a nearby village called Winnetoon (population 68) and saw an Amish fellow walk down the sidewalk, which turned out to be just as exciting to us as a Kolaché.

So this week we have no tips for you.

No insights.

No resources or how to's.

Just some scenes from a week of lazy, restorative, Midwest goodness.

We hope they inspire you to create your own lazy and restorative experiences, no matter where you live.

Cheers to enjoying the last days of summer!

Deana Ward

Simple & Soulful Creative, Lincoln, Nebraska

Simple & Soulful Creative is a Squarespace design studio that helps solopreneurs + small businesses clean up their messaging + launch gorgeous (easy-to-manage) websites.

About The Author

Deana Ward is a Squarespace website designer, copywriter, and consultant who helps soulful entrepreneurs align their brands and set up efficient business systems—while guiding them to take simple, tangible steps toward their professional goals. Her warm, personal approach goes beyond website design. It includes one-on-one training, accountability, and idea decluttering—which empowers her clients to get up and running so much faster than going it alone.

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