It's a Beautiful Tree

roots, branches, leaves, acorns, blossoms, and nuts. . . every story, every person, every generation.


Julie Phelps

Bio: As a trophy-wife and stay at home mother to three occasionally brilliant whirling dervishes, I spend most of my days eating bon-bons while laying on the couch, deeply immersed in my favorite tawdry daytime television dramas. Of course, I do this on the sly while my sugar/baby-daddy toils his fingers to the bone in the salt mines. When I’m not busy holding down the couch, I’m writing witty repartee on the interwebs, out on walkabout with my fancy picture making magic box, or barreling down the back roads of the Lone Star State on the Crazy Train. I've been accused of wasting a hell of a lot of time on education, but, once upon a time, you couldn’t just download your fancy wall-hangings from the 'net. I'm a storyteller, not an historian-- all those annoying footnotes, endnotes, insidenotes, outsidenotes, and whatevernotes distract me. I'm pretty disorganized, but I love searching for great stories. I've found that history is often WAY more interesting than anything we can make up.

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6 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi Julie, My cousin, Jim Meredith shared your post regarding Helen Ekin Starrett on FaceBook. We too are her great-grand children. Our Great Grand Father was Goldwin Starrett. The Dinwiddies were cousins of my Grandmother Isabell Starrett Hunt and I remember meeting Jim when he came to our family ranch in Arizona in the 1970s. I love your blog. I live in Vienna, Austria, if you’re ever in/around give me a ring. Elizabeth


    1. Elizabeth– I love how the Internet has the power to bring people together! I am so very happy to meet you. Please keep up here on the blog because there is so much more I have to share. I am only getting started (with sharing, that is–the research is years and years and years in the making!). And I most definitely have pictures to share. This is exciting!!! Please also email me at, and you can friend me on facebook as well (though I must warn you, sometimes I’m a not very well behaved on facebook!) I am so very excited to meet you!


  2. Hi Julie,
    Thank you for doing this. John Eakin Dinwiddie was my grandfather. I have the carving from the Tahoe cabin. I can send you a photo if you like.


  3. Hi Julie,
    Interesting blog–we have several pursuits in common. Always delighted when I stumble upon a detailed history geek blog like yours!

    I wanted to clarify something in your latest post re LIW and events celebrating her life and work. LauraPalooza is an academic conference, NOT a “fan festival.” It’s important to make the distinction, as the fandom and the scholarship intersect to some degree, but are not one and the same.

    While many of us who are members of LIWLRA and/or organizers of the conference enjoy the fictional representstions of LIW, the conference itself is a gathering which focuses upon scholarship in a variety of fields, including history, music, meteorology, physics, law, textile arts, foodways, social science, curriculum planning and literary study.

    Full disclosure: some of us LIW scholars present educational history programming professionally and have custom historical reproduction outfits which we wear when portraying Laura. But this ain’t no ComiCon.

    LP is the only academic conference devoted to the life and work of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Although all of the relevant homesite museums host annual celebrations, LauraPalooza is hosted by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association, and, being a newish organization with a small but devoted volunteer board, the conference is not an annual event. The first two were held in 2010 and 2012, at Minnnesota State University-Mankato. The third is happening this 16-17 July 2015 at South Dakota State University in Brookings.

    The next LP will be in 2017. But there is still time to register for this summer’s conference if you are interested in attending. We’d love to have you! Details here:

    Melanie Stringer
    Dakota Yankee Research/Meet Laura Ingalls Wilder, LLC

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you SO SO SO much for this clarification and all these details!!!! I had no idea this was such a different endeavor! It sounds like LauraPalooza is actually much more up my alley than the “ComiCon” type other festivals. This makes me giddy with excitement, yet somewhat disappointed I can’t put out a bowl of Children Chow for my 5, 8, and 10 year olds and take off for South Dakota!
      I’ll definitely have to put it on my calendar for 2017! I would LOVE to go! Thank you SO MUCH!!!


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