Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Pioneer Girls

I can't make the pictures work quite right, but the first one is of Laura's dugout site, the second one is of the homesteading house outside of De Smet, SD, and the third one is of Caddie Woodlawn's house. Caddie's house is the real house where she lived, and the homesteading house is made just the same as the one Laura's Pa built. You can read more about this in this post.

We have been traveling across the country, and we got to see lots of places where pioneer girls lived. One pioneer girl was Caddie Woodlawn. Her real name was Caroline Woodhouse, but they called her Caddie. When she was a girl, she lived in Wisconsin on the frontier, because this was back in the 1860s. Kind of when Laura was born in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. The place where her family lived is a park now. They have their real house, and also a pump where you can pump water, and some other things. There is no one who works there, so you just look around and have a picnic.

The other pioneer girl whose places we went to was Laura Ingalls Wilder. I have loved those books almost forever. First we went to Pepin, Wisconsin, where she was born. They built a log cabin that is like the one her Pa made. They also had souvenir shops.

Then we went to Walnut Grove. That is where Plum Creek is, where they lived in a dugout, which is a house dug into the side of a creek bed or something, and also their house, but their house wasn't there any more. There was a lot of stuff in the museum about the TV show of Little House on the Prairie, because that was where the TV show was.

We went to a pageant, which is a play that people put on about something like history or something they care about. This one was about Walnut Grove when the Ingalls family lived there. It was very fun.

Then we went to De Smet. That is where her family stayed for the longest. They have a very good museum there, and other things too. This was the place with the best things to look at and buy. The people there knew a lot about the books, and also what happened to the family after the books were done.
Then the best thing happened!

We went to the Loftus store, which is still there, and the man who worked there asked if we were staying in a covered wagon at the Ingalls Homestead. We didn't know about those! So we went and asked, and we got to stay in a covered wagon (even though it was more like a tinker's wagon or something, and not a prairie schooner). We also got to see the really wonderful museum the people made there. And we made a corn cob doll, and a button toy. We cooked our dinner in a dutch oven with legs, like what they called a spider in the books. (This was ours, so if you go, you should bring your own.)

What is really cool is this is the real place where Pa homesteaded. That is where people used to be able to get land from the government for almost no money (they just had to pay for a certificate or something). Pa did this, and the family lived there. We made our fire with branches and twigs that fell to the ground from the actual cottonwood trees Pa planted. We got to ride a covered wagon to a school built at just the same time as the Perry School where Laura taught for a term. And they had lots of pioneer crafts to do, and I got to do them even though I'm not really a little kid, but it was okay to do them at this museum. That was great.

If you like Laura Ingalls Wilder, you should definitely go to De Smet. The people we met there also really like her, and they make things at the museums as much like when she was alive there as they can. They have really good things.
Oh! Also, when we were getting souvenirs, one of them was a CD with a recording of Laura's ACTUAL VOICE. That is so cool! We will be traveling more, and other parts have lots they want to say, but I am taking my turn now, and they can write their own things later. This is Michelle.

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The Land We Belong to is Grand

Okay, so we haven't been to Oklahoma, and we're not likely to go there on this trip, but the statement still holds.

This is likely to be a rather scattered post, for a few reasons. First, because it's late, and we've been traveling all day. Second, because I haven't had the time to really stop and think for a while. Third, because W. is in the same room, and likely to be talking, which distracts me. But mostly, because lots of different parts have things they want to have mentioned, and they're all being noisy trying to get their own words in.

We've been seeing a lot of the country, but like any kind of knowledge, what I'm realizing more and more is how little of the country we're actually managing to see. It's been amazing nevertheless.

Getting off the main roads makes the traveling all the more interesting. We have only gone to two nation-wide eateries so far. Other than that, it's been all of those little local chains, or independent places. This means we're never quite sure what to expect with food, but also that we've had some really great experiences.

One of the good things about the trip so far is that there's been something for everyone. We've seen lots of animals, and gotten lots of chances to look at the stars. We've met all kinds of different people, and gotten to know more about the US (and a bit of Canada). We've visited historical sites, which has been especially neat since it's lots of places we've read about for years, and now we get to see what the land around them is like, and to learn more things about all of it.

I think we will get more chances to write next week, since we'll be more settled for a couple of weeks (visiting my home town), but who knows? Hopefully, we will still remember what has been happening and how to describe it when there's more of a chance to post.

The best thing is that pretty much all of the parts who have been out have been enjoying themselves and the trip has been relatively trouble-free so far (knock wood).

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Our trip

We started our trip on June 30, by going to a family thing and then visiting a friend. Then we started driving. I will write more about it later when we have more time and stuff, but things are going pretty well. W. is doing some of the driving, which helps. It also helps that we're making sure to have fun, and we're getting along and things like that.

Don't feel like I've got much time for posting, so that's all I will say for right now.

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