Tuesday, August 23, 2016

The Laura Tour!

Get your wagons hitched and head west!  We joined in the historical tour of what life was like back in the olden days.  After hopping on The Laura Ingalls Wilder historical highway, we hit a few familiar spots.....

Remember when Ma and Pa hitched up the wagon and headed to "town" - we went through Sleepy Eye!!!!  

 We then headed over the "The Little Soddy On The Prarie".....  these aren't the original soddy or dug outs that Laura would've lived in - but this particular place was featured on the History Channel.  It is amazing because these houses gave us a REAL picture of life on the prarie.

 Now, the inside was pretty impressive.  This was a wealthier soddy because it had a wood floor.  And the furnishing were a bit more modern.
 In case you were wondering what a soddy outhouse looked like.....
 6 inch deep sod layers - 4 inches think.... pretty impressive insulation.
 Next up was a dug out.
What's the difference????  The dug out was literally dug out - dirt floors.  Usually they were cave like and dug out into hills so that you only had to sod 1 full side.  They were the poor mans sod house.  But it didn't have to be built into anything - it simply means you started by digging out the floor for more room.
 The inside is more sparse, usually smaller, and sometimes they had a loft - so you "lived" downstairs and slept upstairs.
 Both girls agreed that they didn't like the dugout very much.

What we learned about the soddy that really solidified our belief that we are glad we live NOW and not back then....   So the roof is sod, on top of straw, on top of wood.... so if it rained - it would "rain" inside (slow drips everywhere) for 2-3 days - until it dried out.  ugh.  And sometimes mice would nest in your house, and sometimes snakes would fall through the ceiling while looking for prey.  Awesome - not!  The girls were also shocked at how many people could fit in to that small space.
 And when on the prairie.... one must frolic!

 How do you think you'd like living in a soddy?  Until recently, they'd let you rent it overnight to try it out.....

Once we learned all we could about how they lived... we moved on to WHERE they lived.... Walnut Grove - home of Laura Ingalls!

No stop in Walnut Grove is complete without lunch at Nellie's!


 Then onto the Laura Ingalls Wilder museum!
The girls wanted to see how they would look as little pioneer girls....

 Some of my favorite - hearing about the REAL people behind the TV show that I love so much.
Everything Laura wrote in her books were real life.  It was so interesting to "hear" Laura talk about her beloved memories in taped interviews.  Like when she compared what Almonzo wore in the show vs.  in real life.
Here is a picture of the real Ma and Pa Ingalls....
 The real Carrie, Mary, and Laura...
 Laura and Almanzo (and in her interview she pronounces it Al-man-zo)
 And the Oleson family was really the "owens" family - she changed their name in her books.

Once again, we got to check out a dugout similar to the one Laura's family settled in on Plum Creek.  Plum Creek is only a few miles from the museum - but it was raining by the time we left so we didn't go, since there isn't a dugout left - just the impression of where it once was.
 They had a replica of Laura's school house that we checked out.....

 And read up on some history of homesteading - and what the pioneers had to pack for their grand new adventure.  The girls both agreed that we had it easy these days!
 We got to try out the replica of the Olesons store....
 Of the hard lives of pioneer girls....
 After getting in a covered wagon, all I have to say is... that thing is small and rickety.  I can't believe they lived in them for months while heading west.  wow.... tough and determined people!

Oh my goodness... we had a great time learning about Laura Ingalls Wilder and seeing what life was like out here on the prairie in the 1800's.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Eagles and Toys

We girls (Megan, Nicole, Auntie Dawn, and I, headed down to southern MN today. 
First stop... National Eagle Center!



 This is a really neat educational center.  They have 5-6 eagles that can't be released to the wild.  Most have had hurt wings, and some had lead poisoning.  Personally I learned a ton about lead poisoning in the wild.
 



 Megan was chosen to play a role in one of the scheduled talks... she's a cute momma eagle isn't she.



This guy is a youngster.  He's also a bald Eagle - but just got here.  When he's about 5-6 he'll have the signature white head.

After our afternoon with the eagles - we headed to Lark Toys, in Kellog MN.  Which is a huge toy store plus other fun stuff!!!!

 They had an amazing toy store - of new toys, handmade wooden toys, and toys from the past.
 We loved their museum of toys we played with as a child!
 Then we took a spin on the hand carved/painted carousel.  Wow!  Each charter was so unique and had a story to go with it.  See the troll on the back of Nicole's pig....
 and the baby otters on the momma's tail....

 Megan tried to zoom over Auntie Dawn....



 After a day of fun and driving - we headed to a local hotel that also happened to have a great little water park....

Next up....  Laura Ingalls Wilder Highway......