Grateful for Grace posted on her blog about Ma Ingalls recently, and it got me to thinking about our trip to De Smet, South Dakota to the Ingalls Homestead the summer of 2007. The two oldest boys' birthdays are a day apart, so I got the idea that we should read the entire Little House on the Prairie book set and then go to De Smet for their birthdays. So, when school was finished the end of May, we started Little House in the Big Woods, and we read straight through until we finished These Happy Golden Years, right before we left for our trip. It was so much fun to read the books and then go and see where they actually lived. Here are a few of the highlights of our trip.
At the Homestead, there is a recreation of Ma and and Pa's house. If you remember from the books, it was only one room to start, and then he added on. It was amazing to see how small their house was and how they all lived in such tiny place.
Here are the girls in their bonnets we purchased there. The wagon was surprisingly small. I guess I imagined a much bigger one, thinking they had more room to haul all of their worldly possessions.
They have many hands-on activities for people to try from life during Laura's childhood. Here is Leia trying out the water pump. It was pretty hard for her to work!
There was a wash board and a ringer to show how they did laundry. It made us very thankful for our washer and dryer!
Luke was grinding wheat. Also a lot of work!
We took a wagon ride to an authentic school house a short way away. Here you can see two wagons returning to the homestead. You can see how flat and open it is. They had fields of corn and wheat growing to show how big Pa's crop was.
This is the only picture I got showing the outside of school house. It wasn't the one that Laura taught at, but one from that time they had moved onto the homestead. It was really neat to see it. Here are Hubby, Padme and Luke on the wagon arriving at the school house.
In the school house, there was a teacher who gave a short lesson and told what school would have been like for Laura. They had straw hats for the boys to wear and bonnets for the girls. Here is Obi sitting at one of the desks.
Here are all of the kids, at the time, in front of the stove at the front of the school.
Here is Padme in a stagecoach.
One of the girls favorite things at the Homestead were the kittens in the barn.
After spending time at the Homestead, we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Pageant where the play was These Happy Golden Years. Here hubby is with a sleeping Padme waiting for the Pageant to start. We got there a bit early to get good seats.
And after the pageant, a group shot. It was a great vacation. I hope we can go again when the younger kids are older so they can remember it better.