Saturday, September 3, 2011

Desmet, SD Part 2

After we were done with the tour in town, then we headed to The Ingalls Homestead. The sites in town were part of a tour led by the Laura Ingalls Wilder Society. They were a tour where you could look and listen, not touch or try. I am so glad that we went there first and Ewe took the tour by herself. 
The Ingalls Homestead is called Laura's Living Prairie and it was the complete opposite of the sites in town. Our Lambs were a great age to go to this. We had only read the first book (Little House in the Big Woods) so the Lambs were a little confused asking to see sites that were in WI in that book, not sites that were in DeSmet. The tour didn't make much sense to them. Ingalls Homestead encouraged the children to touch everything. We stayed until 6pm and had a great afternoon. We all agreed we were glad we went there second. 
Ingalls Homestead was expensive, our family was $36 with AAA discount and Lamb 3 was free. We all agreed it was worth it.

First we all climbed this tower.

Climbing the tower gave me the first chance in my life to really visualize 160 acres. This photo doesn't show it well, but you can see some of the 160 acres. Yes they had to work hard. Yes they had to pay filing fees. But after 5 years if they met all the requirements they got 160 acres for about $16 of fees. Pa far exceeded the requirements and easily got his land.

This photo was also taken from the tower. The white building was a  museum showing all the places the Ingalls family lived. The only place they lived that was not mentioned in the books was Burr Oak, IA. That was not a happy time in their life when her parents ran a hotel and lived next to a saloon. She only wanted to write books about happy memories for children.
In the back of the photo are 5 cottonwood trees that are what remains of the thousands that Pa planted on the homestead claim. 

I took this photo of the places Laura Ingalls Wilder lived. The numbers are in order where they lived-yes they lived some places twice.

Lamb 1 standing in a hayloft barn like Pa built.

Lamb 2 working hard to pump water-can you see it in the photo coming out of the pipe?

Lamb 1 and 2 in a sleigh-I pictured my Grandma riding to church in this.

We took many photos of the Lambs riding and driving the stagecoach.

We rode a covered wagon that was built for rides at the Ingalls Homestead, much larger than a real covered wagon. 

Each Lamb had a turn to take hold of the reins and drive the horses.
Lamb 3

Lamb 1

Lamb 2 left his hat in the car and was sunburned the next day.

In the driving seat of the wagon

Then there was an old car repair garage with activities for the children. The Lambs each used this machine to make a jump rope and see how they made rope.

The Lambs each used a corn sheller to get the corn off the cob and make a corn cob doll. They were so happy to each have their own doll to name and hold on the way home. Shh... don't tell them only girls are supposed to have dolls. They made a little bed for them the next day out of a shoebox and bandanas for blankets.

They each took a turn to practice grinding wheat.

Lamb 1 practiced playing a pump organ. I couldn't help but contrast that with the pump organ behind a rope that we couldn't touch at the site in town.

Lamb 2 practiced sewing with a machine like Ma was so happy to receive.

The Lambs all helped to wash clothes on a washboard and hang them on the clothesline.

When we first got there the Lambs were timid, but before we left they all took a pony ride.
Lamb 3 had a miniature pony

Lamb 1 has come so far from his fear of animals

Lamb 2

We sat in the pony cart but didn't take a real ride. It reminded me of Winona's Pony Cart (Betsy Tacy).

It was 6pm but we still weren't done in DeSmet. More next time...

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