Friday, June 24, 2011

Little House in the Big Woods

This past weekend we actually took the girls sight-seeing while visiting the in-laws in southwestern Minnesota. I say "actually" because it seems that no matter whose parents we're visiting, his or mine, we sit at their house on our butts, visiting away, and never visit the area where they live.

We went to the Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove, MN, the neighboring town where my mother-in-law was raised. And someone else lived there for a few years, too, you may have heard of her: Laura Ingalls Wilder.

As a little girl I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder. Adored. I have a little bonnet someone made for me that I used to play pioneer girl in; it has now been passed on to my kids. My sister and I used to walk around the house with a blindfold on so we could experience what it may have felt like to be Laura's sister, Mary, who was blinded by an illness in childhood. (We also played piano with said blindfold on -- it takes practice but we got pretty good.)  I read the entire Little House series something like 5 or 6 times between the ages of 8 and 18. I still have the entire set, ready and waiting to pass on to one of my kids once they show an interest.

We now have an interest.

Covered wagon, actual size. Pioneer wagons were 4'x10' and had to carry everything a family needed.
The museum is set up with miniature building built like the various places featured throughout the books: the church, school house, sod house, and other such places. Throughout the displays we learned about how they made butter and cheese, cleaned clothes, cooked with a woodburning stove, and other strange things. The girls didn't pay much attention to those, they were too busy running from building to building, pretending to be the schoolteacher, the preacher, the mom.

Giddy-up, horsie!
While some items are behind ropes or under glass, others are ready for a hands-on experience. After a fun time running from building to building, we headed back to the gift shop where Lindsey picked out her own bonnet.

And a book.

She was a quarter of the way through by the time we made it back to Wayne's parents house 20 minutes away. She would've been further along but she had to share the stories with us along the way. I remembered lots of them as she recounted them: Pa mistakenly had a stand-off with a tree stump that he thought was a bear, Laura's corn cob doll, waking up with snow on the tops of her bed covers.

I now have an assignment this weekend: dig through the books I've saved in the basement and find my entire collection so she can begin book two.

I can't wait to share Laura's adventures with my girls.

1 comment:

  1. Oh.. I just love it. I watched the TV show EVERY day after school. I never read the books, but decided some time back I was going to read all the books to Marly and Dean and take them to all the sites someday!