Last Day on the Prairie

Last Day on the Prairie

(continued from here and here)
Day 2
After our delicious, homemade breakfast of French toast and fresh fruit that I mentioned here, we headed to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society for a walking tour of some historic homes. While we couldn’t take photos inside the homes, it was really neat to have a guide explain more detailed history of the Ingalls’ life in De Smet, and to see, firsthand, some of the places Laura describes in her books.
To be honest, I have not read all of the Little House books. Yet. But as a family project, all of us are reading them together. Even my husband! In an effort “to be on the same page” with what our children are most enjoying at this time. We’re not necessarily reading out loud to my oldest daughter, as she is really starting to enjoy reading alone. But we’re making it a point to read them all (roughly) at the same time. We’re even including the My First Little House books, such as this one, for my Kindergartener.

First up on the tour: the original Surveyor’s House from By the Shores of Silver Lake. This little porch was added on in an effort to preserve the original exterior of the house. Going through that screen door, the exterior wall is in its original wood.

Next stop: a replica of the Brewster School, where Laura taught, in an effort to raise enough money to send Mary to a school for the blind.
My daughter and her new friend from a southern state. They exchanged addresses in hopes of being pen pals.
We then headed into another one-room school house. This one being the first school of De Smet. This is where Laura, Carrie and Grace actually attended school.

A few blocks away stands the home that Charles Ingalls built as a final house for him and Caroline. Mary, Carrie and Grace also lived here, but at this point Laura and Almanzo already were married. We could not take photos in this home either. There are a lot of family heirlooms within it, which were neat to see.

After our walking tour, we headed out to the Ingalls Homestead. This is the land on which Charles Ingalls set claim in 1880. You can read more about its history here. But this portion of our trip was probably the most “fun,” because of how many hands-on activities there were to do, including making corncob dolls, learning how rope was made, practicing sewing on an old-fashioned sewing machine and more!
The actual spot where the house stood.
Playing music on a “pump” organ.
Learning how clothes were washed, wrung and dried way back then.

Visiting with horses and ponies. The biggest highlight for my animal-loving six-year-old.

Taking a covered-wagon ride …

… through the cornfield,
… to reach the one-room schoolhouse for an actual mini-school session. My oldest was in her glory. She. loved. this.
On our way to our second B&B, we drove past the five Cottonwood trees that Pa planted. And we then had a very relaxing night of hanging out, reading and playing games, before we ventured back home (a five-hour drive) the next day.
But before we packed up our “covered wagon” for the last time and headed home, we enjoyed another homemade breakfast. This time, my girls were treated to pancake men, just like Ma used to make.

For breakfast there were pancakes, and Ma made a pancake man for each one of the children. Ma called each one in turn to bring her plate, and each could stand by the stove and watch, while with the spoonful of batter Ma put on the arms and the legs and the head. It was exciting to watch her turn the whole little man over, quickly and carefully, on a hot griddle. When it was done, she put it smoking hot on the plate.

Peter ate the head off his man, right away. But Alice and Ella and Mary and Laura ate theirs slowly in little bits, first the arms and legs and then the middle, saving the head for the last.
—From Little House in the Big Woods, pages 79-80
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5 thoughts on “Last Day on the Prairie

  1. oh this looks like so much fun! are those your girls in the prairie clothes? were the costumes there or did they choose to wear them? so cute!

  2. I have to tell you that this is just beyond wonderful! The trip you have taken will be with your children FOREVER.
    And I am still green with envy!

  3. i am green with envy too!
    that little school room is so darling!
    what an awesome trip for your family, sarah!
    i have never read all of the books either, my mom and my girl did though. it was very special for the two of them. it took a while but it was so worth it. (i was a bit jealous though)

    so nice to see your house progressing too! how exciting! any baby news? how are you feeling? hope all is well with you and yours.

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