July 17, 2015

Day 1: Wilder Farm

I love my little gang of troopers.  We are taking some historical pit stops as we travel over the river and through the woods.  The first leg of our trip was a long day trip where we stopped at The Almonzo Wilder Farm in Malone, NY, and then road a ferry into Vermont to end up at the Birthplace of Joseph Smith.

We started out with a no-screens rule.  We listened to Ultimate Broadway CDs and the kids loved the songs trying to guess which musical they were from.

We had no stops and no fighting all the way to the Wilder Farm.
We raced when we got out of the car.
I love this picture because I caught Drew being the teasing, touching older brother that he is.  :)
Can you tell why my kids were SO excited for this peanut butter and jelly lunch?

White bread.
I never buy it, but it really is so good with PBnJ isn't it?

The Almonzo Wilder Farm
We are currently reading Laura Ingalls Wilder's book Farmer Boy, again.  It is our favorite.

The Wilders were a very wealthy, very hardworking family.  This barn is the only original home that remains from any of the Little House on the Prairie books.  A man named Jim showed us around.  Jim and his wife are just retired folks from Arizona who love Laura Ingalls.  

They started by touring all her sites and ended by volunteering here through the summers.  They have done a lot of historical research on the family and were a wealth of neat background information.
First of all, Almonzo's name was really Al"man"zo.
He was very quiet, hardly talked at all.
And, Laura was very short-- around 4'11" if I remember correctly.
My kids were all interested throughout the tour.  But, obviously Ben and Eve did not have the attention span that the older kids did.  I spent a lot of time holding Ben and whispering questions into his ear- like "Ooo!  Where's the baby?" He would look around, point and squeal when he found what I had asked about.

Our guide was great.  He loved that the kids were interested and wasn't nervous or bothered by so many active little ones.  He also really involved them with questions and things that they could do.

I learned that the command "Gee" got yoked cows to turn right.  Todd's mother's maiden name is Gee.  I kind of love that.  

Eve roamed a bit.  I had to keep reminding her to look with her eyes and not to touch with her hands.  If she touched, I would ask her to hold my hand for a little bit and then we would try again without holding hands.
I wish I had taken a picture of the cool cow paddock they had built into their barn area.  They positioned their barns to block the snow drifts so they had an almost inside area to train their cows and horses during the winter.  It was neat.

Here the kids could pump water that rode on a wooden slide straight into a wooden trough area inside the paddock.  They would all take a turn pumping and then running to see if the trough was full.
We loved the barns.  It was so neat to see how they set everything up.
The house was great!  It really was neat walking where these people really walked and seeing so many places from the book.  Ma's pantry, the basement, the bedrooms, the "refrigerator" in the basement, the place on the wall where they found blacking stains under the wallpaper!  Most of the cool stories were in the photograph books that our guide would show us.  Our tour was long and so cool.
Here is a picture of the real Nellie Olsen, the mean shopkeepers daughter.  She was really a compilation of 3 sisters with her brother Willie and their last name was Owens. (Name changed to protect the unkind.)
We came home with a lantern ornament for our Christmas tree, some hats for our upcoming Pioneer Trek, and a pocketful of 5 cent candies.
It was really neat to actually see this farm at a time when my kids are so into these books.  They know the stories so well that now they really have a place to attach to the story.

Almonzo Wilder Homestead Favorites:: Ben- chicken coop, Eve- barn and coop, Lily- candy, Leah- pumping water, Ellie- chamber pots, Anna- wool, Drew- tools, buggies, and cow area, Jen- seeing the parlor wall where the blacking brush marked, and Todd- 3-sided barnyard area and the pantry where Al"man"zo would sneak goodies. #mosstrek2015


What a fun trip.
Just call me Ma.

1 comment:

Montserrat Wadsworth said...

Farmer Boy is my favorite in the series! It always makes us hungry when we read it again. And tired. They sure worked hard and were able to provide for themselves with their own two hands!

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