It took me awhile to post the millions of pictures for this post. If you're not a fan of the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, this post is not for you. It will be really boring!
We had a great time visiting the Ingalls homestead. Other than an allergic reaction, it was fabulous.
I took this picture from the top of a tall lookout. It was there so you could look out over the homestead. Over the years, they have added many buildings to the homestead for tourism. The only ones that were originally there was the house and the barn. In this picture above, you can see the 5 cottonwood trees Pa planted. One for each of his girls. The white building is an old schoolhouse they brought in that they use as a museum.
From the top again. The little house in the trees is the original homestead. That other large farmhouse holds museum type stuff.
You could spend the night in these wagons! I called 2 months before we visited but they were booked so we stayed in a hotel.
The kids had a lot of freedom to run around.
They put in a dugout house so you could see what a dugout house was like. The Ingalls lived in one in Minnesota before they came to South Dakota.
In the dugout.
This picture is inside a really little claim shanty that was still in decent condition that they brought for tourism.
This was the barn on the homestead. It was in shambles, so they had to rebuild it. It was where the Ingalls family kept their livestock.
The kids had fun using their water pump.
They are guessing this may have been where the Ingalls family planted part of their garden, so there was a nice garden there. The little house is in the background.
They put out laundry to dry to make it look real.
The front of the homestead.
Elizabeth sitting at Mary's organ. It's not really Mary's organ. It's one that is similar. Mary's was moved to town and is in the house in town.
Sewing at Ma's sewing machine. Again, not the original. However, everything was in their original places and things were as realistic as they could make them.
The corner shelf and china woman.
There was an adorable little pony there. The kids had a great time playing with this little one.
Nathan's first time on a horse! Elizabeth got to drive the cart and for some reason made an Ernest face at me.
Off on their ride and drive.
Elizabeth came back riding the horse.
Here is the picture of what you see entering the Ingalls house. Their stove was right when you entered and the 2 bedrooms were in front of you.
Elizabeth sitting on one of the 2 girls beds.
Ma and Pa's bedroom.
Ok, so this is when our troubles started. Elizabeth came back from her first horse ride and everything seemed just fine.
We boarded this "bus" to take the kids to the one room schoolhouse for their lesson.
The kids got to take turns driving.
We arrived at the schoolhouse. The teacher was waiting for us. It was probably a 15-20 minute drive out there. As we're getting out, Elizabeth is complaining she is itchy. We look down and she has hives all over her inner legs and inner arms. She had rubbed her eyes because they were itchy and her eyes were slightly swollen. Being the fabulous mother that I am, I had no benadryl on me. You would think with all our constant allergy problems, I would have thought to bring some with me?? It was back at the hotel. I had the epi-pens with me of course for extreme situations, but this seemed to me to be environmental and the hives were localized, not widespread. I felt so terrible.
The kids still had to sit through a 20 minute lesson and then a 20 minute drive back. Then, we could hop in the car and head to the hotel to wash her off and give her benadryl. Obviously, I kept a close eye on her and had my Epi-Pen on hand in case the hives started spreading or she started coughing or having breathing troubles. So she was pretty miserable and fussy and crying because she was so itchy. However, the hives didn't spread and she had no issues with breathing or coughing.
Here is a picture of them in class. This was their first of FOUR one room schoolhouses we saw on this trip. So Elizabeth cried and fussed for the next 45 minutes. We tried getting some bottled water and washing those spots off. It wasn't an easy time.
We still don't know what it was. It happened just after she rode the horse. But I don't think her legs or arms even touched the horse?? Could it still have been the horse? Was it the leather? Did the kid riding before have peanut butter rubbed all over their legs? Was it somehow the prairie grasses? The horse makes the most sense to us as we know she's very allergic to cats. The kids go in for the annual allergy test next week (always a fun day....) so I guess we'll see?
We went back to the hotel, scrubbed her down, gave her benadryl, and used benadryl cream all over her hives. They cleared up pretty quickly and she felt loads better although she was quite freaked out and kept checking for hives. Actually, it's like 3 weeks later and she is STILL coming up to me every 5 minutes asking if she has a hive.
We came back and visited the Lutheran church they had moved to the homestead. It was very similar to every other Lutheran church of the time period. For some reason, it feels like I've been in many a church like this. I was baptized in a church that looks quite a lot like this one!
We did a quick tour of the church.
Nathan did some readings.
Elizabeth played some hymns (not really, they were too hard).
Next, we went and did some of the activities. Nathan ground wheat into flour using a coffee grinder just like they did in The Long Winter.
I think Jeremy was hoping he was grinding coffee instead of wheat....
They made corn cob dolls.
Nathan wanted to ride the horse again and Elizabeth seemed ok with just sitting in the cart as she thought it was the horse that maybe gave her the hives.
They rode on a fun merry go round.
They also made their own jump ropes out of twine.
Making jump ropes. In the background, you can see a load full of twisted hay much like Laura and Pa twisted in the long winter. And it was actually hay! One of my big pet peeves is when places use straw and call it hay....grrr....
So other than the allergy attack, it was a good visit. I figured we'd have to have one good allergy attack sometime on our trip. We always do. At least it wasn't food. We were careful enough there and didn't end up with any food allergy problems. We had our cooler of food and prepackaged meals for Nathan. We spent most of the trip eating sandwiches and heating up mac and cheese for Elizabeth and tv dinners for Nathan. I'm not really sure what Jeremy and I ate. I think I ate sandwiches for most meals. I guess one "upside" to all these allergy problems is that we don't spend a lot at restaurants since we can't eat at them?