“Ma’s Cabin”

We left from Indiana this morning (6/26/16) headed to De Smet, South Dakota.  We arrived about 4:00 P.M. and decided to head to the guided tour from the Surveyor’s House.  But, the tour guide informed us because of our schedule, we should check out the Ingalls’ homestead first.

When we arrived at the homestead, we bought our tickets for $12.00 (the cost for anyone over 5, but tickets are good for the duration of your stay), and we headed out to explore.


The “Whatnot Cabinet”

The homestead offers a variety of experiences for young people.  First, the grounds boast replicas of buildings with items from the time period.  There’s even an opportunity to camp in wagon shaped cabins!  We saw a soddie (house cut into the ground with walls made of sod pieces.) like the dug out the Ingalls were given. But, one of my favorite place was known as “Ma’s cabin.”  Since we had read By the Shores of Silver Lake on our trip up, I was especially excited to see the whatnot cabinet, complete with a little shepherdess.  The cabin  also held a copy of Pa’s homestead claim which was neat to see. Outside of the cabin, we got to do laundry the old-fashioned way with a washboard and tub, a wringer, and a clothesline.


Anna driving the mules

From there, we headed down to the barn where kids were able to take pony rides or drive a pony cart. We also were able to catch a wagon ride during which kids were allowed to steer (with assistance).  We had one rather ornery mule who let the other one do all the work, so he had to be disciplined a bit more.  This also was a good experience for the children to help them understand that driving a mule is much harder than it looks.  The wagon took us out to the school house where kids were able to don costumes (bonnets and pinafores for girls, straw hats for boys.)  The students did a few historic warm up exercises and solved a riddle.

When the wagon dropped us off, we were able to go back to the machinery shop where we got to twist rope, grind wheat, and make corn cob dolls.  This also helped visitors understand more of prairie life.  You can find out more information on the Ingalls homestead  here.

By then, it was getting close to closing time (7:00), so we left to go grab dinner and take some costumed shots.  More fun around town tomorrow.