Wednesday, July 31, 2013
Old World Wisconsin Take 2
Saturday I left Prairie Sherry at the Farmer's Market since she had 20 pound boxes of canning tomatoes to hawk. (Thanks, Edith!) I went with my family to Old World Wisconsin. We met my niece Molly there. She was wearing a prairie dress and my old sunbonnet. (Sniff) It was the last weekend of Laura Ingalls Wilder Days, a Laura festival that has little to do with Laura other than a look-a-like contest.
The weather was chilly and we all wore sweat shirts. A big difference from the 95 degree heat and high humidity Sharon and I experienced on our visit two weeks earlier. (Refer to Eydie and Sharon's Excellent Adventure blog for the details on that field trip.) There were lots of people at Old World. Drat. I forgot to take a photo of the parking lot. Sharon will never believe me that there really was an unruly line for the quilting bee.
Going to Old World Wisconsin with four kids under nine years of age is much different than going with a limp, heat exhausted Sharon. First off, I had to constantly worry about one of the kids backing into a pesky cast iron stove. I soon became exhausted from warning the kids about the stoves. It was a relief the stove was broken at the Inn, though the volunteer seemed very apologetic. She was supposed to be popping popcorn.
Also, I had to continually think of modern day analogies so the kids could connect between past and present. Here is a cheat sheet for those of you planning a visit to Old World Wisconsin with young children:
General Store = Target
Shoe Store = Target
Chicken Coop = Target
Garden = Target
I found myself saying inane things like, "In the 1870s people couldn't just run to Target and buy a new shirt. They had to use wool from these filthy sheep." or "In the olden times children were pleased to play with pine cones and corn cobs." My favorite was, "Back then kids weren't allowed to talk at the dinner table."
I had a "Come to Jesus" moment when my 3 year old daughter, Lulu, saw a gentle work horse and exclaimed, "Ohhhh!!! Elephant!!!!" I guess the third child doesn't go to the zoo as much as the first two children. The rest of the day I made a big deal about every horse we encountered. "Lulu! Look at the horse! See the horse? The horse has a mane. What does the horsie say?" I made a mental note to plan bi-weekly zoo visits between now and Labor Day. (Lulu also referred to a huge pile of straw as a nest. Sigh.)
Part of LIW days is doing "fun" olden time chores All the kids happily tossed off their flexible Keen sandals and clomped around in wooden shoes. (This was a perfect opportunity for me to once again tell the story of how their great-grandfather came to Wisconsin, from Holland, wearing wooden shoes. I had to chase after them into the chicken coop to finish the story.) The kids stacked wood, swept porches, washed dishes, and did laundry. These are the same kids who won't get under their covers so they don't have to make their beds in the morning. I guess chores are more fun if they aren't your chores.
I think next year I am going to volunteer at Old World Wisconsin. But only if I am can volunteer nowhere near an iron stove, I just couldn't handle the stress. I guess that would leave either outdoor laundry demonstrations or concise tours of chicken coops (The smell is deadly.)
Civil War Days starts August 1st at Old World. You know I'm going, so I'll see you there.