Last spring, I headed from Dallas to the Texas panhandle for fun. I didn’t have any solid plans other than knowing the destination. Traveling without limitation is invigorating like an eagle soaring through the deep blue skies without any worry or concerns. Wouldn’t you love to just open your wings and soar? Driving North on HWY 287 there was nothing but flat lands for as long as the eye could see, however, I saw some very interesting and historic small towns. One town in particular was Chillicothe, North of Vernon. This town was established in 1883 and was a successful farming town back in the day. There were abandoned shops and automobiles. There was an open suitcase in front of one of the shops which had one shoe inside it longing for a new owner. Across the street was a building that looked like an old jail, maybe one that could hold just a few people. This town was small and simple, one that holds stories of the past, one that I would love to learn more about. My next stop was at Caprock Canyons State Park which is located further Northwest off HWY 256 in Quitaque, Texas (pronounced Kitty-Kway). Upon entering the park I fell in love with the vast of colors the canyon presented, the nature all around and the 13 hiking trails which are available. The red & white rock formations are incredible. People have claimed they were formed 10,000 years ago but I’ve been studying Creation & now absolutely believe it is a lot younger than that. (check out the Institute of Creation Research for amazing facts on the age of the Earth, rocks, etc.) While there I only saw a few people, including a father carrying his son on his shoulders. The father told me they come out to Caprock pretty often to hike and relax. There are cliffs, overhangs, streams and wildlife that roam the park. Be sure to always have plenty of water for you and everyone in your group, even your pets. After leaving Caprock I headed towards Palo Duro Canyon State Park which is about 1 ½ hour north. The Park Rangers were very nice and informative, telling me the all about the park, the wildlife present and the best places to take photographs. Palo Duro has been nicknamed “The Grand Canyon of Texas” and is the second largest canyon in the United States. Georgia O’Keefe, a painter from the early 1900’s said “It is a burning, seething cauldron, filled with dramatic light and color.” I drove towards the end of the park where there was a large opening, perfect for star photography. The hiking trails here were a great challenge towards the end of the day as I climbed on some rocks and hiked through narrow trails. The sun going down was gorgeous as was the colors of the trees, the canyon and the sky. As the sky turned to black I proceeded to photograph some stars and I was amazed of how many there were since I am use to seeing the stars in a well-lit city. Settling in for the night watching the stars is something everyone should do from time to time and waking up to the sound of birds chirping is exceedingly better than an alarm buzzer going off.
When I was photographing some grave sites while in Granbury, Tx, I noticed some flowers carefully placed on top of a mound of dirt. While looking at the types of flowers that were in the arrangement, I couldn’t help but feel the love & tears that were left along with those flowers.
Driving up a country road, listening to the rocks crackle under the tires and watching the dust cloud form behind the car I see up in front of me a sign that says, “Ingalls Homestead, Home of Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1880-1885″. Needless to say, as a fan of Little House on the Prairie, I was super excited.
While covering a show in the lower south-eastern side of South Dakota for a few days in September, I was able to take a little road trip and decided to visit the Ingalls museum. On this blog, I will show you what I saw while there.
I didn’t know horses normally had chains around their neck. I’m not sure if this was with the Ingalls homestead but it was across the street from it.
When you drive up to the museum, you will see two covered wagons on the porch. When you open the door, you see a lot of wonderful knick-knacks and souvenirs from wall to wall. A greeter will ask for you to step into a room with another covered wagon where you can watch a short film about the Ingalls family and their journeys.
Afterwards, you will pay for your tickets to view the grounds, receive a map, ride in a horse-drawn carriage, learn how to make a rope, spin wool, watch and even participate in additional crafts such as straw binding, make corn husk dolls and more.
The first stop is the tower to view the grounds. Laura stated in “Pioneer Girl”, the unpublished work of Laura Ingalls-Wilder, that it was fun to explore the farm and how many things of interest could be found on 160 acres.
This house is filled with Laura’s adventures, an old trunk, another covered wagon, and a lot of photos.
This covered wagon is similar to what they would travel in from state to state. Covered wagons might travel 15-20 miles daily with a team of horses pulling.
Here, you see West Bethany Lutheran Church, the church was established in 1881 in Erwin, South Dakota; the building was built in 1905 seven miles north of DeSmet; the first service was held on November 5, 1905; the last service was held November 16, 1969. The church was later moved to the Ingalls Homestead in 2009.
This is an example of their dugout sod house that they lived in while in Minnesota. It was built in the side of a hill and was very compact. Sod was the most available material around since the area was pretty scarce of trees. Could you imagine living in a home this compact with all your kids? The second photo is showing half of the inside of the dugout sod house.
This is the Burvee house which was built over 125 years ago, it’s a Shanty house which is similar to what the Ingalls lived in while in South Dakota.
What you see below is a manure spreader. As the wheels turn, they power the chain and beaters which move the manure through the wagon. It was used regularly throughout the summer.
Inside Ma’s little house.
The back of Ma’s little house.
Inside Flindt’s Garage, you will be able to make a rope, see how grain is cleaned, twist hay and more.
This is a grindstone that would sharpen tools.
This is a potato cutter, it would slice seed potatoes into uniform sizes which was then the perfect size for the potato planter.
Here are some more of what is inside the Garage.
After watching how the hay was wrapped up, you could catch a ride on the horse-drawn-carriage to the schoolhouse. In the schoolhouse, the teacher explained a lot of the history and how things were different for the kids than compared to now. Did you know that things were reversed back in the day? Kids went to school in the winter for 3 months & then stayed home for 9 months to work hard labor in the fields to help bring money in.
This is the surveyor’s house, they lived in this house in 1879-1880. In Laura’s book, she talks about how Pa and the family celebrated their Christmas in the late 1800s here. Next to this house is another museum with more souvenirs. There, you will also receive a map of the town showing different historical places of the Ingalls family. You will also be shown where the cemetery is located.
This is DeSmet’s first school and is where Laura & Carrie attended school in 1880 and 1881. Laura spoke about this school in her book, “The Long Winter”.
About a couple of miles away from the Surveyor’s house, you are able to go visit the Ingalls’ gravesite. Laura & Almanzo are not in this cemetery as they had already moved before they passed away.
If you have visited the other Homestead locations, I would love to hear from you.
I really enjoyed my short visit and really want to go to the other ones too.
Have you ever heard of Nick Vijicic? He was born without limbs in 1982, he had amazing parents that supported him & a God that has shown love,mercy & grace through all the tough times. “He’s an author, musician, actor, and his hobbies include fishing, painting and swimming.” Here, you can read his blog.
If you have not heard of Nick, you must go research YouTube & the web for all of what he has accomplished & what he stands for. He is incredible & proves that if you want something enough, you put your mind to it & work hard then you can do it! His faith is incredible, he shares God’s love all over the world & is available for speaking engagements. His page, Life Without Limbs, gives updates on where is he speaking, provides live streams & more!
Following are a few photos that I took when he came to Dallas to speak.
Here he is praying before he begins to speak.
He has a lovely family!
Several verses he spoke about are:
- For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
- Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us… Ephesians 3:20
- And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 2 Corinthians 9:14
- And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
- I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:13
- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7
Nick said “when you see the word ‘disable’, just put the letters ‘go’ in front of it & you have ‘God is able’!”
Many came to the front to accept a new life in Christ. Do you want to know more about God?
Also, when I was there, I sat by an amazing woman of God. Her name is Rojin, she is going for her masters and is so incredibly smart! I honestly didn’t know some of the scientific terms of what she wants to do for a living, but I’m sure she will be helping others with her knowledge. Pray for her to keep strong in her faith, never to give up & keep shining the light of Christ to all those around her.
Until next time….
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