Vacation Highlights #7

A visit to Almanzo Wilder's Farm. 

I've been a long time fan of Laura Ingalls Wilder. They were my very first chapter books, and I was hooked. Just ask my cousins, we all were. Instead of fairy houses, I'd recreate the whole homestead with sticks. We'd get dressed up and play Little House on the Prairie in the woods.  Our books would become tattered from re-reading.

Back in the day, it was just chapter books. Now? They have a whole series "My First Littehouse Books" that tell the story of Laura and Almanzo, with pictures that are so intricate and intriguing that we take forever to turn the page.  We have a bunch of books and have interlibrary loaned the ones we do not have.  Our copies have been read so many times that the corners are tattered. Really, an awesome series.

Well, my little guy has gotten so into the series that he thinks these are current day stories.  I guess having a mother who is an intense homesteader, the books don't really convey 'the olden days' to him.  Anyway, Adrian was really looking forward to going to Almanzo's house, as he wanted to meet him. He wanted to invite Almanzo to his birthday party.  He wanted to ask him questions about his cows, Star and Bright. He wanted to help Almanzo with barn chores. He wanted to see his pumpkin from the county fair. He wanted to sit by the fire and eat apples and popcorn with him too. 

For a bit, I started to tell him that Almanzo was long gone, this was a story about long ago, and on and on.  But then, I stopped.  Really, what purpose would that serve?  Visiting Almanzo's house was magical to him, why take away the magic?  Why take away his fun?  And you know what was extra special? This one man who worked there introduced himself as Almanzo's dad. He said Almanzo wasn't home.  Adrian's eyes sparkled with delight.  "Almanzo's dad" asked for Adrian's address. You shall see at the end of this post what a special and generous thing he did for my little guy.

But first, the visit. 

He arrived with his fave book.

 And when we bought tickets, they were super enthusiastic to pick out the ones they have and the ones they want.

 So serious, taking it all in.
 And excited to see it all (sorry to the folks who had to tour with us).
 That which we were seeing matched the book, to his delight. Same in the house (we weren't allowed to take pictures in the house, but it matched the book very nicely too.)
 And the barn matched the book too.

 We had permission to take these, oh, they loved to pump water!


 And to play in the same yard as Almanzo.

 And eat apples just like Almanzo did (these they pilfered off the lawn...resourceful.)
 I so wanted to get some good pics of them together. They had enough of me, but I tried my best.

 This tree was Almazno's, look how old it is!
 Restoration and preservation-remarkable.

 I could have spent all day here.
 He could have too.

 And the special treat?  A few days later, my Adrian turned 4. The day before his birthday, he received a surprise package from "Almanzo's dad".
 We didn't have this one.

 Totally made his day. (And to 'Almanzo's dad', Thank you sooo much for the generous and thoughtful gift and for making my son's day.)

Such magical memories. A marvelous family day, indeed.



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