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Iowa by Ann Treacy
October 17, 2008, 9:59 pm
Filed under: Iowa

Guess what? None of us had ever been to Iowa, until today. So we decided to have lunch in Iowa today – Decorah, Iowa. So Iowa isn’t significantly different from Minnesota – although the area around Decorah is very hilly and the colors were great.

Decorah is the home of Luther College. We took pictures at the Porter House Museum. We didn’t actually go in – but we couldn’t resist a picture of the wall around the house; it’s a hodgepodge of super cool rocks. I hope the picture comes out.

After lunch we went to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Park and Museum. Laura and the Ingalls lived in Butt Oaks when she 9 years old. They worked in the hotel and we toured the hotel.

The going rate in the day was $.25 per night – but there were 3 people to a bed and you didn’t necessarily know your bed buddies. We saw a replica of Laura’s first doll – a corn cob husk with a face painted on it. We also learned that you can make checkers by slicing up a corn cob and coloring half the pieces black and half red.

The hotel had chamber pots, which is also a big hit with kids. We learned how they churned butter and put it in a mold with an imprint. We even learned that butter is usually white but that Laura’s Ma used boiled carrot juice to give her butter a yellowish color.

We also learned about the 7 months of 7 blizzards. The town ran out of food and coal – because the trains were not able to come into town to deliver it. So they create “hay sticks” to burn in the oven and ground the wheat seed they had been saving for spring to make bread. When the winter finally ended the people complained to the government and their complete lack of support. Many people died needlessly that winter. As Patrick pointed out – it sounds familiar.

Last interesting fact – Laura Ingalls Wilder was only 4 foot 2 inches tall. Almanzo was only 5 foot 2. He seemed much bigger on TV.

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