Friday, August 29, 2008

American West Heritage Center

I had such a good time yesterday! We finally made it to the American West Heritage Center. It's up in Logan. I found it on the internet while still living in Atlanta. They use volunteers for all the demonstrations and the tour guides. They all have volunteer researchers. I contacted them because we thought we'd be living in Logan. They told me that volunteers got a big book of all kinds of information about how people back then lived nd how to do things. I want to get ahold of that book so bad!! Saturday is the last day they have everything open for the season so I am SO glad that we made it when we did. Now I just need to make it to Antelope Island and This Is the Plack Heritage Village before they close most things down for the season. I hate it when I procrastinate!! There were only a few volunteers there and only two other visitors. In my opinion, that's the best way to go. You get to take your time looking at everything and ask as many questions as you want. Also, it had a very peaceful feeling that probably wouldn't have been there had there been a lot of people there.

We started out with the mountain men. They shoed us a bunch of furs and told us what some of them were used for. They showed us some tools they carried with them, including some black powder guns. He showed us how they mesaured the black powder grains to get the right accuracy and filled up his gun, minus the ball and shot off the black powder. I think Adam wants one now. He really liked it.

Then we moved on to Patch's workshop. They make everything out of wood there. They had carvings, butter molds, spoons, rolling pins, various cooking utensils, jewelry boxes and chairs. Patch was not in to give us a demonstration though so we didn't stay too long.

Then, we made our way to the pioneer settlement. There was a large windmill in the center. The Opera House and the General Store were closed but there were a few ladies at the bowery. There were a couple of ladies setting up a small loom. Another lady showed us around the bowery and then the dugout. It was so short that you can't stand straight up...well, I think Adam could. It was just a tad too short for me. They got the description of it from a sick boy. He was stuck in bed for a while so he wrote in his journal about the size of the dugout and described everything inside and daily life inside one. There wasn't much room in it at all and a family of 8 lived in it!!

Next, me moved to the cabin. It fit the minimum requirements (12' x 12' with one window, glass is optional, and one door) for the homestead act. Again, I'm not sure how a family could all fit in it to sleep. This was even smaller than the dugout.

Outside the cabin door was a barrel with some metal hoops and wooden sticks. We found out these were for a game called graces. Each person gets two sticks. One person puts a hoop on their sticks, crosses them and pulls the sticks apart to lauch the hoop toward the other person. If you catch it on two sticks, you get two points. A one stick catch gets you 1 point. And if you drop it, you don't get any points. This was a game that was supposed to teach the girls to be as graceful as swans but as Adam and I found out, it's just really fun!!

From there, we stopped at the Shoshone encampment. A woman was there and she told us just a little about some of the things there. Then we went inside the teepee. It is surprisingly big inside one of those, especially compared to the dugout and cabin. They had seats made out of red willow that sat on the ground. It was actually not too bad for comfort...of course not the most comfy I've ever been on.

Now, the most awaited part of the trip. The 1917 farm house. First, we came across two small outbuildings. One was a smokehouse. I opened it up and the smell of smoke came right out. There were meat hooks across the top of it. The other building was a root cellar. I think it wsa only about 6-7 stairs down but the temperature was so cool inside, I was amazed at the difference! It was pitch black inside so I was surprised to see, when the flash went off, that the shelves had some home canned goods on them...and they looked really good! The outhouse was across the path. I opened it up. They nailed boards over the two holes so no one would use it. (They have another outhouse by the barn that is actually a portapotty with a wooden exterior instead of the bright blue plastic normally on them.)

There were a number of other outbuildings...a blacksmith shop, a storage shed for the horse drawn equipment, a large barn for th milk cows and horses and a chicken coop.

While we were sitting near the chicken coop, there were al kinds of birds wandering around, peacocks, chickens, turkeys, a little duck and then came along a couple of kittens. One was so boney! I handed her to Adam and she instantly laid down in his lap and fell asleep. He held her while I went inside the summer kitchen and looked around. This had been their home until they built the larger cabin. Once they moved into the larger cabin, this becane the place where all the laundry was done, baths were taken, cooking an canning were also done in here. They only used it when it was hot outside and the extra heat from the stove inside the main house would have been unbearble.

Adam put the small kitten down and we explored the main house. The guide, Pam, showed us around and then answered all my questions. It only has electricity to the kitchen and no running water at all. She cooks on the stove there everyday for whoever it is she cooks for. She was washing the dishes in some enamel pots out on the back porch when we showed up.

Back outside, Adam picked up the little kitten while Pam told us that someone had just dropped her off there a couple of days ago and she was going to take her home to see if she could bring her back to life. We explored the garden. I will have something like it someday! While we were exploring the garden, a turkey came out of the plants chomping on an egg shell that was dripping with egg yolk.

The little cat tugged at Adam's heart strings and decided he wanted to take her home and nurse her back to health. He'll take her back to Boise with him and she'll keep him company in the evenings and on weekends. Then, when she's healthy enough, he'll find her another home, a farm he hopes. We talked to Pam again and offered to take her home. She was greatful and agreed. So we left with her.

We went and saw the temple...very pretty!! Then headed back toward home. We finally made it home, after a couple of longer than shold have been stops, at 11:30. We put her in her new kennel with the heating pad turned on under her blanket. She's got absolutely no fat on her so she needs the extra warmth. She slept above Jack...her kennel on top of his. The dogs smelled something in the air but they never figured it out. So, just so everybody knows, as cute and sweet as she is, we will not be keeping her because of our dogs.

The pictures above are:
1. Me showing how low the dugour ceiling is.
2. Tom, the turkey, getting ready for Thanksgiving.
3. Logan Temple.
4. New little kitty.
5 & 6. Inside the dugout.
7. Adam with graces sticks and hoop.
8. Inside the root cellar.
9. The coolest picture I took.


Valerie said...

Sounds like you guys had a lot of fun AND you got a photo of Adam with a smile!

Valerie said...

Okay. I enlarged the photo of Adam and it's not exactly a smile, is it? But it's close. :)

Tiff :o) said...

No, it's a fake smile but as close to a real one as a fake one can get. He was actually smiling in the picture before it but he had his sunglasses on, he wanted them off.

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