How to Make a Native American Teepee

Some learn by doing, some learn by hearing, some learn by reading.  I learn by PLAYING.  I am SURE it is a learning style.  When we started reading about the Plains Indians, I was so excited about this project, we dropped everything and began.  I grew up  in Montana  and studied the Plains Indians  in elementary school.  I musta’ had this lingering childhood desire to build a teepee for my Barbie doll, because I HAD to divert from the curriculum, just a teensy-weensy bit.


1. Decide how tall you want your teepee.   Barbies are 11 -1/2 inches tall, but they needed room to cook and sleep.   We like the look of lotsa’ stick poking out of the top of the teepee, so our sticks are about 33 inches long.

2.  Send child outside to gather sticks.  Remind them to watch out for dog doo-doo.  We don’t have a dog, we have bad dog-owner neighbors.  I think there’s a sign in my yard only dogs can read, kinda’ like that whistle only they can hear, that says “Poop Here.  Public Doggy Restroom.”  Clean shoes before they come in the house to finish the project.

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3.  Peel  bark off sticks.  Make a huge mess on dining room table that sits there all day and spreads to the floor and carpeting. Don’t know if  the Plains Indians peeled theirs, but I wanted the least amount of mess while playing with teepee for years and years.  Yea, after all this work, this baby is gunna’ stay in the family fer shur, you betcha’. (Speakin’ a little MinnesOtan tonight fur y’all.Oh, and a liddle’ ol’ Kansan, too.)

4.  Put sticks out on deck during dinner and forget them there.  Let them get  soaking wet in the rain.  Bring them in the next day to dry.

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5.  Drill holes in sticks at the height you want your teepee to be.  Hey, that rhymes.  We drilled at about 21 inches from the bottom.   Don’t drill into the floor or carpeting.  Not saying we actually did that, just warnin’ ya’.

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6.  Thread old shoelace, leather thong or whatever’s in your junk drawer  through all six sticks, with a bead in-between each stick.

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7.  Spread out sticks to the width you want  before you tie the string together.


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1. Find a large piece of paper to make pattern, a long string,  a pen or pencil and a scissors. I chose my ugliest Christmas paper.

2. Tie the string onto the pen and trace a semi-circle onto the paper.  Your desired  interior height is the radius. Get it?  You used that Geometry after all, didn’t you? We drilled the holes at 21 inches, and made a semicircle with a 21 inch radius.

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4. Cut out pattern and trace onto white material.  I had a piece in my stash that feels like canvas, but was a curtain at one time.  OOPS?  Was I supposed to hang them or play with them? This is an optical illusion, both circles are the same size, I promise. (Click on the link – it reminded me of something else kinda’ cool.)

5. Cut out cloth semicircle.

6.  You can cut out a cool pattern that makes an original opening, but we did the “git ‘er done” pattern.


1.  Stand up sticks.

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2. Drape cloth around.

3. Pin in place.

4.  Rub soot from the fireplace around the top to make it look like a fire really was burning inside. (Beka’s idea, I was SO impressed.  I was especially thankful that she felt like it was HER project, after all, I was having WAY TOO MUCH FUN and trying not to take control.)

5.  Decorate as desired.  We saw a lot of decorated teepees, a lot of plain ones.  Beka opted for plain.  I think she was tired of the project, so that was exactly the PERFECT time to quit.

We wanted the teepee portable and reusable, so we didn’t hot glue the fabric to the sticks. 


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The dresses are just T’s.  I measure from wrist to wrist, then from chin to ankle. I chose a tan fabric that doesn’t unravel, but you could use pretty much anything. I sewed the seam on the outside, then fringed with a scissors. If you don’t sew, you could use hot glue or hand sew. For the neckline, I cut a small half circle. I slit a little down the back so the dress can slip over the head, but I didn’t even put a snap there. You can bead necklaces, or sew beads onto the dress.

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Don’t look too closely.  I never figured out the armpit issue, but Barbie can’t raise her arms, so it doesn’t matter.  Again, my philosophy is to sacrifice perfection for the sake of finishing.  The sooner you get it done, the sooner you can play.


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This was our favorite library book to use, published by Clarion Books, from Houghton Mifflin Company, NY, because of vivid pictures and easy-to-understand descriptions.

Tribes of the Southern Plains

This book covered more about the Osage Indians, the tribe the Ingalls family lived near in Kansas. This was written by the editors of Time-Life books.

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We studied the food and found things in the house that would work.  We cut up dried cranberries into little pieces and put in a small wooden bowl for dried chokecherries.  Stems from lavender became bitterroot. Small white beans were dried prairie turnips. (not shown)  Since some Plains Indians gardened, we had small pumpkins.  We had small wooden utensils we pretended were made out of buffalo bones.


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Beka just cut various pieces of fabric I had, felt, fake fur, a shrunken red wool sweater, to make the bedding.  Because they had already been trading with the Europeans, they had wool on occasion. When it was time to set up the teepee, she remembered a  diagram in Terry’s book and the materials to replicate it as closely as possible.  She described to me that the head of the home slept in the back, where the red blanket is, the children on the sides.  The cooking area is in the front and on the left of the teepee, the fire goes in the middle.



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Use all of the above items for playing and pretending.  Give each doll a Native name.  The daughter, Meadow,  neglected to collect firewood before it rained.  She will have to get out tomorrow, to gather kindling for her Native mom who is yet to be named.  They also need to make a stand for drying meat over the fire.  There is always so much work  for a Plains Indian woman to do.

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The teepee is displayed in the dining room.  Daily we are adding a small project.  Today we made a bark basket by hot gluing a piece of thin white bark around a small plastic cap.  Yea, we totally cheated, but that’s OK.

The dolls will have to stay in the living room until we paint a horse and built a travois so they can move around this winter. Even in the Native culture, a man works from sun to sun, but a woman’s work is never done.

But tonight, Native Mom and Prairie Momma will rest soundly, knowing we spent the day doing what we love, caring for our families.


Hand Over Hand Survival

Little House on the Prairie 001

Chapter 12


Born with two older brothers and one younger brother, I was destined to be a tomboy. The “Little Girls” as we called them, the last two siblings born, were close in age and heart.

From an early age, I learned to throw like a boy, wrestle like a boy and work like a boy. OK, I wasn’t as tough as I thought I was, but I did get sent to the principal’s office once for beating up a bully on the playground.

I also threw a bully off the bus in high school for tormenting my little sisters. He coulda’ whooped my behind, but he had a momma’ who woulda’ whopped his,
so he conceded and the war was over.

I definitely related to Laura way better than Mary
as a child, and even more as an adult.

Whenever I read history about settling the west I was convinced I was born in the wrong generation. That is, until we spent one day cooking over an open fire, I kinda’ changed my mind in a hurry.

Women had it rough back then, working hard in SKIRTS. Long skirts with ridiculous undergarments. I know I would have been the rebel who wore
her brother’s clothes.

However, I still like to imagine life back then, and have loved the hands-on curriculum we’re using this year.

In Chapter 12 of Little House on the Prairie, Mr. Scott is passed out in the bottom of the well they’re digging because he didn’t test the air for poisonous gas.
Silly man.

It’s the first time we see Ma reacting strongly to danger.  She’s usually calm and collected.

“I don’t want a well,” Ma sobbed.  “It isn’t worth it. I won’t have you running such risks!”
(p. 157)

She was willing to go without water rather than risk her husband’s life.


Pa went down to rescue the neighbor anyway and had to climb out




with the rope while holding his breath.

Our assignment:  try to climb hand over hand.

See, I told ya’ the curriculum was hands-on!

We headed over to the neighbor’s swing set to test our skills. Like the Ingalls,  we have good neighbors.

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All dressed up in prairie finery, Beka tried.

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Beka’s climbing would be more proficient, I’m sure, if someone was dying, not dying of laughter. 

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Beka’s friend, Amanda, partner in pioneer adventures for the day, also was a good sport about rope climbing.


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Since I won several blue ribbons for rope climbing, back in elementary school, folks, not the Olympics, I had to try.

Afterall, I’m almost 50 and always feel like I have something to prove.

Remembering how quickly I used to climb to the top of the gym, I attacked the rope with gusto.

At the top, I would sway  above the mat, watching the scared kids below, their eyes sparkling in admiration and bask in my moment of glory. 

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I’ve definitely lost my touch.

Really lost my touch. I was swaying, and eyes were sparkling, but with hysterical laughter, not admiration. I proved that at least I have my memories.

But, if someone I loved, or someone I needed for survival, like one of my only neighbors, were dying at the bottom of a well, would I be able to save them?

The reality of what the Ingalls family lived through touches me more as an adult than it did as a child.

As a child, I was filled with dreams of fun and adventure.
As an adult, I see how their lives were constantly in danger.

Hand over hand, they clung to the rope of survival, and always managed to pull themselves to safety.

My Sweetie Pie Made a Pumpkin Pie

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 12



We’d been having an unseasonably warm fall
and were spending
Every Moment Outside.


When my daughter invited Beka and I to a pumpkin patch
we dropped our books and headed out the door.


Sometimes you just gotta’ follow the sun,
especially since ya’ know once the rains come,
they don’t leave for a long, long, time.


Pumpkin Patch
We loved seeing fields full of pumpkins.

Although we call special outings for school
“field trips”
we rarely end up in a field.

This was a field field trip.


Rebekah at Pumpkin Patch

The kids loved running to and fro,
with every pumpkin they could lift  a possibility to take home.



Jana and Kids at Pumpkin Patch
My oldest daughter, Jana,
with her three Munchkins,
Brookelyn, Maddelyn and Brayden.

I found a handmade sign at a garage sale that says,
“Grandchildren are a reward for not killing your children”
but since it isn’t PC and some people don’t get
it’s a joke
I don’t display it.

But grandchildren are a reward.
After raising six kids with lotsa rules and nutrition and bedtimes,
I love having little people who depend on me for only
candy and toys.
That’s it.
My definition of Gwamma.

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The pumpkin adventure wasn’t over.

The assignment only said “make Pumpkin Pie or stewed pumpkin.”
Stewed pumpkin?
I think not.

To make sure we finished the project
and that Beka had success her first time making pie,
I opted for store bought piecrust and canned pumpkin.

Don’t tell my brothers.
Joel and Allan make amazing pie.
One Thanksgiving, Allan even brought his own rolling pin to Mom’s house
because he was in charge of making the pies.
Of course, my brothers make their own crusts,
use fresh pumpkin,
and yes, they are both single, as a matter of fact.

I don’t know why.

I am the black-sheep, pie-crust buying member of the family.
But not for long.

Pioneering Today: Faith and Home the Old Fashioned Way

Last week I read this beautiful book 
and it  inspired me to get back to my pioneer roots.
She has a simple pie-crust recipe Beka and I will be using
when we make our second pie.

It also is going to make my Christmas shopping a lot easier!
Wouldn’t this book look adorable in a basket
with a few vintage cookie cutters and a cookie mix in a canning jar?


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We held prayer meeting in our home that evening,
so Beka got to shine serving her delicious pies as the snack.

I love to give my kids moments like these!



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It tasted even better than it looks.
We had it for breakfast the next morning, too.

There was a little filling left, so we filled little graham cracker pie crusts.

They were also delicious.



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See that sweet little pie pumpkin in the middle of my fall display?


Hopefully, that will be in Beka’s second pie, too.
It just needs to hang around and look harvesty for awhile.


See that squash on the right? 
I bought it to try this recipe
from Melissa’s blog Pioneering Today,
but I bought the wrong kind. 
So, it will also sit as a decoration until I decide how I will cook it.


For those of you ambitious kitchen people here are some
pumpkin recipes from a blog called “Laura’s Sweet Memories.”

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Treat Squares

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Scones

Farmer Boy Pumpkin Bread


Anything is better than stewed pumpkins!


Living the Life

Little House on the Prairie 001

Chapter 10

The assignment:
split wood.

I’m thinking this Prairie Primer curriculum is way
than filling out worksheets.
(Yea, funner is a word now.)

Our family does split wood, we just learned to work where the neighbors can’t see.


Of course, you might not know, I’m married to a Minnesota boy, ya’ know,
a hunting, fishing, lumberjack kinda’ guy.
He now works in an office and dresses up during the day.
I call him the Redneck Executive.


But, he started chopping firewood in about the 4th or 5th grade,
and got his first chainsaw at 12.
When you heat with wood, it’s kinda’ necessary to cut firewood.
It’s free heat, if you have a source of fallen timber.


I grew up with a Dad and three brothers,
and we also heated our home with firewood.

Our sons have grown up cutting firewood,
although our fireplace now is for ambiance,
not a primary heat source.

When we first moved into this neighborhood,
a concerned neighbor actually came to the door.
”Did you know your sons are using an axe?”
We obviously weren’t in Minnesota anymore.

How do you answer that without sounding sarcastic?

”Yea, you kinda’ have to use an axe to chop firewood.”

Trust me. 

I love my kids, and I hate blood,
so we practice safety standards. 


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This is the part of our yard I have named
The Redneck Grill.

We watch movies here.

All kinds of food has been grilled and devoured here.

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Of course, this is where I chopped the firewood.

My wonderful son, Jon, had already split the logs,
so I just had so split it into kindling.

Rebekah wanted to try, but being the good Mom I am, I said NO.

I actually didn’t want to share the axe.

It was kinda fun.

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She gathered other kindling from the yard,
looking for dry twigs,
as her Momma told her.


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I wasn’t a Girl Scout,
so we didn’t use a flint
or even matches.

Rebekah was a little intimidated,
so we used this thing we call a Clicky Stick.

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Aw, fire.

No matter how many times you start a fire,
it’s always magical, isn’t it?


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She gradually added larger pieces of wood,
until she had a nice bed of coals.

You can see why we had bricks in the fire pit, to hold up the grill.

Doesn’t homemade soup for lunch sound delicious?

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Doesn’t fresh bread just sound delicious?


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The round load of bread above is the store bought, this is how our bread turned out.

Beka had this idea to make buns in muffin pans.
I knew it wouldn’t work,
but I also knew she needed to learn that for herself.

So, we baked break in the muffin pan.
It was burned on the bottom and raw on the top.

However, the round loaf of bread  that enticed her in the store,
because she thought it looked Little Housey,
gave us something to eat while we burned the other bread.


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We came up with a new plan, our griddle. 
We used butter, lotsa butter, and it was so good.


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Before you think I am totally amazing,
look at my ingredients.
Yea, Safeway made our homemade soup.
The bread was from a can you smack against the counter,
and the butter wasn’t homemade,
lthough we made butter once.


I knew I wanted to teach Beka to start a fire and cook over it,
but I knew I didn’t have enough time to cook from scratch.

Hey, moms can’t be totally amazing
EVERY DAY of their lives!

Sometimes you just gotta’ loosen your standards
and enjoy the moment as you can.

It I had aimed for homemade perfection,
we wouldn’t have had these wonderful moments.

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I do love making coffee over an open fire,
and watching that vintage glass knob for brown bubbles.

Sitting and sipping is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
Our school work was done, while I stared at the flames,
and sipped way more coffee than I should have.

Oh, along with constantly chopping more firewood and stoking the fire.

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This is how your coffee looks if it’s sitting too close to the fire you’re stoking.


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Remembering something she’d read in another Laura Ingalls book,
Beka gathered some dry leaves.


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Pa had the girls twist hay into tight bundles when they ran out of firewood.


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Then she decided to harvest the basil,
because in Chapter 7 we discussed using herbs.


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She made little bundles that she hung to dry.

We spent the whole afternoon tending the fire and enjoying the last warmth of fall.
At the end of the day,
we knew a little more what the Ingalls family felt like.

Our fingernails were outlined with fine lines of dirt,
our hair was windblown and smoky,
our clothes had smudges of ash and dirt.
We could NOT imagine climbing into bed as dirty as we were.

My mom, daughter of Norwegian immigrants in North Dakota,
lived in a home without running water when she was very young.
She’s described to my kids the Saturday bath ritual.
We can’t fathom taking a bath only once a week.

Beka wore her long skirt all day and discovered what a hindrance
it was to all the duties of the day.

I think she was especially saddened to learn the
”children are to be seen and not heard” rule.
As the youngest in family with six kids,
she has grown up with a table full of
parents and siblings interacting with love, respect and laughter.

While we sat around the fire and chatted,
and as she shared her views with me,
I was again reminded that by nurturing a child’s heart,
you give them liberty to express it with you.

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After the success of our fire pit day,
we tried again when granddaughter, Brookelyn, came over.


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She loves playing The Olden Days!


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While Brookie tended the soup,
Beka finished the churning.
Being a pioneer woman is so much work!


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Brookie can even cook over a fake fire.
I love how they rigged the roasting sticks for a tripod. 
Their creativity just explodes at times.


Reading books can put you in another world,
but living their adventures adds to the senses.

Beka and Brookelyn will never again read about cooking over a fire,
without  feeling the burn of smoke in their eyes and
the grime on their hands,
hearing the crackle of cedar,
and the tasting ash in everything they ate.

For those last few precious warm fall days,
we were the Ingalls family.

Osmosis, Schmosmosis

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 5



I was geared up for a Science experiment to show osmosis.

The word and  definition were vaguely familiar from
my High School Biology class.
I didn’t always pay attention in class, did you?
Good thing my Dad doesn’t read my blog all the time,
because he was my high school Biology teacher.

Remember how I didn’t pay attention to his gold panning lessons?
I must have not been listening too well in Biology, either.


We refreshed our minds about osmosis.



That’s alotta’ big words in’s explanation.



We liked this definition from ASK better.


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We cut the potato in half,
sliced off the round ends,
then scooped out the inside.

Good thing I’ve owned a melon baller for about two decades.
It finally earned its keep.


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Each potato slice was set in a bowl,
water was added to about 1/2 inch depth,
and the hollows were filled with colored water.


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We added 1/2 teaspoon of sugar to one hollow,
and labeled it because I knew I would forget.

Then I labeled the stuff so my family wouldn’t forget.

If you read the corn cob blog,
we have trouble with projects around here.


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Since I don’t want to give them impression that things are always perfect around here,
you needed to see the mess that sat here for a few hours.


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There ya’ go.

That’s what it looked like the next day.


“Trees use a method called osmosis to force water upwards. Osmosis works because there is a difference between the sap, or juice, inside the root and the water in the ground outside. Sap contains large amounts of sugary substances. Ground water contains only tiny amounts of dissolved nutrients.  Sap is more concentrated than ground water.  Osmosis forces water from the soil through minute holes in the root skin to inside the root. p. 37-38 The Prairie Primer



Here’s another osmosis potato experiment
from someone who probably listened better in Biology class.


I was just feeling good that we started and finished a project.
I think some Science stuff musta’ osmosised into our brains,
doncha’ think?

Diet Coke in the Fruit Drawer?

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 9


It was a simple question
in the Prairie Primer curriculum.

Laura had seen a town for the first time.
Her pa drove the whole family in the wagon
seven miles to Pepin, WI, on the shores of Lake Pepin.
Laura was surprised women were hanging laundry out


“From your experience visiting other families,
name some different ways other
families do common household things.”


I was thinking Beka would talk about her friends and their chores.
I thought she might even complain a little about the jobs she has.
It was a perfect opportunity, after all , it was a school assignment.


“I can only think of one thing mom. 
You know how we have one drawer in our fridge for fruit
and one for vegetables?
Your friend Janet doesn’t do that.”

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Janet and I were best buddies in high school in North Dakota.
She married a farmer and stayed,
I married a farm hand who went into the computer industry
and moved the family to the West Coast.
Our lives are slightly different.



Schills and Brauns 379

“Well, Janet keeps Diet Coke in her fruit drawer,


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and Coke in her vegetable drawer.”


Well, yes, yes, she does.

Yes, that is a little different than the way thing are done around here.


And because Janet drinks Coke, she doesn’t drink coffee.
I drink coffee.
I need coffee.
I don’t think she realized how badly I needed coffee,
until I spent the night with her
and wasn’t very happy in the morning.
I tried to be nice, really I did.
I was ready to drive 13 miles into Langdon to buy a cup of coffee.
Janet gave me a different solution.


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She drove me to the grain elevator in Nekoma, ND,
where the local farmers gather around the coffee pot
and talk about crops, trucks and the weather.

I paid $1 for Folgers that had been in
the aluminum pot since sun-up,
but, hey, it was coffee.
Coffee snobs can’t afford to be a snob
when they have a head-ache.

The farmers stared to see the city-slicker driving into “town”
to buy a cup of coffee,
but I’m pretty sure I gave them something new to talk about
for the next few days,
maybe even the next few weeks.

Next time I visited the farm,
Janet had a coffee pot
and coffee.

Just for guests like me.
I guess it was cheaper than driving to the elevator each day.


That same first coffee-less visit, Rebekah was a toddler.
She loved wandering around under the horses, into the dog house,
and anywhere her chubby legs could carry her.


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As we make the trek back every year or two,
she only falls more and more in love with the farm life.
She’s actually pretty determined to marry a farmer.



Beka will just run her farm a little differently.
Not sure if she’ll do laundry on Monday,
but she won’t be hanging it from bushes to dry.

There will be fruit in her fruit drawer,
vegetables in her veggie drawer,
and the coffee pot will always be on.


As for the Coke and Diet Coke?
They’ll always be on hand just in case
her mom’s friend,
who’s become her friend,
stops by.





Thar’s Still Gold in Them There Hills!

Little House in the Big Woods 001

Chapter 13



It seems that even though we’re past a formal lesson,
learning continues.

The library books about the gold rush were returned
and we were onto our next learning adventure.

The lesson continued  in an unexpected way.
We were invited to a corn maze/pumpkin patch expedition.

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There was the hayride on bales pulled by a John Deere.
I got to impress them by reciting their slogan,
”Nothing runs like a Deere!”

Yea, in the Midwest when you say you’re going green,
they’re not thinking about recycling, reusing and reducing.
They’re thinking
John Deere green.
It is a color in the palette, not to be confused with hunter green or pine.

When we first moved from the ND to WA, we were surprised to discover
John Deere apparel was the rage.

Even movie stars were wearing John Deere hats and t-shirts.
When I asked a few west coast teenagers if they knew
that John Deere was an implement dealer,
they were stunned.

They thought it was a fashion line.

I love to be the voice of reason and information on the west coast.

Back to the corn maze on the west coast.

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Aw, don’t moms love to sneak learning in in everything?
This corn maze is the dream of a former teacher,
who also obviously loves to sneak in learning.


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The kids are given a map and dropped off on a eastern border city of their choice,
and have to navigate their way back using highways and byways.


And when the girls had safely navigated us back to the west coast,
and found a latte stand for the moms,
they followed the allure of riches.


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Like many before them through the generations,
the feeling of a gold pan in their hands
gave rise to dreams in their heads.

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Several times they were convinced they saw flecks of gold,
but knew they were being fooled.

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A placer mine was set up with a sluice box.

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I was raised in Montana with a Dad who carried a gold pan with
him when we went camping and fishing.
There is still gold nearly everywhere in Montana,
sometimes little flecks, sometimes nuggets.

As I was explaining to the girls how to swish and swirl
and rinse the light stuff out to get the heavy stuff to stay in the pan,
ya’ know, like gold,
I was wishing I had listened more closely to my Dad.
Never actually thought I’d need to know how to pan for gold.

Like my kids, I musta’ done the “smile and nod but not really listen” thing,
because I couldn’t exactly remember the real way to pan for gold.

Secretly, I think Youtube is just a repository of information
for people who are too embarrassed to call their parents up
and ask, “How did you do that again?”

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They sloshed and shook and dipped and swirled.

When the reality of mud instead of gold nuggets invaded their dreams,
they dropped their pans and headed for the hay slide.

They hadn’t lost their life savings,
they hadn’t left family for the dream of instant wealth,
they didn’t lose their life in a foolish pursuit.

But just for a moment,
while their hands were clutching that pan,
their wrists were swirling and whirling,
their eyes eagerly seeking flecks of gold,
they understood the men who did.



To further your learning adventure:



California Gold Rush at the Oakland Museum

Last Chance Gulch discovery in Helena, Montana

Alaskan Gold Rush in Anchorage Museum

Discovery Channel Gold Rush



It’s Simply Providential!

Little House on the Prairie 001
Chapter 5



If you are an Anne of Green Gables fan, you’ve heard the term
“providential” in several situations.

The time that stands out in my mind is when Marilla is thinking of bringing Anne back,
because she wanted a boy,
and Mrs. Spencer is letting her know Mrs. Blewett would surely take Anne,
because she has a lot of kids and needs help.

In walks Mrs. Blewett, whom Anne describes later as looking like a “gimlet.”

The friend sing-songs out,
“There’s Mrs. Blewett now.  I call it positively providential.”

From the book,
“Marilla did not look as if she thought Providence had much to do with the matter.
Here was an unexpectedly good chance to get this unwelcome orphan off her hands,
and she did not even feel grateful for it.”


The Ingalls family, although we don’t know
exactly what they believed,
also recognized the providence of God in their lives.
When Ma and Pa are building their new home in Kansas,
and a log rolls onto Ma and only gives her a bad sprain,
Laura wrote p. 61,
“It was Providential  that the foot was not crushed.
Only a little hallow in the ground had saved it.”


By calling it Providential, they are simply acknowledging  that
God caused or allowed events and provisions in their lives.

Today, the majority of people now attribute circumstances
to karma, chance, luck, Mother Earth or any other being
they choose to worship instead of the Creator.


Contrast the dictionary entries for

our assignment for chapter five from the Prairie Primer.



This was snipped from, our favorite online dictionary to use.
I am not pointing this out to discredit them,
but to show merely how times have changed.




Compare this to the online dictionary from the 1828 Noah Webster dictionary.

Of course, I keep this site on the heading of my Prairie Momma blog, in case you forget.


Saying something is Providential, doesn’t imply the person has
saving faith in the Lord Jesus,
they’re only acknowledging the God in Heaven.

Today people might say,
“God bless you!”
when you sneeze but they aren’t bestowing a true spiritual blessing on you.


People might say
”Thank God!”
when they escape being run over by a car,
but that doesn’t mean they are really bowing in thankfulness
in true humility before a Holy God.

When we study history, we might read true saving faith into someone’s life
only because they use the term Providential or acknowledge God.

Understanding the language patterns of the times
is the first step to discern if people from “The Olden Days,”
as my daughter likes to call it,
had true faith.

We combine what they say, how they lived and what they put their faith in
to try to discern if they were professors or believers,
just like today.

But, the ultimate decision of whether someone has saving faith in Jesus Christ,
is determined by the Lord God, who sees into the hearts.

It’s simply Providential.


Orphans Wanted!

Often when I read about the Pony Express,
I wonder about the teens of today.
Would there be enough teenage boys to staff the venture?

Then, I remind myself that young men
have always craved adventure.
Today, there isn’t a west to tame,
but young men find things to jump out of,
jump onto, jump under and jump with.

They attach wheels, sails, skis or faster motors
to anything and everything so they can
jump and twist and reinvent the sport.

We live in a day and age of
so all the thrill jockeys
can still find something new to conquer.

Maybe young men today aren’t so different, after all.

Pony Express 001

It’s an amazing time period and it was a thrilling adventure
for young men and our young country.

Pony Express founders

This is to show you the amazing work of  Cheryl Harness,
who makes history come alive with the power of story
and delightful illustrations.

I didn’t realize she was such a prolific author until I looked online.
We definitely will be using her books again!

Riding the Pony Express 001

A book that has been on our shelf for years and years.

Only 80 pages, so a good adventure read for a younger
boy who hasn’t quite fallen in love with reading yet.

This might entice him.

Landmark Pony Express 001

My mom and dad raised six kids with a wall full of books,
including the Landmark series.

As soon as I started having kids,
yes, before they could even read,
I started buying all the Landmark books I
found at garage sales and thrift stores.
I was thrilled that Mom and Dad donated their collection
to my bookshelf a few years into homeschooling.


The thrill of imminent death must have drawn some riders.

Probably the $25 drew others.

Like teenagers today,
I  imagine some just wanted to get away from home.

As a mom, the call for orphans always tugged at my heart.
Pretty sure I wouldn’t let my sons do this,
but  the thought of young men dying
with no mom to cry for them,
is just as hard to imagine.

I will never complain about the price of postage again.


I promise.

Poke a stick in my eye and everything.


If you still haven’t had enough adventure, check out the The Pony Express National Museum’s website.

Since the majority of us won’t be able to visit the museum in person,
feel free to take a video tour.

The drama and the history are exciting and for someone who already loves history,
anything Pony Express thrills me.

But, here’s the best part of the story.

The Bible 001

Each of the Pony Express riders were given a Bible.
Even though they traveled light, and often were required to kill their own food,
the founders considered the Bible important enough to be carried.

I have always been encouraged by the desire of these men
to honor the Lord with their business.
I like to wonder if any of those daring, rough young men
ever sat by their campfire at night,
gnawing at whatever animal they killed,
and read a few verses.

Did they look up at the night sky and ponder the Creator?

And if you’re wondering about anything else on this subject,
here’s a wonderful online list of all topics concerning the Pony Express.

Cheryl Harness gripped my heart with her conclusion,

“The brave young riders and their ponies helped to make a nation happen…
it’s the ponies and the daring young men who ride in our imagination.
When the wind is in the West,
listen for distant hoofbeats.

It’s the Pony Express.”

Can ya’ hear it?

Even the Dutch Love Little House

The first thing I saw when I turned on the TV in our Amsterdam hotel
a few weeks ago was
Little House on the Prairie reruns.

One channel has voiced over in Dutch with English subtitles
and another was in English with Dutch subtitles.

They wanna’ make sure everyone can watch Laura and her Pa.

I also think they had to have ONE channel that wasn’t inappropriate.

Of course, I haven’t watched American TV for years,
we only use our TV for videos, but it was pretty ….
well, it wasn’t Christian.

Thanks to the BING translator, I was able to translate for you.


“Please, Pa.”

“Thank you.”



When I translated tasty in English to Dutch, this word didn’t come up.

I think a better translation, according to my scant research, would be
“It’s a good thing.”


“Not as sip. There are more rounds.“

“You’re going to win.”

(OK, the translator doesn’t always work,
but it still has been a great tool to use.)


“The winner of the second round,
Charles Ingalls.”

Either the Dutch  think Michael Landon is good looking
or they wanted to learn to chop firewood.


“But he is a lot older than me. And then you become tired much earlier.”

As usual, Pa is giving advice and Laura is listening.

Maybe this is why adults like this series,
we can pretend that is really us and our children are hanging onto every word.
In fact, maybe some day our children will write a whole bunch of books
on how great their upbringing was and how wise and beautiful their parents were.

Hey, parents in many countries  can dream!