Tickets on Sale!

June 27, 2008

Buy your tickets to Minneapolis’ Guthrie Theater’s musical production of Little House on the Prairie, featuring Melissa Gilbert as Caroline Ingalls. Locals can visit the box office; others can purchase by phone. Previews begin July 26, and opening night is August 15.

Online tickets available tomorrow at 10 AM.


I’m Back! And a few Malone tidbits

June 25, 2008

Some math for you:

Traveling + wireless Internet access + brand-new laptop = an offline vacation

I’ve been on the road now for almost two weeks and I won’t be home for over another week. The Man of the Place is holding down the fort. And harvesting wheat. I’m writing now from Boston where my children and I landed after a whirlwind week of travel up the east coast, which culminated in a trip to Malone for the event celebrating the 75th publication of Farmer Boy.

If you haven’t yet walked the grounds of the farmhouse and barns in Burke, NY (the technical location), go. That’s all I have to say. Even though my day at the Almanzo Wilder farm was shared by hundreds of others, it never felt crowded. Amazingly, after a morning thunderstorm, the weather even cooperated and we had a lovely day of blue skies, warming sunshine and slight breezes. There is no other site in the world of Laura Ingalls Wilder that feels as pristine and untouched as the Farm. Ingalls Homestead comes close, but when you look around there, as lovely as it is, you know that everything you see was recently constructed. At the Farm, what you see is the actual structure that was there (albeit renovated).

Speaking of renovation, I had a lovely long talk with the Farm’s archivist, Betty Menke. From the moment of sale of the Farm to the Laura and Almanzo Wilder Association in the late 1980s, the renovation process was meticulous and well documented, particularly with photographs. The association hired a consulting company versed in historical preservation before they changed as much as one shingle. The space between then and the completion of renovations in the late 90s is a testament of patience and professionalism, where no step was taken without a solid plan behind it. As William Anderson and so many others have said, “They did it right.” 

I’ll post more on Malone in the coming weeks. I’m officially back and blogging now, so tell your friends. And thank you for your patience.

More Laura Ingalls Wilder Haiku

June 16, 2008

I think it’s time for some more Haiku, don’t you?

The corncob was sweet
But there’s a new doll in town.
Button-eyed Charlotte.

“I’ve got to,” Charles said.
Down into the well he went.
Stupid Mr. Scott.

We did not slide, Pa.
But we rolled. Say, Mary, why
Is Pa’s back shaking?

Hair loose, nose bloodied.
Lost washing, breathless ponies.
Cousin Lena ROCKS.

Pa had only this:
A potato on an ax
De Smet’s on its knees.

Snug in the cutter
The man of the place is just
The boy with the reins


More Homesite News

June 15, 2008

Here’s the press release that was sent out regarding Hampton’s makeover of De Smet.

There’s also a 16-panel traveling Laura Ingalls Wilder exhibit going on in Branson, MO at the American Presidents Museum. A Pioneer Day is scheduled for June 20, but the exhibit is being shown through July 31.

“Laura Ingalls Wilder: The Journey of a Pioneer Family” was created through a grant from the Missouri Humanities Council and has been traveling to libraries and schools throughout the state.

More info here.

The Homesteader, Summer 2008

June 13, 2008

As of right now every last subscriber can expect the Summer 2008 issue of the Homesteader in their mailbox. All copies went out in the mail today and yesterday. Even the homesites are getting them, as well as our list of complimentary recipients. One time, the Man of the Place mapped out a Google map indicating where all the Homesteader’s. subscribers lived with electronic push pins. It was fascinating. It also made me realize we have no subscribers in New Mexico, nor North Dakota. We must rectify that.

Subscribers will notice a change in the way this issue is packaged. It’s a surprise! But it’s a change that’s been bandied about before in one forum or another, so it shouldn’t be too unexpected. But do offer feedback when you get yours — we want to know.

I’m really excited about this issue. There aren’t a lot of different stories, but there are two very lengthy, in-depth pieces. One is an interview with Jennifer Worick (here’s her blog), author of The Prairie Girl’s Guide to Life, as well as a review of her book written by a very talented twelve-year-old Laura fan named Mara.

The other major piece is a feature on Dean Butler, “Almanzo” from the TV series. I will be lucky enough to attend the event in Malone next Saturday where he’s the guest of honor. I’ve never met him in person, but by all accounts he is a gentleman and a scholar. I’m looking forward to making his acquaintance.

Hotel Chain Helps Out De Smet

June 12, 2008

Next time you travel and you have a choice of staying in a Hampton Inn, you might want to consider it. With the apt title of “Pa Would Be Proud,” a story in South Dakota’s Argus Leader tells us that the hotel chain is responsible for a $20,000 windfall for the Laura Ingalls Wilder Memorial Society. It’s part of Hampton’s Save-A-Landmark program, which was conceived after guest surveys revealed the concern travelers had for the survival of distinctly American landmarks.


The financial gift will pay for new sidewalks and steps to make the area handicap accessible. Volunteers will sand and repaint siding on the Surveyors’ House, the first home of the Ingalls in Dakota Territory. They also are going to do window repair work on the Ingalls home, built by Pa Ingalls in 1877, and on the first school built in De Smet.

Full story — not very long — is here.

Visit this site!

June 11, 2008

Wow. I have just spent the last 20 minutes tooling around on Rebecca Brammer’s fabulous Laura Ingalls Wilder site, Laura Ingalls Wilder: Frontier Girl.

Rebecca mentioned her site update to me some time ago. Since I’d been there before, I thought a revisit could wait until I had a bit more time. It couldn’t have changed that much, right? Wrong.

Laura Ingalls Wilder fans never cease to amaze me with the breadth of their knowledge, creativity, and dedication. LIW: Frontier Girl has everything a Laura Ingalls Wilder fan could want. It’s got a message board. It has an updated list of cross-country Laura Ingalls Wilder events (which, ahem, I’ve never been able to keep up with), complete with live links to each event. It’s got links to all the homesites. It’s got a kid-centric Laura Ingalls Wilder page — presented in perfect kidspeak — and a black-and-white sketch of Laura ideal for coloring. It also has a comprehensive list of Laura-related links all over the Web.

I’d provide direct links to each of these fabulous sections, but the site is designed with frames so individual page titles don’t exist. You’ll just have to go there and tool around. I recommend it.

Thank you, Rebecca, for adding so much to the online world of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Laura Ingalls Wilder: Frontier Girl is a gift to fans everywhere.