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.