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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Des Moines Trip Number 432

Since my mom moved to Dubuque, we go to Des Moines several times a year to meet her in the middle.  We always have a good time and have done everything from the Botantical Gardens to the Science Center to the Blank Park Zoo, but I usually don't take my "nice" camera with us.

This trip, I knew we were going to Living History Farms and anticipated some good photo ops, so I packed it along.

And holy crap am I glad I did, because OMG BABY PIGS.

But before I go on a baby-pig-splosion, I'll backtrack and start from the beginning. Reading it will be worth it because there will be MORE AND MORE AND MORE BABY PIGS. And then you'll die.

We rented a wagon (just $4!) for the day and Carys was thrilled. We have a wagon but don't get it out nearly enough.  She loved laying down in it and pretending to sleep.

And yes, I did dress her for the part in this coral (not pink! I swear!) dress and little ankle boots. 

To do the full tour of the farms, you take a tractor-pulled cart up to the beginning of a trail. Along the trail, you get to experience three different working farms from three different eras - an Ioway Indian farm the early 1700s, a log cabin pioneer farm from the 1850s, and a horse-powered farm from the early 1900s.  You then end in a town from 1875, with a number of stores, a schoolhouse, and a mansion.

We started on the trail, and she was SO excited to see the farms - when the first farm wasn't immediately visible after getting off the cart she almost cried with disappointment. We had to keep telling her, "It's right up here! Just around this corner!"

Watching the person playing the Native American hand-weave a belt. 

The "tool shop" at the Native American site - a pile of bones that they would use for various tools. Carys is getting a lesson in anatomy from her Nana in these pictures. What a good Nana. If Carys is smart, it will be completely because of this woman.

These are probably my favorite pictures EVER. She saw the bench along the trail, said, "Take my picture!" and ran up to it. She smiled nicely for the first one, but then went into a series of faces and labeled each one. 

Happy. Angry.


Then she was just plain cute.

I wish I'd gotten more pictures of the environment and actual set-up of the farms, but whenever I pulled out the camera I was focused on the cuteness that is the child. This is the 1800s farm, and this is the pig sty at the farm. 

While we were looking at the pigs, the farmer (who Carys became totally infatuated with) came over and gave her a couple turnips to throw to the pigs. 

They had a flock of sheep that roamed free most of the time. When we arrived (we were the first people there) the farmer called the sheep over to their pen, where we got to hand-feed them grains. I don't have any pictures of this because I was holding Carys (and maybe feeding the sheep myself) but I assume it was adorable.  Listening to the sheep respond both individually to their names and as a flock was pretty interesting. To me. Am I a nerd?

Watching the farm wife cook the dinner (lunch) meal.

The farm wife also gave us a bowl of slop (leftovers/garbage) to take out to the pigs to feed. They really let you participate at this particular farm site - so fantastic. 

Immediately after the above pictures, that pig "kissed" Carys on the cheek and left a giant muddy snout print on her cheek. However, it scared the ever-loving CRAP out of her, so being the good parent that I am I only tried for a minute to get a picture of  it before I moved onto comforting her. So no picture exists of the pig kiss. Sadly.

I bribed her back to happiness with an apple freshly plucked from an apple tree.

My sister took over the camera for a little bit on the trail when Carys pulled a "2-Year-Old" and would only let me pull the wagon.

You can only kind of tell I'm almost 8 months pregnant from the back!

Pulling up to the 1900 farm.

ARE YOU READY FOR SOME PIGS? I promised you more baby pigs.

There was a whole herd (?) of baby pigs just running around. She chased them for a bit, then decided she wanted to show them her dress and sticker.

"Come here, pigs! Here pigs!" while patting her leg and making a clicking sound like you'd use to call a cat or dog. Have I mentioned she uses that same method to call me sometimes? 


"Look at my dress!" (Yes, that is literally what she was saying.)

"Look at my sticker!"

Inside the farmhouse. 

 Obligatory blurry mirror self-portrait.

We were all surprised when this phone had a dial tone. 

These have nothing to do with anything but how pretty are the spiderwebs with the light shining through them?

We ended in the town, where we visited the schoolhouse, the mansion, and attended a Victorian funeral.

Rocking the baby cradle and checking out the toys that would have been available to kids of the 1900s.

The Victorian funeral.

At that point we looked at the clock, realized it was naptime, and booked it out of there. That afternoon, we were supposed to go on a train ride, which was a TOTAL and complete disaster. For some reason, we thought that the train station was a half hour from the hotel, so we left around 45 minutes before we needed to be there, figuring we were giving ourselves plenty of cushion time. Well, we (fine, I) realized I left the car keys in the other bag, so my sister ran back to get them, but didn't have a key for my parent's room where the bag was, so she had to get a key as well. That cut us down to about 35 or 40 minutes to get there, but we still had plenty of time. We thought. 

We got on the road, pulled the directions up on GPS, and had heart attacks when it said it was going to take an hour to get to the train station. There was no way we'd make it in time, but we tried anyway, driving at breakneck speeds trying desperately to get there, since we'd been talking about the train ride all day and Carys was SO excited. 

We didn't make it. By less than 10 minutes. (My parents just BARELY made it and begged them to hold the train for us, but they couldn't.)

This was as close to a train ride as Carys got.  She was happy, but still. Sadness. Also crap, because I'm out $30 for the damn ride that we missed and their season ends at the end of October, so chances are we won't be able to re-use them.  Also crap, because we wasted 100 miles worth of gas. In a Chevy Tahoe. So that equals like 5,000 miles of gas in a regular car.

Oh, well. (Grumble)

Before we left to come home the next morning, we also stopped by the Pappajohn Sculpture Park to walk around a bit. We mostly stuck by this particular sculpture because it apparently was the perfect climbing structure (note: we looked around carefully for signs saying 'do not climb' or 'do not touch' and there weren't any, so we let her go crazy).

Note the Thomas she's holding in the last picture - that was part two of her consolation prizes for missing the train ride. She LOVES Thomas but hasn't ever had any toys associated with the show, so this was a Really. Big. Deal. for her. 

Despite the train ride being a complete and total bust, Living History Farms totally made the trip worth it. If we lived in the area I'd probably be trying to live on the farms and they'd have to keep kicking me out.  I asked Chris if I could at least get a baby pig and he just looked at me like I was insane. He clearly is missing something in his brain that appreciates cute.


  1. Beautiful photos!! I love the spider webs- just like Charlotte's web! Was looking closely to see letters.... :o)

  2. These photos are really beautiful! Would you mind sharing which lens you used?

  3. @Adele I used a 50mm 1.2 lens on my Canon 5D.