Shelley’s Laura Ingalls mini-tour

My Laura Ingalls project (release date fall 2017) is taking me to her homesites, including last week’s visits to Missouri and Iowa. Look for lots of random Laura posts from me.

First I went to Rocky Ridge Farm in Mansfield, Missouri, where she spent most of her adult life. The farm isn’t included in the Little House series, which ends with the devastating first four years of the Wilders’ marriage. But Rocky Ridge is the museum with all the goodies: Pa’s fiddle, her friends’ yellowed calling cards, the little teapot jewelry box she got for Christmas in Walnut Grove, the first sampler she ever sewed, and much, much, much, much more.

In addition to the museum, you can tour the farmhouse Laura and Almanzo built one room at a time, plus the “Rock House,” which daughter Rose built for her parents so they’d have an easy-to-maintain retirement home. They moved into the cottage while Rose took over the farmhouse. As soon as Rose moved east, however, they moved right back into the farmhouse.

There’s a no-photo policy inside any of the buildings, including the gift shop. That’s right: You can’t take photos of their t-shirts and mugs. All I have are photos outside, including these:

This is the bank in Mansfield where Laura and Almanzo secured a loan to buy the farm. We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant across the street, which was the only restaurant in the tiny town square.

This is the bank in Mansfield where Laura and Almanzo secured a loan to buy the farm. We ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant across the street, which was the only restaurant in the tiny town square.

Here's the outside of the Rocky Ridge Farmhouse. It hasn't been changed since Laura's death. Almanzo's stash of medications from the late 1940s still sit on the table next to his bed. There's a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub.

Here’s the outside of the Rocky Ridge Farmhouse. It hasn’t been changed since Laura’s death. Almanzo’s stash of medications from the late 1940s still sit on the table next to his bed. There’s a jar of Vicks Vapor Rub stored with the glass prescription bottles.

I was joined by my significant other, who graciously indulged my Laura time and listened to me talk about the books for hours on end. We're standing in front of the Rock House that Rose built. She ordered the plans from a Sears catalogue.

I was joined by my significant other, who graciously indulged my Laura time and listened to me talk about the books for hours on end. We’re standing in front of the Rock House that Rose built. She ordered the plans from a Sears catalogue.

This is a little disgusting: Almanzo, like many farmers, built a small shed by the spring. Because the water was cold, it kept the spring house, as it was called, cool enough to store milk and butter. Sorry, but I need assurance that my dairy products are stored at a consistent temperature of 35 degrees.

This is a little disgusting: Almanzo, like many farmers, built a small shed by the spring. Because the water was cold, it kept the spring house, as it was called, cool enough to store milk and butter. Sorry, but I need assurance that my dairy products are stored at a consistent temperature of 35 degrees.

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