A Very Bookish 4th of July has been out for almost two months, and now this limited-time collection has just one month left!
Recently, I returned to the land that inspired my Fourth of July novella, Prairie Independence Day. The corn stood tall and thick, the soy formed low, leafy bushes, and the untamed prairie grass waved in the wind. In the mornings, a sometimes soft, sometimes strong, but always constant wind tempered the sun’s heat, but the afternoons turned quite sultry. I had a lot of fun visiting my friends who live in eastern South Dakota, but one of the highlights was our trip to the Ingalls sites in De Smet, which I wrote about in Prairie Independence Day.
They were almost exactly how I remembered them. A few details were different, but nothing of much consequence. (Sadly, the changes were mainly due to the pandemic, which I did not include in my novella.) Out on the homestead site, it was still incredible to touch Pa’s cottonwoods—planted in the 1880s—and walk inside the dugout, the claim shanty, and the wooden house representing the types of homes the Ingalls family lived in at one time or another. I loved thinking about how they walked this very land under my feet. Just like Chandler Ivey in my story, I enjoyed the covered wagon ride to the one-room schoolhouse and the one-room church. There were demonstrations and antique objects that helped bring the books to life, such as the hay twists Pa and Laura had to make during The Long Winter. And then in the town of De Smet, I loved imagining them inside the Surveyor’s House (featured in By the Shores of Silver Lake) and the Third Street house (where every member of the immediate family except for Laura lived at some point).
|Inside the Claim Shanty|
|Inside the Dugout|
|Ma's Little House|
If you’re a Little House fan and you’re ever in eastern South Dakota, visit the Ingalls Homestead Site and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Historic Homes! And if you'd like to read about my first visit to De Smet, way back in 2013, here are the blog posts:
P.S. If you haven’t gotten a copy of our limited edition novella collection yet, here is the link to check it out!