A day at the fort

We took the kids to Fort Snelling today.  Got them up in the wee morning hour of 7:30 a.m. lol.  I laugh because normally they’re up before then watching cartoons on a Saturday, but we kept them up late last night playing board games.  I actually got up at 6:45 a.m. and made pancakes and scrambled eggs!  At that hour of the morning, anything other than scrambled would have ended up scrambled anyway so why even try.   After breakfast, we packed a picnic lunch and were out the door at 8:30 a.m.  A quick stop at the ATV store for a helmet for Ditty and another quick stop at Target to return a black vinyl storage ottoman and get the brown vinyl storage ottoman and we were on the way to Fort Snelling.

Traffic was pretty usual going into the cities, heavy with open spots here and there.  We arrived at the visitor center and waited in line to check in.  I love having memberships to certain places that we enjoy going to often.  It’s great to get in places like that for free and we definitely use them enough to make up the membership fee well before the year is out.  Got down to the fort and the kids had a blast checking out all the buildings.  I love how most of the fort is hands on, try this, explore what this/that was like.  Too many places feel like museums with their Do Not Touch Anything mentality, the fort and several other historic sites in our membership are definitely of the come on, use all of your senses and really explore variety.  We missed the opening parade, but made it in time to see the infantry drill.  We got to talk to the fife player.  Ditty mentioned that she played the flute and he offered to let her try to play the fife, but she got quiet and shy when presented with one.  DH showed her that it was similar to playing her flute but she still didn’t want to try so we moved on to the laundress’ station.  Did you know that the laundress made more money in a month than the enlisted men?  Only the officers made more.  The woman portraying the laundress also mentioned that the only soap available for use back then was lye soap and the garments had to be rinsed twice to get all the lye soap out of the clothes.  So if a certain soldier didn’t pay his laundress on time, he might find himself out on the parade grounds for inspection, sweating under the hot sun and feeling a sudden itchiness creep over him because the lye and the sweat would combine and start irritating the skin on their knees or elbows and the soldier might get docked pay for not remaining in formation and at attention and you can bet that he wished that he’d paid his laundress on time.

The kids also got to try some period games at the fort as well.  And after the infantry drill, yes they did shoot their muskets, we went back out to the van and got our picnic lunch and went to the tables near the parking lot.  After lunch, we went over to Sibley House.  The two historical sites were working in tandem this weekend and the Friends of Sibley House committee provided free shuttle service to Sibley House from the fort and back again.  We met a couple from Indiana while waiting for the 1:00 p.m. shuttle.  They were up here helping their friends from California move one of their children into a college dorm room.  They said visiting their friends here was definitely cheaper than having to go all the way to California.  They were heading back today, but wanted to take in a few more sights before they endured the eight hour drive home.  I can relate to that.  When you’ve had fun, going home is hard-enjoyable in its own right, but still hard.

Sibley House has guided tours only and they definitely had more of the don’t touch this mentality.  Most of the chairs were roped off and the kids got tired of standing all the time.  Luckily there were a few benches here and there so that they could sit down or I don’t think they would have lasted the whole tour.  But they did and when we got back up the big hill to the visitor center and bought them each a stick of candy, and one for me too.   (On a side note, when did gravity get so strong?  walking up that hill seemed like climbing a mountain.  and this tour is not for people who have mobility issues.  we walked up and down stairs and over uneven ground and that hill just about did in more people than just me.)  Back on the bus to the fort and we got back in time to watch them fire the cannon.  We missed the bread baking demo though.  That was a bummer.

We stayed until the fort closed and got to watch them do the final parade and inspection.  The man portraying Colonel Snelling explained what was going on as it was happening.  It was a very interesting day.  And the kids were happy to sit down in Perkins for supper on the way home.  Kids eat free on Tuesday & Saturday nights at a metro area Perkins, so we enjoyed the break too.

Regarding the ottoman earlier in this entry, yes I did know that I wanted a brown one not a black one.  However, our local Target only had a black one that was undamaged, so I bought that one to avoid losing out on the sale price.  Target’s policy has been that if you buy something on sale and return it for the same item after the sale, they treat it as an even exchange.  The policy may have changed but since I didn’t want to spend an extra $20 after the sale to get a brown one, I bought the black as sort of a hedge against the higher price.  I called the other Target, prior to going there to see if they had an ottoman in brown.  When they said that they did, we stopped and did the exchange.  The sale was still on so I don’t know whether the old policy is still the policy but I’m glad that I now have the color that I wanted in the first place.  My beige walls are happier with the brown too.


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