Kirsten and the White Pines Village

Hello! This is Kirsten’s last adventure being Historical Girl of the Year. She went to the White Pines Village in Ludington MI with Heather. She felt right at home right away….

 or maybe not so much at home because living in a new country and going to school was so hard for Kirsten. She had just arrived from Sweden and didn’t speak English. Her cousins Anna and Lisbeth told her tales of the teacher punching students and hitting them with a ruler or even a cane, or having to sit in front of the class wearing a dunce cap for the whole day!

 Kirsten was so nervous about going to school in America she felt dizzy.

 When she arrived at school, Miss Winston asked her to introduce herself and she couldn’t even to do that! Her mispronunciation made some of the boys snicker and her face got red with embarrassment.

Kirsten continued feeling lost at school. Even her younger brother Peter seemed to catch on to English and be able to spell and write words better than she could.

Then when Miss Winston announced that every student was going to have to recite a poem from memory she had to fight back tears. Wishing she could vanish from the school. She couldn’t even read her poem! How could she possibly memorize it? And even if she could memorize it, she was sure to forget it once she stood up in front of the stove to recite it!

 She was sure to burst into tears and get tittered at even worse than the first day of school! How could she possibly be made to do such a thing?

But then, when she was finished eating, Miss Winston asked her if she would like to switch to a different poem that might be a little easier.

Miss Winston had come on a ship from a different country just like Kirsten had.

“I want you to recite this with feeling,” Miss Winston said, handing her a slip of paper that said,
‘Swiftly Swiftly flew the ship.

Yet she sailed softly too.

Sweetly, sweetly blew the breeze

On me alone it blew.’ (Rime of the Ancient Mariner)

Kirsten copied it many times on her slate to help her memorize it and when the time came to recite it, she felt nervous, but there was something else too.

Standing in front of the class, she pictured herself back on the Eagle, the ship that had carried her here from Sweden. She could feel the breeze on her skin, waving through her hair.

On her alone it blew.

One summer Kirsten got to go to town with her family. She had discovered a bee tree and after an exciting adventure dodging bears, she and her father and mother took the bees from the tree and made their own bee colony. Because of Kirsten’s discovery, they went to the general store to sell their honey.

 Kirsten looked at the all the things lining the shelves of the store.

 Everything you could possibly want or need! Even food!

 A huge meat cutter that took two people to work!

Since Kirsten had discovered the bee tree, her father allowed her to choose one thing just for herself from the store that he’d be willing to buy with the extra money. Kirsten chose a straw hat.

Her family received much needed extra money the next year too. Their cabin had burned down because Kirsten had tried to take care of an injured baby raccoon. She had let it in the house, where it knocked over a kerosene lamp, lighting the cabin on fire. Somehow, Kirsten was able to save their heirloom trunk with all their precious things in it, but the rest of the cabin burned down. Her father had hoped to buy land, but now they would need the money to build another cabin.

One winter day, she and her brother, Lars went out trapping. They saw some foot tracks and followed them to another cabin. They saw the cabin looked like it hadn’t been lived in for a long time.

After knocking, they pushed the door open and went in. Kirsten screamed.

 It actually wasn’t the bear’s head that made her scream, it was a man, staring straight at her, except –

“It’s okay, Kirsten, that’s Old Jack and he’s dead.”

A man was sitting, propped up in a corner and now that she looked more closely, she realized he was indeed dead.
“How did he die?”
“He’s old. He probably sat down and his heart stopped beating and his body froze.”

 Kirsten looked around the room, “What are we going to do?”

“We should bury the body, but the ground is frozen, so we’ll have to come back in the spring. But I think, because Old Jack was all along by himself, we were the ones to find his house, which means these furs are ours now.”

 Old Jack was a hunter and trapper and his cabin was full of them.

 Skunk, beaver, deer and fox pelts along with the bear.

 Kirsten realized how much this would help her family. They could buy a house just outside of town and the land her father wanted!

She and Lars put their snowshoes back on and hurried as fast as they could to tell their father the news!

 Kirsten had seen and experienced a building being raised. Just before her birthday, all the neighbors had gotten together for a barn raising! They had all brought their saws.

 And sawed the logs that had come from the wagon to build their barn.

 Tall strong men helped to cut and stack the logs to make the building.

And they filled in the spaces with a mixture of clay and dirt so the outside air would stay out.

 Inside the barn, the barn, Kirsten had to help milk the cows,

And churn the butter!

It was a lot of work, being a pioneer in 1854, but Kirsten had her family to support and love each other, a whole community who helped each other out and celebrated with them, and surprising blessings from the Lord right when they needed them most!

Kirsten had a lot of fun at the White Pines Village and she had a lot of fun being Historical Girl of the Year. Stay tuned because next month I will introduce a new HGOTY!!!

Josefina Montoya!!

And stay tuned for more posts to come in between!


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Party Plethora

Hello Readers!

I’ve realized it’s been a long time since I’ve done a tour of the Doll Room or a What the Dolls are Up To post and there have been enough changes I thought I’d give you a little tour so you can see.

What used to be the stables has now become Felicity’s bedroom which she shares with Elizabeth. Yes, Felicity was very upset when she found out the stable would go (She said she’d rather have that be her bedroom. But Elizabeth wouldn’t hear of it and said she’d rather move out and live with the Hat Burglar than sleep in a stall!

These girls are getting ready for something big! I am going to attempt to bike ride 100 miles in September and when the dolls found out about it, they wanted to join in! Only thing, there weren’t enough bikes. So they’re going to try a Roller Run and see who can roller skate, roller blade, scoot, or skateboard the longest and the farthest!

Jessica invited a whole bunch of dolls to her elegant summer tea party. All the dolls had such fun getting dressed up in different summer colors!

 And they weren’t the only ones having a party either! Can you guess who these dolls are dressed as? A couple months ago I watched Little Women on PBS and the dolls got all excited and dressed as the characters! Ruthie in blue is Beth, Alyssa (seated) is Marmee, Saige is Jo, Caroline is Amy, and Amy….(who was not too happy to not be her namesake. More on that in the next post.) is Meg.

 Downstairs, a picnic party is bustling along with tons of food, a volley ball net and plenty of kids and dogs!


 “Mmm! My favorite!! Grilled chicken and macaroni and cheese!”

Maggie was grilling up the dogs and the burgers.

Next door, some more dolls were getting ready for bed….but not ready to sleep yet!!

 Staying up late to giggle and play games is much more important than sleep!

 So many parties!!! Even in the kitchen, Kathy was celebrating her strawberry birthday!

 Outside, Lanie is starting a butterfly garden. She is soooo excited, because sometime soon, she’ll get to go to a real butterfly garden with Katelynne and Camille!!

 And finally, Kirsten is celebrating her last birthday as Historical Girl of the Year. Kirsten will get one more adventure and then…..

The announcement for who the next HGOTY will be, is coming up next month!! Stay tuned!


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Turbine Tour

Hello everyone! It’s Amy here, writing about an adventure I had. Heather and her family have been going to Ludington Michigan for the past 26 years. You’d think they’d be bored after so long, wouldn’t you? Been there, done that, for so long, over and over again. I guess that’s what tradition is. But surprisingly, she and her family either have some completely crazy adventures. Or they go see something new. And this has kind of been happening for the past 26 years!

This year, they decided to go on a wind turbine tour! So hang on to your hats and I’ll tell you about it! We all got on a bus and drove to the wind farm. Our tour guide was pretty funny. He had grown up in Ludington all his life, (in fact his father founded the Historic White Pines Village, which you’ll hear all about in yet another post!) and seemed to know everything about everyone. He’d be giving us information about the wind turbines and suddenly point out the window and say, “Well, look at that! All those cars in that church must mean Sara and Steven are getting married!” Or, another time we’d pass a graveyard and he said, “My wife and I are going to be buried in that graveyard. Everyone’s dying to get in there. Since it’s on a hill, you have to decide whether you want to face the lake or the road and the woods. For the longest time my wife couldn’t decided. We finally chose the lake. A couple years later we found out someone had bought the plot right next to ours. My wife got all excited and wanted to meet the people. ‘I want to know who’ll be next door to me for all enternity!’ she said.”

Wind turbines are basically the opposite of fans. The wind is solar energy that generates the propellers to spin. The turbine takes that energy and converts it into electricity.

There are 56 of these things in Ludington and it was quite the production getting them here and building them! A factory nearby made the parts and trucks carried the parts to where they would get set up and built. The only problem was they weren’t careful enough on their measurements. The first truck drove down the highway, got to a bridge and got stuck! For hours! After that, each truck had to go 10 miles out of their way and make a u-turn.

Each turbine needed a crane to put it together. “Cranes can be very tipsy things,” our tour guide said, “the ditch along the road had to be filled in and the road to where the turbine was going had to be completely leveled. They did all that, all the looking down stuff, but I guess they never looked up, cause when they were building these, I’d drive by, and I’d see the crane just settin’ there. First day, just settin’ there. Second day, just settin’ there. Third day, just settin’ there again. Finally found out there were power lines from a competing electrical company and the crane was too tall to get through! They ended up having to take the crane apart in order to put the turbine together!”

Our tour guide grew up on a fruit farm just like the ones surrounding all the wind turbines. He said it used to take half a day to pick cherries from one cherry tree. Now, it takes about two minutes because it’s done by machine, but the trees don’t last.

We saw many stumps, many dead trees, and many dying trees. The machine shakes the trees violently so the cherries fall and are collected on a conveyer belt. The trees can’t handle the shaking and they die. So eventually, the farmer will just rip all the trees out and plant new ones. It’s cheaper and easier, but I feel so sad for the trees.

I also feel sad for the birds.

The turbines kind of ‘eat’ birds. So many birds hit them, that lots of scavengers can be found, searching for the dead ones.

But the turbines can also get hit themselves – by lightening. Our tour guide said the federal agency was super particular that they had to be pure white.
“Can you see any part of it that’s not pure white?” he asked.
We looked, and sure enough, the very tips of the propellers were black because they had been struck by lightening!

We didn’t get to go inside the turbine, but we were told there is a 300ft ladder inside, and in order to climb up you had to take a test, and almost be like an EMT in order to pass it.

But the turbine will automatically turn it’s blades to catch as much wind as possible.

Lots of people didn’t want these turbines to pop up here in the countryside of Ludington. They came up with all sorts of excuses, like ‘they make too much noise.’

I stood directly underneath one and it hardly makes a sound! Just a really soothing swishing noise. I could fall asleep to it!

The real problem was the wind turbines don’t look so beautiful, they’re an eyesore to some people. And our tour guide showed us the beautiful countryside, of rolling hills and dunes and corn and fruit trees, all interspersed with the turbines, but I don’t know, the turbines look like big huge white spinning flowers that soar above the green.

What do you think?
Stay tuned for more upcoming posts! Including the promised sailing one!!!
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