Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I love history

We got our first time off this month and went to the Yoop.  You know, the U.P.?  No?  Yeah, I didn't know what anyone was talking about either when they referred to this.  Turns out there's this part of Michigan called The Upper Peninsula which is basically, but not really, Canada.  You have to cross a five mile bridge over the tippy tops of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan to get there, AND you have to pay a toll so it kind of feels like you're entering another country.  Anyway, we went there for a couple days and of course, knowing us, turned it into an educational field trip for our offspring who we forget to homeschool half the time.  Here's what we learned:

When you use a spray-on sunscreen, don't be fooled.  You still need to rub it in, just like you would the regular ol' lotion type.  Why?  Because if you don't you will end up with a sunburn in the lovely pattern of a lace doilie or knitted afghan. 

Other things we learned:

There's a fort called Michilimackinac.  It's the longest on-going archaeological dig in America right now; they've been digging it up since the '50s.  It was built in the 1700s, so we're talking colonial times, people!  My favorite time period!  Now I have an uncontrollable urge to watch my very favorite movie ever, The Last of the Mohican's.  I can hear Daniel Day-Lewis calling to me actually...No matter where I go, he will find me.  No matter how long it matter how far.  Sigh.  I could watch that movie everyday and not get tired of it.  But anyway.  For a mere $30 we got to spend all day inside the fort, soaking it up.  The fort was originally built by the French and was used for the fur trade (getting all those beaver skins back to Europe for high fashion was a major trade) via the lakes, which were the international highway of the time.  After the British overtook the French during the French and Indian War, the British got their redcoat rumps kicked by the Indians who were annoyed by the British lack of gift-giving (the French were good gift givers it turns out).  During a game of Baggatiway, which is like lacrosse, the Indians "accidentally" hit the ball over the fort walls and the British didn't think twice when they rushed in to retrieve it.  The Indian woman pulled out knives from underneath their skirts and blankets, handing them to their men, and after a large handful of soldiers met their fate and the rest were captured, the point was made.  Afterwards, the British remembered to give better gifts and friendly relations were resumed.  Well, until the next war: the American Revolution.  Right around that time, the general decided the fort was not super well protected and for two years, they dismantled it and sailed it (summer) across Lake Huron, or sledded it (winter) across Lake Huron, to Mackinac Island.  What wasn't worth taking was burned so the French couldn't have a comfy place to camp out while they plotted and planned their attacks.  So what didn't burn completely is what they're digging up now.  The rest of course, is replicas.

A typical hearth.  Imagine keeping this going 24/7 because it was also your oven and stove top!  And then imagine you're wearing a corset and skirts that each have three yards of material in them.  Interesting facts about the clothes: by the age of 7 the girls made their own, and by the age of 9 the girls made all their younger siblings as well.  Because the washing and scrubbing on a washboard would pop off buttons, the women would snip off every single one EVERY SINGLE TIME they did laundry, then sew them back on.  This is why the ladies clothes had less buttons and more ties and ribbons.  I guess the saucy flirty look was just an added bonus. 

Moose in a tri corner hat.  I am concerned about how shy and introverted he is.  Should we seek help for that?  It must because of how unsocialized and weird us homeschoolers are.

Part of the fort.  See the bridge in the background?

Also shy, my girls.
And short.
Oh, if you were shorter than 5'6" you couldn't join the British army.  Unless you 'promised to grow.'  True story.

So, that's the story of Michilimackinac (silent C at the end).  Actually, that's only some of the story, but I forgot to grab a brochure on my way out so I'm going on my flawed memory.  That concludes the history part of my blog, at least for now, and until the next field trip.  If you're hanging around for a math or science blog, you'll be waiting a loooooooooong time, my friends.  The very thought sends shivers down my spine.


  1. Loved reading about this!!! It reminded me of our time in Williamsburg. It was like we were living in the 16 and 17 hundreds. Sooo fun! Keep enjoying your new adventure!!! Miss you.

  2. Love the soldier girls! That picture is a keeper for sure. Sounds like a fun time, although a 5-mile bridge would have scared the pee-waddins out of me. Well, off to add Last of the Mohicans to my netflix queue.

  3. That looks so awesome! Love your pics! =) What a great fieldtrip! =D

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    Have a great weekend!

  5. What an enjoyable read! Thanks for visiting Under the Golden Apple Tree!

    I am fairly close to the U.P. but sadly have never been. Looks like I am really missing out. I have been to Mackinac Island where the Grand Hotel is located. I love it there. :)