Hello -- this article and several pictures were in the Minneapolis Tribune on Monday, June 27, 2005. This is what the article said:
"Young campers find their inner pioneer at Murphy's Landing
June 27, 2005
Story by Alexandra Zayas Star Tribune Staff Writer Photos by Tom Sweeney Star Tribune
At the far end of a winding dirt road in Shakopee, a rustic 19th-century farm nestles in a tree-ringed hollow, shimmering in the 92-degree sun.
The Berger Farm along the Minnesota River, where the German pioneer family originally raised most of its own food and made its own clothing, is now part of Historic Murphy's Landing and is home base for the Three Rivers Park District's Pioneer Log Cabin Life Camp.
The three-day blast to the past for 20 first-, second- and third-grade graduates is a day camp aimed at recapturing life in the 1870s -- bandanas, bonnets and all.
It's one of myriad summer camp opportunities available to Minnesota kids. From sports to science and Bible verses to dance steps, campers can learn about almost anything that interests them. Watch Around the Metro each Monday this summer for a peek at what our kids are doing with their summer vacations.
Samuel Viskocil, 8, held onto his brown suede cowboy hat as he jumped through a window in the double-bay barn. His mission: find the right wooden log to add to the 4-by 4-foot cabin he and his fellow campers were piecing together. It was like Lego with splinters.
"[The counselor] said not to jump through the window," scolded 7-year-old Kari Jirik, whose twin sister Rebecca lifted the other end of a wooden plank. Their matching braided pigtails flipped over the frilly-sleeved shoulders of their period frocks and rested on the back of their bonnets as they trudged out of the barn with another piece for the cabin.
"I don't care," Samuel said, as he explored the floor of the hay-strewn barn. "There's a hole right there, and there's a hole right here. I don't know what the dickens lives in 'em!"
Samuel has been obsessed with the early American time period ever since he watched "Liberty's Kids" on PBS, a cartoon. It's about three colonial teenagers who helped Benjamin Franklin report in the Pennsylvania Gazette about the rumblings before the Revolution.
"I like it 'cause there's a lot of fighting," Samuel said. "I really like the Alamo."
At Historic Murphy's Landing, year-round interactive programs transport students of all ages into the history of Minnesota's settlers. Costumed staff members act as guides, and from fur trade to family life, the 19th century comes alive in a fun learning experience. And the kids embrace their roles in the re-creation of cabin life, right down to turns of speech and 19th-century manners.
They didn't cover such stuff in Samuel's first-grade class, but he and his cousin Cole Engstrom, 7, have pored over a musket and pistol -- Civil War relics owned by Cole's dad -- and they have used their knowledge about the war to create their own re-enactments with toy guns. And like a pistol, Samuel took off, and with a running jump over a big rock, dunked his red bandana in a tub of water.
"It gets a little hot," said Abby Wessel, 7. Eve Burdick, 9, splashed water from the tub onto her face.
No electric fans or air conditioners intrude on the authentic scene.
"We make sure to keep them watered," said Kathy Dummer, site manager for Murphy's Landing. "They're pumped."
Beads of sweat trickled down Samuel's face -- but he kept his hat on.
Eight girls, most sporting bonnets, aprons and frilly frocks stood in line inside a steaming two-story log cabin eagerly awaiting their turn to wash the dishes.
"Yep, you use the same soap for the laundry, the dishes and yourself," said Catie Jacobs, another counselor.
"Whoa, I'd be dirty," said 8-year-old Abigail Weiby.
"Can we wash anything? Shoot, I'll get a pan," Claire Neiman, 7, as she exchanged her teacup for a black skillet.
"I'm washing it 'cause it's dirty, denty and dusty," Abigail said, examining the bumps and breaks of her pan.
Olivia Haller, 9, of Chanhassen, put her hand in the pan, and when she pulled it out it was a rusty, reddish black.
"E-e-ew!" said Linnea Melbye, 9, also of Chanhassen. And she put her hand into her own pan.
"E-e-ew!" she repeated, when she looked down at her skirt. It matched Olivia's hand.
"Oh, you'll be fine," Olivia said. "You can use a washing machine at home."
Wait ... they wash their own clothes at home?
"Um ... no" Abigail and Paige Erickson, 9, of Chanhassen said in unison, while they concentrated on a washboard and the rags they scrubbed clean. While most of the girls said their parents do most of the work at home, they were all in awe of the old-fashioned chores. They swapped stories about the chores they had completed earlier that day.
"You get to iron," Kaitlyn Ryan, 7, of Apple Valley said. "Really?" Eve asked enthusiastically. "Do you wash the dishes?" "Yeah," Kaitlyn said. "Cool!" Eve said.
What is it about the chores that makes them fun?
"Parents are like, 'Why don't you do this at home?' " Jacobs said. "But the kids always say, 'That's different.' "
Cole's tongue stuck sharply out of the side of his mouth as he concentrated on the crank used to grind corn for the chickens. "Cole, sheesh, you tired yet?" Eve asked.
He continued to grind with gusto. "Why would you like dry corn?" Kari asked. "Why wouldn't you?" Jack Lambert, 7, Minneapolis said, eyeing the powder on his hand. It looked like he was about to taste it.
Norm Peterson, the long-bearded counselor who eats, sleeps and breathes the 19th century as an on-site historian, smiled. "It's fun to see a lot of these kids get interested in history," he said.
At lunch, the only three boy pioneers huddled together around an unfortunate spider. Samuel doused it in the fruit punch that matched the stain on his white T-shirt. Cole attacked it with bug spray.
A group of five girls watched from a picnic table. The classic boy-girl dynamic seemed to transcend the centuries. "Yesterday, they tried to rope a chicken," Eve said. "They played tug of war with a tree and they fell down," Kari added.
High-pitched shrieks cut through the air. A spider climbed up 7-year-old Piper Melbye's puffy sleeve. Jacobs rushed to the rescue and brushed it off. Piper and the girls giggled.
So would they be able to live pioneer life every day?
"It's too hard of a job to do all these chores every day," Piper said.
Olivia disagreed. "I could live with it."