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Tuesday, September 2

Paul Bunyan (Tarveys)


I can't find a recording of this one for free, but it is only 99c at Amazon. 

You know those times when you're looking for one thing, but stumble upon another?  That was today!  We drove around Eau Claire looking for the Chippewa Valley Museum, which we eventually did find, and stumbled upon this cool Paul Bunyan Museum
While the legend of Paul Bunyan is well-known, maybe you don't know that he was actually just around 6' 5" tall!  The other men were all my size, and that made him look like a giant...hence the folklore.   This museum has a nice balance of folklore, history, geography, and science.  It's a tiny little place, and you'd almost have to know it was there to be find it... 
The logging industry was the economic foundation of the North Woods for several decades.  Inside the museum, we learned how to distinguish different types of trees by their leaves and bark.  We had a chance to follow the logging steps, from felling trees all the way to running them through the saw-house.  Also, there were several games to play and you could even go "ice skating!" 
Inside the historical mock-up, we had a chance to see how the loggers lived.  It must have been cramped, dirty, and miserable during the long winters.  There were nine beds for thirty-six men, and the cook had to live in the corner of the kitchen! 
Each of the outbuildings had an audio recording, autobiographic-style, talking about how that building was used.  The boys were particularly taken by the stables and blacksmith shop. 

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What we discovered was that the museum we were looking for actually sat back-to-back with the Paul Bunyan Museum.  Go figure!  We had a picnic lunch and walked over to the Chippewa Valley Museum.  Most of the museum was closed for indoor construction, which was a bummer.  It would have been nice if they had told us that when we bought the tickets....however, it was still a nice, albeit short, glimpse into Wisconsin history. 
There was a lot of Little House in the Big Woods items, since the Ingalls family lived in this area during that book's time.  In the gift shop, I found an interesting book of paper dolls for the 1980's.  After taking this picture, I also found one for the 1990's and the 2000's.  Are we really that old, that they are already making paper dolls of our day-glo and grungy outfits? 
Back at the hotel, the boys decided to pretend they were in a logging camp.  We hiked the trails and made 'ruts' in the path.  We identified trees and decided which ones would be best for building, and which ones should end up in the wood chipper!  The weather cleared up for the afternoon, and it turned into a beautiful autumn afternoon! 

Paul Bunyan & Chippewa Valley unit :
Disney's Paul Bunyan video (about 18 minutes)
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