Thursday, January 16, 2014

Leonis Adobe Field Trip

Our class and room 18, Mrs. Cha’s class, went on a field trip today to the Leonis Adobe in Calabasas. This is one of my favorite field trips of the year, and it fits in perfectly with our California history studies this year. The Leonis Adobe, built in 1844, was the first protected cultural landmark in Los Angeles. It was the home of one of our of most famous early settlers, Miguel Leonis, a Basque shepherd who grew so wealthy that he was known at one point as “The King of Calabasas.” Today the Leonis Adobe provides the students and other visitors with a sense of what it was like to live on a rancho at the beginning of the American period. 

The two classes were split into several groups and all went to the different parts of the ranch at different times. The house tour is one of the best parts. Here a docent plays the daughter of Miguel Leonis and his wife Espiritu Cahuilla, the daughter of a Chumash chieftain, and gives them background about the family.

In the rustic dining room there is a wax statue of Leonis. He was six foot, four inches, an astounding height for the Victorian period. No wonder people called him “El Basque Grande”, the Big Basque.

For most of the students, getting to feed and touch the many farm animals is the absolute high point of the visit. There are several different types of sheep and goats here as well as Texas Longhorn cattle and draught horses.

The students were coached in the fine points of roping cattle. The fantastic docent always made sure they succeeded.

Another docent explained the workings of a blacksmith’s forge and took them through the exhibits in the barn.

The students also learned about the domestic chores that were so important on a ranch. Here they learned to wash clothes on a washboard and to dry them in a wringer. So parents, if they can do this, of course they can do the washing at home, too!

 Cooking was important on a large ranch, and the students were taught how to grind corn into masa. They they took ball of masa and made them into tortillas with a press.

They learned about some less appealing parts of life on a ranch, too. Horrors! This was the bathroom!

As the tour came to an end, the students with given hot homemade tortillas with freshly churned butter. They were delicious!

On our way out, the two classes posed for a class picture.

We had lunch at the Woodland Hills Recreation Center nearby.

There was even a little time to play before we got on the bus and came home.

Homework:  (1) Do the spelling word search. (2) Do Fractions to Decimals 4. 

There will be spelling, reading, and math quizzes tomorrow. The students will also have the chapter 4 history test. They can use their notes for this and we went over everything on Wednesday. 

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