Thursday, February 2, 2012

LBJ Ranch

While staying at Lady Bird Johnson Municipal Park in Fredericksburg, we decided to spend a day exploring LBJ National Historic Park as well as LBJ State Park.  We started out at the National Park, touring his boyhood home, watching a video on Lady Bird Johnson, and earning more Junior Ranger badges to add to the collection.  It was fascinating to learn that Mrs. Johnson had her children listen to the news on the radio in the evenings and debate the issues afterward; clearly, what we do at home influences our children long after they leave home!

This is the home that LBJ grew up in
The original phone
This is the bed that the former president slept in as a boy

This is the back of the home with our volunteer guide
Upon leaving the National Park Visitor Center, we drove over to the State Park Visitor Center, and picked up a driving tour CD for the LBJ Ranch.  Our first stop was the Sauer-Beckmann Farmstead, a living history farm, where life is lived as it was in 1918.  The people there wear period clothing, and they "live life" exactly as it was then, meaning without electricity or running water.  You never know exactly what they'll be doing when you visit. When we visited, they were finishing up lunch, and they had milk out on the table in various stages (no electricity=no refrigeration)...freshly milked that morning, curds and whey, cheese, and cream.  We got a lesson in why it's completely safe to leave raw milk out but not pasteurized milk!  Not saying pasteurization is all bad, but I admit that if we weren't mobile and if we could have a dairy cow, we'd definitely drink raw milk instead!  We also got a lesson in why it's safe to leave pickles (vinegar) and jams/jellies (sugar) out.  The girls got to go out to the henhouse and retrieve eggs, too!  The kids loooved this stop!

The barnyard of the living history farm
This man showed us all the ways that they use the milk here

This hung in the kitchen.  It translates to "I lift my eyes unto the hills, where does my help come from"
Genna got to fetch this fresh egg
Lots & lots of canned veggies
Pig bladders, because you never know when you will need one
Soap made from lard

After leaving the living history farm, we continued along the driving tour, seeing LBJ's birthplace, schoolhouse, and the family cemetery.  The drive takes you along the Pedernales River and through some beautiful pastureland.  In LBJ's time, they actually crossed the River in the water, but we crossed on a proper bridge well above the water.  The driving tour ends at the Texas White House, which is open for guided tours, $2/adult, no charge for kids, not exactly pricey.  It was definitely fascinating to see this "White House Away from the White House," quite a revolutionary concept in its time.  I don't think Steve or I knew much about LBJ or Lady Bird prior to this; it was interesting to learn of their devoted love for one another and their passion for being out in nature and protecting it for others to enjoy for years to come.  

LBJ and Lady Bird's gravestone
Air Force One that Johnson landed at this ranch
They used to hold cabinet meetings under this 400 year old  oak tree
LBJ's 65 Corvette
The Texas White House, LBJ spent 25% of his time in office right here
This is LBJ's car that is also a boat

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