Arriving at the Homestead

So I’ve finally graduated from college, packed up my apartment, and made it to Nebraska! When I got out of my car and stepped into the park for the first time, I was hit by a huge gust of wind, realized I had no cell service, and couldn’t figure out how to log on to the wifi in my house, which was frustrating to say the least. So, I went to explore the trails. I was amazed at all the wildlife I saw on my short excursion! There were birds flying around and singing every time I turned my head, close to a dozen rabbits must have hopped across my path, and I even saw a deer. (Since then I have figured out that I get phone service if I stand in the right spot, and have successfully gotten onto the wifi.)  

A view of the park across the prairie


A bunny friend who crossed my path

  This week I’ve jumped right in to all-staff training, where we’ve had sessions about everything from the history of the Homestead Act of 1862 and the local Mennonite church, to fire extinguisher and water rescue training, defensive driving, and plant identification. Not only have I learned a lot this week, I’ve also been able to see all of the park staff every day, and I’m finally starting to get everyone’s names down. During a break in programming today, I helped Amy, the Museum Technician, clean the one room schoolhouse in preparation for a 4H event tomorrow. It was interesting to spend time there after hearing about it during training, as it was one place I hadn’t made it to during my wanders.  

Homestead National Monument of America is located on the homestead of Daniel Freeman, one of the first people to claim a homestead under the Homestead Act of 1862. The location of the first homestead claimed by a woman is just down the road, where the First Mennonite Church is now located. This log cabin was moved here from a neighboring homestead, but is similar to the house Daniel Freeman first built on the property.

So far it’s been a pretty good first week! I tried a runza for the first time (a Nebraska specialty from the restaurant of the same name, a loose meat sandwich with cooked cabbage on a thin, pocket-like roll, with other options including cheese, mushroom and swiss, and spicy jack, to name a few), went to the farmer’s market, and started reading a new book. I also made plans to stay on here through mid August, so I will be here for the total solar eclipse, which will be a big event for the park! I’ve heard so much about it already, even though it’s months away! – oc

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