Later that day in Nebraska
(state #48 by the way....ker-ching!)
A building shaped like a ploughshare came into view. It's the Homestead National Monument of America and more of a museum and visitor centre than a monument per se.
Here, we learned about the Homestead Act and the people who took the chance to take on an enormous challenge: to tame 160 acres of land in five years before calling it their own. Along the wall by the entrance was a series of state shapes with a cutout in proportion to the amount of land which was homesteaded.
It was clear that some states would have been rather less populated than they are today had it not been for these brave souls.
Before we did anything though, we just had to have a go on this rather marvellous swing and the three of us sat, gently swinging to and fro in the afternoon sunshine, with a soft prairie breeze blowing across the plains. Yes, really...it was absolutely lovely!
Inside there were a lot of stories to tell. Those of the settlers who overcame the weather, the locusts, the loneliness and many other hardships to make a go of the land they'd been given. Except, whose land was it to give? There were also the stories of the various Indian tribes, who had roamed these lands for centuries, never considering it their own, but part of their culture. They now found themselves cut off by barbed wire fences and keep out signs. A sorry tale indeed in that respect.
The story was told in a well balanced and even-handed way and we enjoyed chatting to the artist-in-residence who was painting in a journal - what a lovely way to spend a couple of weeks! We left and gazed over the prairie outside - what a beautiful landscape it is (at this time of the year, in this weather, from the comfort of our current situation...and so on!)
From here it was a relatively short drive into Lincoln, our stop for the next couple of nights. I couldn't resist snapping a couple of quilt panels along the way (or trying to, at least) Each field had a different block placed on the roadside, but somehow, I missed them all except this one, outside a church.
Never mind. Here we are in Lincoln, within view of the State Capitol which we'll visit tomorrow and the International Quilt Study Centre, which will, I'm sure, fulfil all quilty needs to be going on with.