Our Trip to the Olivas Adobe

By Karolina, Haley, Jenna, Emily, and Alex

January2013 (11)In January, fourth grade classes went on a field trip to the Olivas Adobe. The first thing we did was learn about the house and how it was made of adobe bricks. Later we got to go into the freezing mud and make adobe! First we took a handful of mud and put it in a box that would shape it. Once it would be dry, it would be hard enough to build your house with. We learned that water destroys adobe, and the Olivas family that lived in the house had to protect it by grinding limestone into a powder and then put it in water which makes paint. The family then had to paint it over the adobe house so that when it rains, the paint will protect it from collapsing.  

photo 4-6Along with making the adobe bricks, we also learned to lasso. Not only did we figure out the technique, but we had a little competition.  Some teams played boys against girls.  With a few more girls than boys, the girls won every time.  If you lassoed one horn, your team got one point.  If you lassoed two horns, your team got two points. Last of all, if you managed to lasso the back hips, your team got one and a half points. Once you’ve added up the total scores, the team with the most points won!  This is how the girls’ team became victorious. We not only had a competition, but we learned and had so much fun during the process.  This is why we will never forget our lassoing experience.

During the field trip, our class got to grind corn. Here is how we did it. You put moist corn on a certain type of rock. Then you take another rock called a matate and push the corn up and down until it’s mushy. The Indian women would make about 50 tortillas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Indian women had to make that many because there were about 23 people living at a rancho. Each person would get about 2. If there was a get together there at the rancho, they might have to make more than 150 tortillas. This is how the Olivas family made their tortillas.

At our field trip, our class went on a tour of the Olivas’s home. The rooms downstairs were the pantry, storage room, kitchen, dining room and “parlor”. The first one we explored was the storage room. It was a tiny room that didn’t have any windows and was lit by dim candles, which gave it an eerie effect. The next one we went in was the pantry which also had no windows and was dark. The kitchen was bright and cozy. There was a swing for a toddler so the women cooking could watch over the kid, a tub for baths, and old stove. Then we went into the dining room which had a large white table. The last room on the first floor was the “parlor”. It had two big old fashioned chairs, and a wind-up toy that

the Olivas children played with. On the second floor, there was the girls’ bedroom, the parents’ room, and a little chapel. The girls’ room was the smallest room on the second floor. It had two beds, lots of dolls, trunks were they kept their clothes, and a little nightstand where they would wash their hands and face. The next room was the parents’ room, which was larger than the girls’ bedroom. There were a few religious pictures on the wall, a big bed, a dresser, and a crib for the baby. The last room was the chapel. It was the biggest room on the second floor. The chapel had rows of seats for the family, an altar and many religious pictures. When guests came over, they would sleep in the chapel. This is what it was like inside the Olivas house when we went on the Olivas Adobe field trip.

photo 5-4

Once we were done with the upstairs tour, we pressed the ground corn into mini tortillas. First, the docent gave us a ball of dough made out of the ground corn. While we were waiting, we loosened up the balls of dough by switching them from one hand to the other. When it was our turn to press, we put the ball of dough on one side of a hand towel. The towel was on the inside of the presser. There was a lid, which we put over the ball of dough. A metal bar, on the opposite side, was used to push down the top. The lid, in turn, pressed the ball into a mini tortilla, which the docents covered with butter and salt, then cooked.

At the very end of our field trip, we got to eat the delicious tortillas. They were great! We were even allowed to have two. We are sure we will remember that day.

Thank you PTA for funding such a great field trip for our fourth grade classes.  They really make learning more fun.

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