by Carly Barlow and Anna Girolamo
This year, La Mariposa’s 4th grade classes went to the Olivas Adobe for a field trip. One of the reasons we liked this field trip was the guide. We liked the guide because he talked like a cowboy and made everybody step in the gross, disgusting, dirty mud pit. We stomped around in the mud, picked mud up in our hands, and put it in wooden molds to make adobe bricks. Another worker hosed us off afterwards.
Also while we were there, we made delicious tortillas. First we put corn on the matate (a stone table) and moved it back and forth with the mano (a rock) while pushing it at the same time. After we did that, we rolled the masa (smashed corn) into a ball. When we were done with that, we put these balls of masa into the tortilla press. Next workers cooked them on the old-fashioned outdoor stove. Finally we got to eat them! They were the best tortillas we had ever tasted in our life.
When we took a tour of the house, we saw lots of rooms. One room was the girls’ bedroom. Almost all the Olivas girls slept in this one room at a time. The babies slept in the parents’ room. The boys slept outside on the balcony. The Olivas family had 21 children, so there were lots of girls in one room. Next we toured the parents’ room. They had chamber pots to go to the bathroom. The boys’ job in the morning was to empty out the chamber pots. Then we toured their very own chapel. They had a picture of what the chapel looked like when the Olivas family lived there, and the chapel looks almost exactly the same now.
Cattle was important on the rancho. They had a lot of cattle, so they had to make their own cattle brand. To make a brand and get it on the cattle, you had to first make your own brand iron. Then you have to place the brand end in the fire. Lastly you put the hot iron brand on the animal’s body, and then you have your brand on the animal. We got to look at the cattle branding iron and other tools. We also saw rawhide and tanned cattle hide.
Another thing we did at Olivas Adobe was lasso a fake cow. It was so fun! Carly got zero points, but Anna got one point. To get a point, you had to get the rope around one of the cow’s horns. If it went around both horns, you got two points.
These are just some of our favorite things we did at Olivas Adobe.