Pioneer Sod House (winter view) by Larry Trupp

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Pioneer Sod House (winter view) by 

Location: At FortWhyteAlive our Nature Center on the southwest edge of Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Make: Canon Model: Canon EOS DIGITAL REBEL XTi F stop: F/8.0 Exposure: 1/125 sec. Focal length: 42.0 mm Flash: flash did not fire, compulsory flash mode (16) Dimensions: 2400×1600 Shutter speed (Tv): 7

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Shelters #…21 December 2011

The World As We See It, or As You See It…12 December 2011

Pioneer Sod House…Cut from the same earth that provided our food…“It didn’t leak the first day…but it did for three days after”. This would have been a common sodbuster expression. The sod house or semlin (German) was no extravagant home.

It was built quickly (in less than one month) for warmth and for protection from the elemnts during those first prairie winters. The deep root masses of prairie grasses provided the perfect thatch to make sod. Settlers cut sod bricks 36cm (14 inches) wide. 8cm (14 inches) thick with help from an oxen team pulling a breaking or walking plow. The excavated earth created the hollow around which sod bricks would be stacked – the first sunken living room.

Before sod was placed on the roof, tamarack beams and rails would be chinked together with filler such as mud, moss, prairie grasses or bison hair. Although holes were plugged, little visitors like mice, snakes, and bugs were often a common sight.

Sod houses such as this, made for intimate living arrangements. Commonly 6 – 8 family members would have lived in a 12 X 20 foot structure, including two oxen during extreme winter weather!

A self taught amateur photographer who resides in beautiful Winnipeg, Manitoba, which is a prairie city in the center of Canada. My dear wife Marg and I have been married for 52 years, and we have 2 married daughters and 3 grandchildren to share our busy lives.I love to read, practice photography, spend time with my family, play around on the computer, and volunteer a lot of my time at our local Nature Center, where I serve as an interpreter for kids programs.

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  • Teresa Zieba
    Teresa Ziebaover 5 years ago

    Looks so different in winter but it’s such a nice spot Fort Whyte. Great capture Larry.

  • Thanks Teresa, I really appreciate your comments here.

    – Larry Trupp

  • Al Bourassa
    Al Bourassaover 5 years ago

    I love your history on the making of these homes Larry.

  • Thanks Al, much appreciated

    – Larry Trupp

  • Digitalbcon
    Digitalbconover 5 years ago

    This is not only the best shot of a Prairie Sod House that I have seen but also the best historic account of what kind of experience this must have been!! It makes me wonder how those pioneers made it through those years!! And we complain when we get a leak in the house!!

  • Thanks Blair, I appreciate the fav and your comments here, actually when I was only 7 years old back in the early 40’s, when we moved to the prairies I lived with my parents and my 4 older brothers in (not a sod house) but a 12 × 20 granary all winter long, no running water, no electricity of course, and only a cook stove, and we all survived that winter. In the spring my dad and my older brothers built a log cabin. This was near Inglis Manitoba…So I actually experienced it Blair.

    – Larry Trupp

  • kathy s gillentine
    kathy s gillen...over 5 years ago

    beautiful capture

  • Thanks Kathy much appreciated

    – Larry Trupp

  • Brian Carey
    Brian Careyover 5 years ago

    Nice shot Larry. This looks like a great place to sit back, relax and appreciate the simplicity of life.

  • Thanks Brian, I appreciate you popping by and leaving your comments.

    – Larry Trupp

  • Cheryl Dunning
    Cheryl Dunningover 5 years ago

    i’ve seen this house. ive only been at fort whyte once…i’ll go back again i hope..great capture

  • Thanks Cheryl, much appreciated.

    – Larry Trupp

  • Bonnie T.  Barry
    Bonnie T. Barryover 5 years ago

    Thanks, Larry, for a wonderful history lesson; well done all around!

  • Thanks for popping by Bonnie, I appreciate your comments

    – Larry Trupp

  • Elaine  Manley
    Elaine Manleyover 5 years ago
    very nice .. I hope that snow is gone now lol
  • Thanks for your comments Lucinda, yes our snow is finally all gone, thank the Lord

    – Larry Trupp

  • Leslie van de Ligt
    Leslie van de ...over 5 years ago

    This is wonderful Larry. Your narrative is superb. I have now learned quite a bit. Thank you my dear friend. :>)) Leslie

  • Thanks my dear Leslie, your comments are always much appreciated

    – Larry Trupp

  • presbi
    presbiover 5 years ago

    Great shot and very interesting story, Larry!

  • Much appreciated Sergio, thank you

    – Larry Trupp

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