Sunday, November 14, 2010

Little House in the Big Woods

This evening, while listening to This I Believe on NPR, a woman mentioned Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Something stirred in me, and so I ran upstairs to see if I could find my book.  I know I have at least one, but I'm sure of one - the one I found was Little House in the Big Woods.  Oh how I love that book.

I read it in about an hour and a half  I lingered on passages that had fascinated me as a kid.  When I was little, I wanted desperately to make a smokehouse out of a dead tree with "fresh, sweet-smelling [hickory] chips" (Wilder, 7) smoldering in the bottom.

I love the description of the pantry:
"Now the potatoes and carrots, the beets and turnips and cabbages were gathered and stored in the cellar, for freezing nights had come. 

Onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads.  The pumpkins and the squashes were piled in orange and yellow and green heaps in the attic's corners. 
The barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves"  (Wilder, 12).
My favorite illustration is of Charles Wilder, playing Mad Dog with the girls.  The girls are huddled in a corner, and their Pa is playfully growling and chasing them around, hair afluff. 

It almost seems a cookbook, with instructions for preserving meat, harvesting honey and syrup, making and coloring butter and cheese, and butchering pigs.  Though I'm not sure I'll actually be able to do all these things (especially the last one), it inspires me to keep on keeping on with my mini-homesteading endeavors.  There are a few books of my childhood that I read again, but the Wilder books are a few that I cannot wait to read to my own children.

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