investigate and learn about that person through the Internet.
That is just sooooo cool!
Join us for the LIttle House Read-Along 2016!
Here is my #LittleHouseRAL page!
And here is the page on Bex's blog, An Armchair by the Sea!
We begin each month with a registration posting for that month's book.
Then I link each review submitted on my page!
It is "one-stop shopping" where you can read all the reviews!
Feel free to just comment or read the postings, or post your own review, on a blog,
or Goodreads, or any other social media!
at De Smet, suddenly anticipating a very long, snowy,
cold winter. (Did I mention L-O-N-G?!?)
I adored Pa's explanation of God having granted
'free will' only to "us," and not to
"everything else in creation."
He uses the ready and available example
of the muskrats' house he and Laura encounter.
As he explains, muskrats can only build
one type of house, though they can choose to
make the walls thicker or thinner, as necessary. Whereas "man"/"humans" can choose what type of house to build among the many possibilities available.
|Carrie, Laura, and Mary|
I am rather surprised at Laura's reticence to be around people. I guess I'd never thought about that aspect of her personality prior to reading these books. But she really didn't like to be around people when she was young. (Does this change as she ages, I wonder?) So when a tooth breaks off the cutting bar while Pa is mowing hay, she is glad for Carrie's company when Pa sends her to town to purchase a new one. However, on their way home, she allows Carrie to select a previously unexplored 'short-cut' and they become lost...though who should they discover on their trek? Almanzo and his brother, of course! He very politely guides them in the correct direction once he sees where Mr. Ingalls is working from the top of their own wagonload of hay. Of course, Laura immediately recognizes them by their beautiful horses!
Not long after this, Pa spends the whole day hunting, expecting to kill some fowl for supper, but comes home empty-handed...
But this first blizzard brought with it a seemingly unbelievable scene! Pa notices some stray cattle wandering close to their homestead and is fearful they'll eat all the hay he has stockpiled to keep his own stock well-fed throughout the winter. They don't seem to be moving along, so he and Laura decide to go "drive them off."
came the hardest winter of all. He had come to tell the white men that this coming winter
was a twenty-first winter, that there would be seven months of blizzards. (62)
|Laura helping hang curtains in the house|
in town. Their home for the winter.
she understood what animals thought,
but you could never be sure about people. (70)
And heat. They had used all their coal for the stove and were forced to "twist hay" to use as fuel. Thank goodness for Pa's resourcefulness in thinking of this! Needless to say, this burned way too fast to last very long or put out much heat. Hence, everyone was forced to sit around the stove, except for those out in the lean-to twisting hay, which were usually Pa and Laura. Of course, this means that Pa must continue hauling hay into town from the homestead that is two miles away! And that world is nothing but snowdrifts, so whenever he goes over the slough with the grass beneath the snow, the horses fall down into the snow. Then the wagon/sled must be unhitched from the horses, the snow trampled down until the horses are able to walk out of the 'hole' and then the wagon/sled hitched up again, and continue on...until the next time the horses fall through. Of course, once another blizzard hits, any tracks made are lost and the whole process repeats itself! Needless to say, that makes these hay-hauling trips extremely arduous, and frustrating, and many times longer than usual!
Even Ma's chores have changed somewhat, as she will wash clothes and hang them out to "freeze dry." No such thing as a clothes dryer back then! :) And no electricity. Once there is no more coal to be purchased in town and they use hay for heating, Charles changes his tune about "progress"...
Pa must finally dig a tunnel through the drifted snow just to get from the house to the stable. Although digging out was time-consuming and exhausting, at least he wasn't exposed to the wind and cold when doing chores, feeding and watering the animals. The girls become stir crazy and everyone becomes hungry and depressed. Pa can't play the fiddle due to twisting the hay for fuel which cuts his hands and makes them swell, so they can't even enjoy that type of music, though they do sing and march sometimes to help keep their bodies warm.
The potatoes are all gone. The last of the wheat has been used for brown bread. There is no more food and no hope of supply trains. The town stores have been sold out of all food supplies for months. Pa has been visiting with the Wilder boys off and on throughout all the blizzards and he finally goes down and helps himself, without asking permission to their seed wheat stash, simply to get enough wheat to continue feeding his family brown bread. Again, Pa was quite the smart observer. He realized they had built a false wall to encase and hide the seed wheat, but he didn't demand to have any until they were totally out of any food to eat.
Circumstances were dire. As Almanzo and Royal calculate the remaining weeks (at least two more months) during which people must eat enough to live, they determine that even their own seed wheat supply will be insufficient to keep everyone alive throughout the remainder of the winter. It is then that Almanzo and Cap Garland decide to travel the 20 miles to the farmer's homestead where there supposedly is a settler who raised wheat last year. If they can make it to his place, purchase wheat from him, and haul it back before another blizzard hits, they figure there will be enough wheat to feed the town until spring. But it is a huge risk! It wouldn't be unexpected for a blizzard to hit before they could return to town, with or without wheat! If they can even find this settler and if he has this wheat and if he'll sell it! I believe this part of this book was the most suspenseful of any of the books in this series thus far. My heart was beating fast and I was just hoping they would make it back to town, even if they couldn't find this place or person or the wheat! It was decided Royal would remain in town, just in case something happened to Almanzo... Although they barely made it, they finally did make it. And...although the settler was not willing to sell them any wheat initially, he finally did. Everyone had enough wheat to stave off starving to death, though they were all mighty thin and virtually listless by the time supplies arrived and saved them!