Jack is the family dog who perhaps wishes he could travel with a family
that believed in letting the canine companion RIDE in the wagon rather than WALK with it!
I'm fairly certain I qualify as the world's worst Read-Along cohost!
Here it is the last day of the month and
I am just now posting my review!
I read the book one week ago but had neither the time nor the energy to blog! :(
But, I did JUST make the April deadline! :)
Bex of An Armchair by the Sea is my cohost for this
Little House Read-Along 2016! (#littlehouseRAL)
Click here to access my Little House Read-Along page which now lists all the review links for each book in one place!
My favorite book of this series thus far has been Farmer Boy, which we read and reviewed just last month (March).
I guess that proves I am still a 'tom-boy' at heart!
The first house they inhabit in Minnesota happens
to be a "dugout" which is exactly as it sounds--
literally dug out of a creek bank!
Now that is smart! Talk about 'thermo-efficient'!
It reminded me of our 'dream house'--an Earthship!
Though not all Earthships are underground, the most sustainable style is pretty much a 'dugout' with all glass
across the front which can be solar collectors.
Ah...maybe in our next lifetime my husband and I will find each other again, when we are much younger and physically able to make the earth-packed tires, etc., ourselves!
That would be fun! And the design possibilities are endless and so creative and unique!
Uh-hum...now...back to the Ingalls' 'dugout'...
The book cover on the right shows the dugout,
as does Garth Williams'
illustration to the left.
The big danger here was from the water rising too much and flooding the interior of the house, and/or large animals stepping through the
Which did happen!
Can you imagine?
You wouldn't want to keep them here, breaking their hearts on a plow." (7)
Pa's slow voice answered, "We're safe enough, all right. Nothing can happen here."
The peaceful colors went all around the rim of the sky. The willows breathed and the water talked to itself in the dusk. The land was dark gray. The sky was light gray and stars prickled through it. (17)
I might not have believed it possible that grasshoppers could totally decimate all the vegetation if I hadn't seen it happen with my own eyes! Though not with grasshoppers, but with Japanese bean beetles! When my children were young, my ex-husband and I raised a HUGE garden every year! We were living in an area where these little critters could become hoards and multitudes with the correct weather conditions. We were using Sevin the first couple of years to keep insects from eating the garden. (Yes, we were initially that uninformed and ignorant regarding the use of such chemical applications.) Once they got started, there was no stopping them. One morning we awoke to a faint 'buzzing' noise and when we went outside, we realized that four trees a former owner had planted were literally COVERED in these insects, and roughly 1/4-1/3 of the foliage was already gone! It was absolutely unbelievable! These trees were so tall it was difficult to even get any of this poisonous chemical spray into the upper portions. That was when I researched Japanese bean beetles (long before internet access) and discovered a relatively new invention of pheromone traps. This proved the only true method of controlling these voracious "beasts"! Though collecting and burning those traps (All four of them were totally full at least once a day for the first 10 days!) was an unpleasant task, to say the least! We had at least learned our lesson. While these topical chemicals sound so efficient and effective, in reality, they only keep the insects moving on to other plants, in a never-ending cycle that can culminate in mass destruction! Pheromone traps had a constant presence in our yard/garden area each growing season thereafter! Problem solved. :) I could relate to the Ingalls as they battled these insects, though I could only imagine walking on a carpet of grasshoppers in every inch of land! Yuck! But I don't believe anything existed which could have been used to prevent this particular disaster. :(
And it wasn't just grasshoppers! There were plenty of other dangers present in this environment! Laura fell off the board across the stream when the water was running high and the current was strong, and was barely able to save herself by clinging to the board and eventually pulling herself out of the water! I admit my heart was pounding as I read this scene! Even though I KNOW Laura survived! That thought never crossed my mind, I was so immersed in her immediate danger! Badgers were perhaps the least of it! And they had to fight a prairie fire to save their homestead. If not for the help of their neighbor, Mr. Nelson, their homestead might have 'gone up in smoke'!
The water seemed to offer endless challenges to Laura, who came out after wading and swimming one day to discover "bloodsuckers"/leeches attached to her. Though this petrified her, it played to her advantage when she determinedly got back at Nellie. Yes, we meet Nellie Oleson in this book! Nellie must have been a rather miserable old soul in a child's body. Naturally, the Oleson house was unbelievably beautiful to Laura. Although she now had a 'real' house built of sawed lumber with 'real' glass windows, the Oleson's house was decorated and furnished much more lavishly than any Laura had ever seen! And Nellie had such beautiful dolls, so much fancier than Laura's own rag doll or the paper dolls with which they played. (I had kinda forgotten about paper dolls! I had some, too!) Though Nellie was anxious to "show off" her "china" and "wax" dolls to all the other little girls, she was furious when Laura reached out and touched her favorite doll's blue silk dress! She snatched it away.
It wasn't until Ma reciprocated by having all the little girls out to the Ingall's house for a fancy party that Laura was able to exact revenge upon Nellie. And did she ever! Let's just say that once some of the girls, including Nellie had decided to hold up their dresses and wade out into the creek, Nellie got a surprise after coming out and seeing "bloodsuckers" on her legs! Of course, Laura had been 'guiding' the girls into certain areas of the water... ;) It wasn't until Mary threatened to tell Ma what she had done that Laura finally began pulling them off Nellie! Before that she was too busy rolling around on the ground laughing at and making fun of her "dancing around"!
I wondered if Ma was aware of the irony of her serving "vanity" cakes which were
Being only a couple of miles from town, Ma and Pa take the girls to church regularly and a preacher from the East travels out to preach one Sunday per month. He decorated a Christmas tree in the church with donated items from families back East and distributed those items to the church attendees. Through this the children each received several presents including candy, mittens, and a rag doll with a china head for Carrie. Then the best gift of all was a fur cape and muff for Laura. As soon as she saw it on the tree she wanted it, especially since Nellie had a fur cape. Laura magnanimously wished Nellie a "Merry Christmas" as they exited the church.