Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Things I've learned from Laura


Farmer boy
Farmer Boy was finished just before Christmas Break.
What a great book.
While not quite the same as the Ingalls tales, enjoyable nontheless.

What I've learned from Laura, er Almanzo?
*Ch. 1 School Days - "Butternut hulls had dyed the thread for his coat and his long trousers. Then mother had woven it, and she had soaked and shrunk the cloth into heavy, thick fullcloth. Not wind nor cold not even a drenching rain could go through the good fullcloth that mother made." 
So is this like felted wool? 

*Ch. 2 Winter Evening - "They did not have to make beds for the hogs, because hogs make their own beds and keep them clean."
Huh. Really? Why do we associate them as dirty then?
So much for the 'your room is a pig sty' complaint...

*Ch. 3 - Winter Night - "You can fill a glass to the brim with milk, and another glass of the same size brim full of popcorn, and then you can put all the popcorn kernel by kernel into the milk, and the milk will not run over. You can not do this with bread. Popcorn and milk are the only two things that will go into the same place."
I can so totally see a little boy Almanzos age trying this! lol.
I thought this was neat. 
Someday, maybe I'll get adventurous and try it with the kids. 
Maybe a good science experiment?

*Ch. 5 Birthday - "The cold stood steadily at forty below zero, but the sun was shining, and all afternoon Almanzo played with his sled."
Were their thermometers the same as ours?! 
We wouldn't go outside and play - especially all afternoon! - in that kind of cold! 
Are we just total whimps now? 

"Cattle did not have to be led to water. They came eagerly to the trough and drank while Almanzo pumped, then they hurried back to the warm barns, and each went to its own place. Each cow turned into her own stall and put her head between her own stanchions. They never made a mistake."
Is that normal?
Are cows really that cooperative? Easy? Smart?

*Ch. 15 Cold Snap - "He watched the moon anxiously, for in the dark of the moon in May he could stay out of school and plant pumpkins."
Is this planting by the moon?
And he seriously did that at night?

"All the corn was frozen. The little leaves were stiff, and broke if you touched them. Only cold water would save the life of the corn. Every hill must be watered before the sunshine touched it, or the little plants would die."

*Ch. 16 Independence Day - "This country goes three thousand miles west, now. It goes 'way out beyond Kansas, and beyond the Great American Desert, over mountains bigger than these mountains, and down to the Pacific Ocean. It's the biggest country in the world, and it was farmers who took all that country and made it America, son. Don't you ever forget that."
Wow. I think our government and all society should read that.
How are our farmers being treated today?
The farmers have made our country, and we NEED to remember that, and get back to those roots.

*Ch. 17 Summer-Time - "Father had shown him how to raise a milk-fed pumpkin. They had picked out the best vine in the field, and snipped off all the branches but one, and all the yellow pumpkin blossoms but one. Then between the root and the wee green pumpkin they carefully made a little slit on the underside of the vine. Under the slit Almanzo made a hollow in the ground and set a bowl of milk in it. Then he put a candle wick in the milk, and the end of the candle wick he put carefully into the slit...."
Bug wants to try this.
Has anyone grown a milk-fed pumpkin?
I wonder if it really works?

*Ch. 22 Fall of the Year - "Father was pleased. The soft snow was six inches deep, but the ground was not yet frozen. "Poor man's fertilizer," Father called such a snow, and he set Royal into plowing it into all the fields. It carried something from the air into the ground, that would make the crops grow."

There was alot in this book to think about.
Food, traditions, farming.
Here's a final quote to ponder:
*Ch. 29 Farmer Boy - "A farmer depends upon himself, and the land and the weather. If you're a farmer, you raise what you eat, you raise what you wear, and you keep warm with wood out of your own timber. You work hard, but you work as you please, and no man can tell you to go or come. You'll be free and independent, son, on a farm.




  1. I read the whole set when I was a kid & loved them. I keep thinking I should get the set again & read out loud to my son, but I cant remember, are they kinda girly? Would they be interesting/entertaining for a boy?

    I totally remember reading about the milk fed pumpkin. I had wanted to try it so badly.

  2. I hear alot of people ask that question. The first time we read them my son was involved. He enjoyed them and read many again on his own. (this time he is in public school so doesn't get to listen) We also have the tv show on dvd and he frequently watches them with us. I would try it, I personally think Lauras antics are entertaining for everyone and Farmer Boy is all about Almanzos life so that is very boy. :)