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The Little House Series Revisited

February 9, 2008

I read the entire Little House series when I was a child. When Maddy was younger, we read the first several books in the series. I’m pretty sure that was back when I had a paying 8-5 job and Maddy was in preschool, pre-Isabel, before our lives took what ended up being a dramatic turn.

We are now reading the series again for Isabel’s benefit and as I read them with all my acquired urban homesteading knowledge and interest, they become almost a whole new series. Details that meant nothing before are suddenly acutely interesting. Laura describes how Ma makes lye water from ashes, details on how Ma made cheese and how the molds and press were constructed, their fall food preparations. Nerdy, urban homesteading little details that make me shudder with delight.

We are almost halfway through Little House on the Prairie and I have become as absorbed in the books, maybe even more, than Isabel. Maddy is enjoying hearing them again, but sometimes prefers to read another book while I read this to Isabel and Juliana.

I knew that the book The Little House Cookbook existed, Maddy had checked it out at the library before and perused it, but we had to return it before making any recipes or even before I cracked it open. Maddy checked it out again recently thinking that we might enjoy making something out of it. As I sat down to read it, I was amused by some of Barbara M. Walker’s descriptions of foods and methods.

“Not only were those chickens different from ours: their diet of grass and insects and their long exposure to sunlight gave them a flavor we cannot know from mass-production birds.” An excerpt from Chapter 7-Foods from the Barnyard

While this is certainly true, it kind of cracks me up, because we are in the middle of a real food revival and free-range chickens are available in a way that they weren’t when Ms. Walker first wrote it in the late 1970’s. We no longer eat mass-produced birds or eggs here in our family, with rare exception when I purchase Petaluma Poultry.

There are some great instructions and recipes in this book: a recipe for Apple-Core Vinegar, instructions on a sourdough starter without adding yeast, Green Pumpkin Pie, Hulled Corn, Blackbird Pie (which is actually calls for starlings if you are having an over-population issue with those little birds).

Oh, goodness, I could just go on and on about all the tidbits contained in all the above books. Thankfully for your benefit, I won’t. Just as I refrained from posting another political post today, though there is so much out there right now that should be addressed. I don’t want the focus of this blog to be politics, though I am incredibly passionate (in my own stoic way) about politics. If I succumb to focusing on politics, I get too riled up about things that I have only a tiny, miniscule amount of control over, though I don’t believe that having such a small say excuses anyone from participating in their civic duty of, at the very least, voting.

Whoa, I think to calm myself down, I will hunker down with my borrowed copy of The Little House Cookbook again and decide what I should make first. I’m thinking of maybe Salt Rising Bread.

Oh, on a note completely unrelated to politics or Laura Ingalls Wilder, my Tivo erased Little Miss Sunshine, though I had it protected. I might actually have to buy a DVD, because I love that movie. Seriously love it.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Angelina permalink
    February 9, 2008 5:12 pm

    I loved this series too. I started watching the TV series again but had to take a break.

    I think it’s alright if you want to post more political stuff because this is your blog and you are (as you say) very passionate about what’s going on. I’m learning things through your posts and though we don’t share all the same views, I appreciate hearing yours.

  2. Becca permalink
    February 9, 2008 6:08 pm

    I just started re-reading the series too! I’m still on Little House in the Big Woods, and am thrilled my all the ideas that I am getting!

  3. april. permalink
    February 9, 2008 8:12 pm

    I’m pathetically apolitical (not exactly, but I do veer toward the conspiracy theory side of things and think that a lot of things are so far planned out that nothing any of us can do will really matter. how’s that for a big fat downer?!) and tend to avoid the subject most of the time, but I don’t mind reading other takes on it at all. I find it quite interesting, actually. I just don’t usually go there myself.

    You can probably guess that in our house we love the Little House books, too. We’ve read the series through a few times and Freya re-reads them frequently.

  4. Lisa permalink
    February 10, 2008 12:15 am

    Angelina-I will still post about politics, but I just don’t want it to become a main focus of the blog or my life. I’ve gone through periods where I was very politically focused and it takes a lot out of me.

    Becca-Thanks for stopping by. You have a great blog and I’ve added it to my reading list!

    April-I actually lean towards the conspiracy theory direction, too and it is a downer (hence my wish not to become politically focused at this time), but despite it’s seeming futility I still promote and try to practice political activism.

    I figured that you all were probably Little House fans.

  5. Angelina permalink
    February 10, 2008 7:10 pm

    I can understand you wanting to keep politics from taking over your blog.

    Just for the record, in case it wasn’t already obvious, I don’t particularly believe in conspiracy theories.

    I wonder if Max would enjoy the Little House series?

  6. Lisa permalink
    February 11, 2008 4:11 am

    I don’t know if he would or not. I’m thinking not. It does focus a lot on the woman’s side of things, because naturally the girls were with Ma most of the time. It does have quite a bit of detail on how stuff was built, so I don’t know.

  7. Evelyn permalink
    February 11, 2008 3:18 pm

    I loved reading the series because it was always so interesting to me how things were made and the foods they made sounded so good. Even though I was raised in the sixties, I could relate to some of it. We lived out away from town and grew a lot of our own food. We had our own milk cow and Mom made cottage cheese and butter. My brothers raised rabbits for food and my dad even hunted. He didn’t hunt for the sport of it, he did it to put food on the table. I always wanted to go back to this simpler way of life.

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