Saturday, February 27, 2010
The Little House Cookbook is so much more than a list of recipes. It is a history book, a kitchen manual, and a very interesting collection of old-time recipes. You won't just flip through it for recipe ideas; you'll want to sit down and read it from cover to cover!
It explains some of the most basic ingredients in the Little House kitchen, such as salt pork, cornmeal, molasses, and other stand-bys. There is a detailed explanation of the bread-making process the way Ma and Laura did it. There is a how-to for homemade butter, both in a churn and in a mason jar. There are even detailed instructions for making cheese as described in Little House in the Big Woods.
You will also find instructions for copying the scrumptious meals featured in Farmer Boy (Little House) , made by Almanzo's mother. Look for Fried Apples 'n Onions, Apple Turnovers, Chicken Pie, and even Roasted Pig!
If you remember The Long Winter (Little House), you can re-create the brown bread the Ingall's ate twice daily when the town ran out of food.
Make the same sourdough starter that Ma used in By the Shores of Silver Lake (Little House) for her biscuits.
Try the Stewed Jack Rabbit and Dumplings that the family shared with Mr. Edwards in Little House on the Prairie (Little House, No 2).
And make Fried Salt Pork with Gravy as the Ingalls family did in nearly every book in the series.
What's more, most of the recipes can be made today with our basic kitchen ingredients!
For the self-sufficient type, this book is a must-have. The Ingalls family, like all Pioneers, were self-sufficient by necessity. The Wilders were, as well.
You can find out how to make baking powder, vinegar, soured milk, and more in your own home! Find out how they used up every last morsel to make their resources stretch.
For any Little House fan, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Order yours today!
Visit my Prairie Sense Book Store for a list of all things Little House!
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Tuesday, February 2, 2010
If this is your first visit to Prairie Sense, view my Welcome and get acquainted!internet. I love my fridge, my phone, and indoor plumbing.
But what have we given up in exchange for the modern lifestyle? I think we've given up our independence. We've said good-bye to self-sufficiency. In so many ways, we can't do things without the help of outside sources.
Specifically, we can't take care of our health anymore without the 'advice of a physician.' So how did civilized people for thousands of years manage to live without the American Medical Association, a pediatrician, a general practitioner, and a pharmacy? How did they survive without medical insurance? What did they do without Tylenol, for goodness' sake?
Let's look at Laura's family. There are numerous instances illustrated in Little House where a medical problem arose. (By the way, they probably didn't even use the term "medical problem.") Knowing what to do was part of life. They knew how to take care of a physical ailment just like they knew how to make bread, build a cooking fire, and grow carrots.
In Little House in the Big Woods, Laura tells the story of a naughty boy who stomped up and down on a yellow-jacket nest. Needless to say, he was stung numerous times. So much so, that his entire body was swollen and his eyes were squeezed shut.
They lived in the 'wilderness' with no close neighbors, and of course, no emergency room. They didn't have Benadryl, or an epi-pen, or any injections. They had old-fashioned, everyday wisdom. They packed the boy with mud and wrapped him up tight with cloth. That's it. And he actually lived through it!
In Little House on the Prairie, Ma was helping Pa build their new log cabin when a very large log fell on Ma's ankle. Pa couldn't call 911. They were out in the middle of the Kansas prairie. Pa had picked the location because there were no neighbors close by. The nearest town was 40 miles away, and their only form of transportation was horses.
But Pa didn't waste a minute. He instantly examined Ma for broken bones. He determined that she had only sprained it. Then he had her soak her foot in the hottest water she could stand, and wrapped it tightly. She stayed off her feet for the day. That's it. And the next few days she hobbled around the campsite, continuing on with her work as usual, cooking outdoors, washing clothes, and caring for three little girls. Oh, and Pa sternly said, "You may not help me build the house anymore until your foot is better." : )
Now, I know the argument could be made that we don't live in the wilderness. We don't need to know how to set a broken bone, or treat excessive bee stings, or anything like that. But, is that really true? Have we become so accustomed to calling the doctor, or rushing to the ER, or asking our doctor's advice before starting an exercise program that we can't think for ourselves anymore? Do we really need a prescription for restless legs? Couldn't we just cut back on sugar or caffeine?
Why shouldn't a mother be able to treat minor (and some major) physical ailments? Why should we fear the label of 'bad mother' for not taking our children to the doctor for routine checkups? Why don't we use some common sense?
Since we do live in modern times, we live pretty comfortably. This message could easily fall on deaf ears. But, take a look at history. Civilizations come, and civilizations go, and before one disappears completely, it falls into chaos and then ruin. Are we so sure that America and her modern ways will last forever? I'm not. It could fall into ruin and become only a memory with just one catastrophe. Or it could come very close before it's rescue.
And where will the people be in the midst of the chaos? Where will we turn if the hospitals are overrun, the doctors can no longer practice, or over-the-counter pain relievers are not easily available? Just take a look at Haiti. All it takes is one disaster to plunge a nation into chaos.
But, armed with a bit of knowledge, independence, and self-determination, that same people could survive, and possibly even thrive, because of a little basic knowledge.
So what's my suggestion? Do your research. Learn what they knew in the old days, before major pharmaceutical companies existed. Google phrases like healing herbs, natural healing, nutritional healing. Educate yourself, and then educate your family. Add this information to the basic stuff you teach your kids, like making beds, mowing the lawn, and making pancakes.
Stay healthy. Eat right. Get fresh air and exercise. Turn off the TV. Grow some vegetables. Drink more water.
Sound simple? It is. Haven't you read Little House yet?
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
In class, we will be attempting the bonnet. We will also be making this apron:
I've also got a boy's class of 7th & 8th graders. That's right: BOYS! They voluntarily signed up for my class, and I don't think they want an apron or a sunbonnet.
So, I've come up with a different set of projects for them. I'm trying to find a pattern for this:I've gotten brave enough to try moccasins with help from this site. And I think we'll also try a simple bean bag for playing toss.
If you don't sew, try this site for pre-made costumes.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
One of the main points that stood out to me was the family's ability to maintain a very normal lifestyle while traveling. They were basically on an extended campout, and rarely passed through any towns or saw any people.
Each morning they woke with the sun (if not sooner) and began the chores. Water had to be carried from the nearest creek for coffee and for washing breakfast dishes. The horses must be taken to water as well. Ma would begin making breakfast while the girls made their beds in the wagon.
Mary and Laura and Baby Carrie washed their faces and combed their hair and dressed nicely each day. After breakfast, Ma and the girls would wash and wipe the dishes and clean up the campsite. They would gather up all the twigs and throw them in the fire.
If it was a wash day, Ma would heat water that Pa had carried from the creek to do her laundry in. She would wash all the clothing and bedding, and then lay it out on the clean grass to dry in the sun. And then . . . gasp! She would iron. Out in the middle of the prairie, with no people and no towns, Ma sill ironed the clothes!
When the family gathered around to eat, Ma and Pa sat on the wagon bench, and Laura and Mary sat on the wagon tongue. They held their tin plates in their laps. Mary and Laura shared their tin cup of water.
There were times when Ma would remind Laura not to talk with her mouth full, or not to sing 'at table.' Laura thought to herself, "there is no table" but the rule held fast!
Mary and Laura must wear their sunbonnet while playing, to avoid becoming 'brown as an Indian.'
So, in the middle of the wide, wide prairie the Ingalls family continued to live as if they were in polite society. I think Ma felt so strongly that the wild country they were traveling in would not make her girls into wild hoodlums, that she insisted on living exactly the way they had back in their little log home in Wisconsin.
Contrast that with today. Every time I go into the grocery store I see at least one person wearing pajama pants and house shoes to shop. Or worse.
It seems that many people don't care. Simple grooming has become too troublesome for some. Table manners in restaurants (or at home) don't exist anymore. Children have little or no standards to meet regarding their behavior.
I'm not preaching the need for makeup and salon-styled hair, or drinking tea with your pinky stuck out just so, or even the popular "children should be seen and not heard" (although some days I have contemplated enacting that one).
But if Ma and her girls could maintain a gracious standard of living from their covered wagon in the middle of nowhere, is it too much for us to accomplish in our modern society?
I don't think so!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Something was shining bright in Laura's stocking. She squealed and jumped out of bed. So did Mary, but Laura beat her to the fireplace. And the shining thing was a glittering new cup.
Mary had one exactly like it.
Those new tin cups were their very own. Now they each had a cup to drink out of. Laura jumped up and down and shouted and laughed, but Mary stood still and looked with shining eyes at her own tin cup.
What's the big deal about new cups? Up until this time, Mary and Laura would share a cup of water between them. Now they could EACH have a cup!
There was more in their stockings: a peppermint stick, a heart-shaped cake made by Ma, and a bright, shining new penny!
They had never even though of such a thing as having a penny. Think of having a whole penny for our very own. Think of having a cup and a cake and a stick of candy and a penny.
There had never been such a Christmas.
Taken from Little House on the Prairie in the chapter entitled Mr. Edwards Meets Santa Claus.
Sounds so simple, doesn't it? I know we live in a different time, and a much different world. But I am determined to simplify Christmas for my kids with every year that goes by. Instead of raising our spending limit, I'm trying to spend little and make it meaningful.
When I was a child, my parents and aunt decided it would be fun to do something similar for myself, my sister, and our cousins. In our stockings that Christmas we received a tin cup, a penny, and a peppermint stick (along with a few modern goodies!). And you know, I still have that tin cup and I will remember that Christmas for the rest of my life.
This Christmas morning, when you and your family are enjoying new gifts, I hope you will pause for a minute and remember a Christmas long ago and two little girls who were happy with new tin cups.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
"Frontier Village of Grayson County is a non-profit organization founded in 1966 to establish a frontier village at Loy Lake Park. In this replica of an early village, structures and artifacts historically significant to Grayson County preserve the rich background of the pioneers who settled here in the nineteenth century." - from their website
There was one cabin in particular that looked like it was lifted from the pages of Little House on the Prairie. It was set up almost identical to the description in Laura's writings of the home Pa and Ma built together in Indian Territory. The only exception was that this cabin had a loft where the children slept. The Ingalls cabin in Indian Territory was a one-story structure.
I took some photos at Frontier Village to share:
Here is the table and chairs where the family ate situated in front of the fireplace, used for both heating and cooking.
The dresses were hung on nails in the wall, next to the bed, which was just across from the table.
The bed's platform was nothing more than criss-crossed ropes. My daughter, Chloe (isn't she adorable?) shows what's under the thin mattress.
This spinning wheel was in a different cabin, but I show it because of the description in Farmer Boy. Almanzo's parents were almost completely self-sufficient. They raised sheep for wool, and Mother would spin the wool into yarn or thread, and then use a loom (also partly pictured below) to make cloth.
Frontier Village is a great place to visit. They are open 7 days a week, year round, from 1-4 p.m. We had a private tour for our group. They are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable people! We had a great time, and will definitely go back.
If you're in North Texas, or anywhere close, I highly recommend visiting them.