Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Thankful for a house made of dirt

When the Ingalls family moved from Wisconsin, Pa purchased some land in Minnesota from a man named Mr. Hanson. On that land was a dugout. A house dug into the side of a hill. Pa actually bought the place without telling Ma what kind of house she would be moving into!

That front wall was built of sod. Mr. Hanson had dug out his house, and then he had cut long strips of prairie sod and laid them on top of one another, to make the front wall. It was a good, thick wall with not one crack in it. No cold could get through that wall.

Ma was pleased. She said, "It's small, but it's clean and pleasant."
Taken from On the Banks of Plum Creek in the chapter entitled The House in the Ground

Ma was pleased! And do you know what she did right off? She swept the dirt walls and floors! And that was part of their new daily routine every day after that. Sweeping the dirt walls and floors. How could she be pleased, and then cheerfully sweep the dirt?

Cheerful acceptance was a way of life for the Ingalls family. In fact, pioneers couldn't be pioneers without it. In this same chapter, Laura is sad that Pa had to give their horses in trade for this property.

Pa took her hand and comforted it in his big one. He said, "We must do the best we can, Laura, and not grumble. What must be done is best done cheerfully. And some day we will have horses again."

This same attitude would get the family through a very tough year. They would go on to another home on the prairie and start over, as they had done several times already. They didn't suffer from depression, or self-pity. They cheerfully accepted what was handed them, and made the best of each opportunity.

"It's bedtime," Ma said. "And here is something new, anyway. We've never slept in a dugout before." She was laughing, and Pa laughed softly with her.


  1. What a beautiful blog. :-)

    Beautiful thoughts from my favorite series ever.

    I'm so glad I happened onto your blog, and I hope you won't mind if I continue reading.

  2. I'm glad you visited, and please DO continue reading! I enjoyed your blog, too, but couldn't find a way to contact you. Great thoughts!