Archive for May, 2010

What Would Laura Ingalls Wilder Have to Say?

I have been an avid reader all my life enjoying all genres of writing. Yet one author has always stood out from the rest for me. Her name was Laura Ingalls Wilder. Many may know her from her popular children’s book series called “Little House on the Prairie.”  Laura  was born near Pepin, Wisconsin on February 7, 1867.  Written in the 1930’s, the Little House on the Prairie series were based on Laura’s recollections of her childhood years travelling across the wilderness with her family. The books were an attempt to capture her memoirs after the death of her mother in 1924 and her sister, Mary in 1928. Yet even before she had ever set the pen to the paper Laura was already an accomplished writer in her own right. 

Laura began her freelance writing career as a columnist in the year 1911 for the Missouri Ruralist. Later she would find herself not only a columnist but also an editor. She kept her flourishing writing career until 1920. During this time she lived with her husband, Almanzo Wilder, at their family farm.  The Rocky Ridge Farm was located in the Ozark Mountains. Laura’s life was filled with hardships and joys, which she released on paper. The local population enjoyed reading her articles which exposed a variety of topics including farming, recipes, world events, local issues, her home, family life and the travels of her daughter, Rose. As I think back to the writings of Laura Ingalls Wilder I ponder in the modern age what would she write about?

Today’s wife and mother is daily bombarded with a fast paced schedule. Unlike her counterparts during Laura’s time she often has to juggle work, housework, kid’s schedules, husband’s needs, community activities and the household pet(s). Gone are the days when the wife depended on her farm to provide her with the nutritional substances she and her family reguire. Gathering food is as simple as walking out the door and heading to her local Krogers. She has lost the skills of sewing as well. In Laura’s days, the woman made the clothes. Today that has been replaced with a quick stop to Cato’s, Walmart, Target or any other store. I wander what Laura Ingalls Wilder would have thought about the internet? In her time, it was customary to write and receive letters. Sometimes, it would takes months to receive a letter from your loved one. Now handwriting a letter is a thing of the past, replaced by the internet and cellphone.

As I sit and write this blog I ponder upon the skills women have lost and the skills we have gained. Our pioneering familes depended upon the farm. It not only provided substance it provided the moral and values we as a nation were founded upon.  If we look upon the strong women of our past and listen hard enough we might learn a lesson or two from them. I cringe thinking of our future genertaions. What are the lesson we are learning today that might benefit our children on the future? Or are we doomed to forget how to make clothes, cook without processed food, or even know where our food comes from. Shockingly there are children in our nation who do not know where our food comes from. This I know would shock Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Laura has always been an inspiration to me. She knew the value of family, good morals and hard work.  She wasn’t afraid to tackle the big issues in her writing, most apparently seen in her articles pertaining to World War I. I too want to write with my own voice while dealing with the hardships of life on a family farm. My goal is to not depend on the supermarket for grocery shopping.  I already gather my own eggs and eat them. You can taste the differance from a fresh egg to a supermarket egg. I want to grow my own vegetables. Raise my rabbits and become as self-sufficent as possible. I want to become the modern Laura Ingalls Wilder. 

This blog is an attempt to do such. Each day I will express myself daily. Through the written word the reader will join me on a path of discovering lessons we have long forgotten.  The topics will range anywhere from family, farm life, country life, home, modern issues and much more. Are you ready to follow the modern day farmer’s wife? Feel free to leave any comments. I enjoy reading each and everyone.


Life According to Our Dog, Lakota Sioux

The Australian Cattle Dog is highly intelligent, hard working, energetic and loyal animal. They have a wonderful temperament. As a working dog they also require a job to do or they will become bored. Lakota Sioux’s job in our home is to protect the house, animals, and me. She does a very good job. When one of our  rabbits are giving birth she immediately informs me. She has also been known to gently carry a baby rabbit from the table, it if escapes from its cage, and lay it on the floor then she barks at me. Lakota is a great guard dog as well. She is constantly looking out the window. If someone she does not know is on our property she will bark. This is one of the hallmarks of the breed. While they are affectionate and loving towards people they know they become reserve when around strangers.  If they feel threatened by animal or human a life they will act aggressive. I have never seen Lakota do this but I know if she feels this way she will react.  A typical lifespan of the breed averages around 11.6 years. Health concerns include: hip dysplasia, progressive retinal atrophy, and deafness.

Three years ago my husband and I were blessed to adopt our Australian Cattle Dog, Lakota Sioux, in West Texas.  We had always been drawn to purebred dogs and the Australian Cattle Dog seemed to be the perfect fit. In 1840, Thomas Hall of Australia crossed the typical breeding dog of his time, the Dover Dog with wild Dingoes he had tamed. The result was the Australian Cattle Dog. These dogs come in two different colors, red or blue. Today they are often referred to as Blue or Red Heelers due to the persistent tendencies to herd by nipping at the heels of whatever they are herding. The new breed began to grow in popularity and was recognized in the 1880’s. Later in the early 20th century, these dogs crossed the ocean and soon found themselves working on ranches in the American Southwest.

Eighteen months ago Delfin and I moved from West Texas to Kentucky. At the time Lakota was our only pet. We drastically changed her life ten months later when we began to buy our farm and introduced her to new animals. Her life since moving to the farm now not only includes protecting house and wife but the animals as well. She does not disappoint. I can only imagine what her thoughts might be on this wonderful farm of ours.

In the words of Lakota Sioux:

“I don’t care if they give my mom and dad eggs or not to me the chickens are food. Yum!

Rabbits are toys. They’re so cute and cuddly. I want to lick them all day long.

Grass is to run free in. Let me run. What we only have an acre? You mean that three acre field next door and the five acre beyond that aren’t ours? Well they should be! I’ll go mark the territory for us.”

Ah, if our life was only as simple as Lakota Sioux’s.