Like the Ingalls, Sort Of: Fall # 7 – 12/5/18
Our girls love the Little House of the Prairie series – especially Little House in the Big Woods & Little House on the Prairie.
The parallels and contrasts our girls can draw from the books are pretty amazing. The Ingalls family is a farm family with 3 girls living in Wisconsin (at least at the start). And with our farm house being built in 1888, the ability to imagine lives like theirs can become even more alive.
While the language used towards Native Americans in these books is troublesome, and the blatant omission of the fact that families like the Ingalls were stealing Native lands, I do appreciate these books as historical windows into settlers lived experiences.
And if I can get past my troubles with the narratives, I am able able to enjoy these books with my girls, as I too can’t help but compare and contrast their experience as a farm family with ours.
This time of year especially I think about food in storage. On the similar side, just like the Ingalls family, we have taken great care in harvesting and storing our food to last us through the long, cold winter. Our pack shed & coolers, our modern day root cellar, has a damp, earthy smell that is hard not to love. And this place of storage is a central point of our everyday lives during the cold months.
But a big difference would be watching the supplies dwindle. I imagine the Ingalls family must have carefully monitored and rationed out their roots crops through the long winter. I imagine that seeing those stores dwindle would be a somewhat stressful and sometimes frightening experience.
For us, we are excited to see our stores dwindle, because in this time of farming beyond subsistence, we have grown so so much food in order to feed you. We get excited to see crops move out of storage and along to you. In fact, sometimes we are feeling hurried to move certain crops, like winter squash and garlic, knowing they won’t store through till spring. It’s an awful thing seeing storage crops that we worked so very hard to grow and harvest begin to rot because we couldn’t sell them before February. We are moving those stores as soon as possible.
Just like the Ingalls we are on a time clock against natural processes. While our modern times may invert the equation a little, I still feel a connection to settler farming families like the Ingalls when it comes to winter, roots, and storage.