The Long Winter


The Long Winter

I love to read the Laura Ingalls Wilder book, "The Long Winter". I just finished the copy that used to be my mother’s, as another Midwest winter storm is burying our cars in snow again.

When I read that book, I want to be a better person. Some lessons I am reminded of:

  • Don’t complain. Be grateful for what you have, even if it is just bread and potatoes. Ma was always sharing the bright side.
  • Innovate. If you run out of coal and kerosene, twist hay into sticks. If you only have green pumpkins from an early frost, create a pie that ends up tasting like apple. If you don’t have anything to ground your wheat, try a coffee mill. There are plenty of ways to solve problems without running out to buy our solutions.
  • Let the kids help with the chores. Mary, Laura and Carrie felt good when they were able to help in the household. Laura helped Pa prepare the hay, so they actually had enough to last the winter. Every day they had chores.
  • Music and reading are great entertainment. So is reciting memorized poetry.
  • Children need to be taught self-reliance and manners. Children aren’t coddled, but taught what they will need to know when they leave the home.
  • Education is a gift. They understood how important learning was and prioritized it.
  • Hardiness, strength and perseverance. They had the character to do the hard things even when they didn’t want to.
  • The importance of nature. When it was nice out they were outside. Pa knew the hard winter was coming because of how thick the muskrat houses were. They were much more connected with nature.

Which listen will help this week?


  • happygirl says:

    I LOVE Laura Ingalls Wilder books. You made me nostalgic for 5th grade. Mrs. Sargo (meanest teacher in the world) introduced me to them. Making do. Using what we have. Getting the empty places in our souls filled with love from our relationships and not with things we really don’t need.

  • Julia says:

    I enjoyed Laura Ingalls Wilder books too when I was growing up. Thanks for gleaning all the good tips.

  • Nancy says:

    I remember reading that book in summer and being SO COLD! Thanks for sharing the wisdom you gleaned from it, Beth. Good things to remember and aim for.

  • Laurel says:

    This is a great reminder to us all. Thanks for sharing about the basics of life and how we need to scale down how much we own, how much we do and how much pressure we put on ourselves to achieve all the time. Simplicity really is best, especially these days with so many more stressors.

    Regarding the Laura Ingalls book, you’ve made me want to read it again! Think I’ll go grab my copy out of my library to remind me. I just finished The Wind in the Willows (another great book to inspire!)

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