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Posts Tagged ‘Laura Ingalls Wilder’

Here’s a memory that would have been perfect for Halloween or Thanksgiving, but just came to me when I ran across the video below.

The first thing I planted in a garden (aside from myself) was okra. I’d never eaten it but knew that it was a staple in the South by way of some African food traditions. Once grown, I didn’t know how to cook it. The resulting dish was… ok. (If you’re wondering, I recommend using okra in stew or breading and frying the bejeezus out of it. Very good.)

The first thing I grew that I was really proud of was a pumpkin. This was a year or two later and I was still vertically challenged. That may explain why the pumpkin remains a giant in my mind, but maybe not. I’d read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books and somewhere in there, probably Farmer Boy, they discuss milk-fed pumpkins. Well, who wouldn’t want to try that?

And it worked. Huge, that’s how I remember this pumpkin. Between the vines and the body the plant took up a whole section of the garden. I would ease down the little hill, through the tall grass and into the tilled area, basking in the hot summer sun while hoping to raise a monster.

A strong, bright, delicious monster, of course. A girl’s got to have standards.

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From the Library of Congress:

Today in History – February 7
On February 7, 1867, Laura Elizabeth Ingalls, the author of the beloved semi-autobiographical Little House series, was born in Wisconsin, the second daughter of Charles and Caroline Ingalls.

Little House on the Prairie etc. were some of the first real books I read.* They were also where I learned (among many other things) to make candy from maple syrup and snow, twist straw into logs, cast bullets, make candles, that nails were once a precious commodity, and that life before modern medicine was often hard and sometimes deadly.
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Speaking of modern medicine, I’ve been following the new measles outbreaks. Here’s a little public service announcement:

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.
“I feel all sleepy,” she said.
In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.
— Roald Dahl, on his daughter Olivia and Measles

 

Now, some people can’t be vaccinated.** That’s why the rest of us should. “You are a human shield”! (I love that, and I love being a real-life superhero and all-around good neighbor.) Thank you to the researchers who made vaccines possible, to the public policies making it a requirement, and to my parental units for helping me be part of a healthy community by keeping my vaccinations up to date!

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* Ok, Hop on Pop and other such books are real too, but these had chapters and everything! Also Little House was only semi-autobiographical and had some race issues, but acknowledging that lets us know how far we’ve come.

** For more on the “don’t” rather than the “can’t,” check out this TED Talk: Why (Some) Parents Don’t Vaccinate.

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