i just received the wonderful gift of little house in the big woods, and it is definitely my new favorite book. it's a how-to guide to my ideal life. a few quotes:
+ on dolls: "mary was bigger than laura, and she had a ragdoll named nettie. laura had only a corncob wrapped in a handkerchief, but it was a good doll. it was named susan. it wasn't susan's fault that she was only a corncob."
+ on rendering lard from the family pig: "ma was trying out the lard in big iron pots on the cookstove. laura and mary carried wood and watched the fire. it must be hot, but not too hot, or the lard would burn. the big pots simmered and boiled, but they must not smoke. from time to time, ma skimmed out the brown cracklings. she put them in a cloth and squeezed out every bit of lard."
+ on filling the pantry for the long winter ahead: "onions were made into long ropes, braided together by their tops, and then were hung in the attic beside wreaths of red peppers strung on threads....the barrels of salted fish were in the pantry, and yellow cheeses were stacked on the pantry shelves."
some tasks, like building and working a smoker, and cutting logs for a log cabin, are even illustrated with pretty accurate drawings. it's seriously out of control. i'm only on page thirty, and i've alread learned how to churn butter, smoke deer, knit, kill a pig, bake, and everything else above. it's ridiculous.