The Long Wintertakes place just 40 miles away from the 444Farm so we grew up on a steady diet of Laura Ingalls Wilder. We went to the festival, read her books, and of course, watched Pa, Ma, and Laura in the "Little House on the Prairie" TV series that was based on her books.
Laura's books are considered historical fiction but they are based on her life and when it comes to The Long Winter, it is amazingly accurate. I have a feeling that winter made a big impression on her!
The Long Winter - the winter of 1880-1881 - is beyond our comprehension today.
Then they faced starvation - Laura talks about feeling "never fully awake".
The grocery stores run out of food
They used twisted hay into sticks to burn for fuel
Their water bucket inside the house would freeze overnight
Blizzard after blizzard for 7 months.
Until 2 young men braved a journey to a farmstead 20 miles away to return with 60 bushels of wheat and feed the town through the remaining winter.
Already, my 16 below doesn't sound so bad. We quickly do chores and then settle in under blankets, with a cup of cocoa, a good book and a pot of homemade soap simmering on the stove.
Fast forward to today (just one day after subzero temps!) and we are looking forward to temps in our immediate forecast that are 60 degrees warmer than where we started just yesterday morning. No complaints here! It does make me want to get out into the sun!
“It can't beat us!" Pa said. "Can't it, Pa?" Laura asked stupidly. "No," said Pa. "It's got to quit sometime and we don't. It can't lick us. We won't give up." Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.” ― Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter