Wednesday, October 29, 2008

How to get happiness - according to Laura

(Taken from "Favors the Small Farm Home" in Laura Ingalls Wilder: A Family Collection. This was Laura's first published article, originally written as an address to a local farmer's club meeting. On this occasion, though, she was too busy to give the speech herself, and so she sent the text along for someone else to read. The editor of the Missouri Ruralist was in the audience, and liked what he heard. He decided to publish the article, and got in touch with Laura. And so her life as a writer began.)
"There is a movement in the United States today, wide-spread, and very far reaching its consequences. People are seeking after a freer, healthier, happier life. They are tired of the noise and dirt, bad air and crowds of the cities and are turning longing eyes toward the green slopes, wooded hills, pure running water and health-giving breezes of the country.

A great many of those people are discouraged by the amount of capital required to buy a farm and hesitate at the thought of undertaking a new business. But there is no need to buy a large farm. A small farm will bring in a good living with less work and worry and the business is not hard to learn . . . I am an advocate of the small farm and I want to tell you how an ideal home can be made on, and a good living made from, five acres of land.

Whenever a woman's homemaking is spoken of, the man in the case is presupposed and the woman's home-making is expected to consist in keeping the house clean and serving good meals on time, etc. In short, that all her home-making should be inside the house. It takes more than the inside of the house to make a pleasant home and women are capable of making the whole home, outside and in, if necessary. She can do so to perfection on a five-acre farm by hiring some of the outside work done. However, our ideal home should be made by a man and woman together. First I want to say that a five-acre farm is large enough for the support of a family. [A] great part of the living can be made on that size farm from poultry or fruit or a combination of poultry, fruit and dairy.

It used to be that the woman on a farm was isolated and behind the times. Now rural delivery brings us our daily papers . . . The telephone gives us connection with the outside world at all times . . . Circulating libraries are scattered through the rural districts . . . The interurban trolley lines being built throughout the country will make it increasingly easy for us to run into town for an afternoon's shopping or any other pleasure.

Yes, indeed, things have changed in the country and we have the advantages of city life if we care to take them. Besides we have what it is impossible for the woman in the city to have. We have a whole five acres for our backyard and all outdoors for our conservatory, filled not only with beautiful flowers, but with grand old trees as well, with running water and beautiful birds, with sunshine and fresh air and all wild, free beautiful things.

The children, instead of playing with other children in some street or alley can go make friends with the birds, on their nests in the bushes, as my little girl used to do. This little farm home is a delightful place for friends to come for afternoon tea under the trees."

I would so love a little five-acre farm home. It is my goal. I'm hoping to have one in the next five years. I hope that all of my friends will come out and have some of the eggs, fruit, and milk from the Simple Farm and spend some afternoons under the trees. Until then, I'll try and find ways to be as self-reliant as we can, and get out in nature as often as we can, and be as happy as I can here in the city.

1 comment:

AFarCryFromNormal said...

Can you build a sister apartment on the side of your house? Time and a season. I too am hoping that one day it is MY season to live on a alot of property out in the country and enjoy many of the simplicities there and become more self-reliant. I am hoping this isn't JUST a dream. Because dreams CAN come true!