Chapter 9 - Horse Thieves

Chapter 10 - The Wonderful Afternoon 

Chapter 11 - Payday

Chapter 12 - Wings Over Silver Lake

Chapter 13 - Breaking Camp

Chapter 14 - The Surveyor's House

Chapter 15 - The Last Man Out

Chapter 16 - Winter Days

This section of the book begins with more rough men - Horse Thieves! 

Pa's worried about his friend Big Jerry, and about the "water boss" named Old Johnny.

Sounds to me like Big Jerry needs to quit gambling - or at least quit winning!

We learn about the weekly household routine - Monday for washing clothes; ironing on Tuesdays; mending on Wednesdays; cleaning constantly. 

Pa wisely takes Laura to see the work camp so she'll quit daydreaming and pestering him about going out there. Ma gives Laura a stern talking to about etiquette and propriety and the rough men at the camp.

I must confess I got a little bored during the "Wonderful Afternoon" chapter about all the details of building the railroad.. anybody else have their eyes glaze over a bit during this chapter?

I was nervous for Ma and Pa hiding the big bag of money for the men's payday - smart of Ma to think to hide it in her flour sack! Pa wears his revolver, and has a shotgun and a rifle in the house. 

Big Jerry comes to the rescue again as a group of men tries to bully Pa about their paychecks. Laura thinks Big Jerry has taken sides against Pa, but mostly he's fooled the men into leaving and going somewhere else to make their mischief. 

How did you feel about Pa sharing the violent story of what happened to the paymaster in front of a very awake Laura and Mary?

in Wings Over Silver Lake, Laura wants to go West, but Pa honors his promise to Ma that the girls will get a proper schooling.

How did you feel when Ma and Pa tell Laura she MUST become a schoolteacher now that Mary can't? and when reading about Laura's sad reaction to that proclamation?

Laura and Pa want to go west after the railroad men break camp, but Pa gets the opportunity to overwinter and take care of the surveyor's house. But the nearest neighbor would be - gasp - 60 miles away! 

We meet Mr. Boast, who Pa helps get his team back. 

"The Surveyor's House" is probably my favorite chapter in the Little House series. I just love the descriptions of the food stored away, and imagining how glad Ma would be for the food and a cozier life for the meanwhile. It makes me wish I had a full pantry to tidily store things in (instead of my weird tall narrow closet that serves as pantry in my crappy kitchen!)

I get why canned peaches would be a treat - but soda crackers? They're excited about soda crackers! :( 

Anybody else suspect that this description of the surveyors' house is what the Little House on the Prairie TV series based the house interior on in the show?

Here are the lyrics to the song Laura sings in the Surveyor's House:

http://www.contemplator.com/england/marymoor.html

Pa decides that song is too sad, so changes to Paddle Your Own Canoe:

https://genius.com/The-wolfe-tones-paddle-your-own-canoe-lyrics

In "The Last Man Out" we meet Woodworth, a sickly man determined to "take the prairie cure." 

Pa plays more music and wolves howl, reminding me of Plum Creek and earlier books..

It's strange to be reading "Winter Days" on a warm sunny May day! The girls spend their time indoors sewing and knitting. It made me wonder how much wool they brought with them on this years-long journey, or how often they buy knitting supplies at the marked-up prairie store?

Pa and Laura play checkers until Pa exclaims that it's a "selfish game" because only two people can play.

Thoughts on this section of the book?

Carrie

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