BUTTER IN THE WELL by Linda K. Hubalek

butter-in-the-wellThis is a fictionalized account of a young Swedish immigrant couple who settled in Kansas in 1867.  The end.

Nah, just messin’ with ya.   That’s not the end,  although it IS a fictionalized account of a young Swedish immigrant couple who settled in Kansas in 1867, but I will tell you a bit more about it.  It is a beautifully researched account of Maja Kajsa Svensson and her husband Carl and their little daughter.  Eventually, her siblings and parents joined them.

Gee, those were the days!  Other than the hardships of living first in the wagon until they were able to build their sod house  and then living for a couple of years and no conveniences at all so to speak of, … OK, nevermind.   But all you needed to do to steal the land from the Native Americans already living there was to file with the government and you would get 80 acres.

It is so hard to imagine living like this.  I get all kerplunchet if I have to live more than two blocks from a convenience store,  and that is saying nothing about my state of mind if there is no pizza delivery nearby.

This was just such a delightful book, and makes history come alive.  I am pretty sure I learned all this stuff back in the Darkish Ages when I was in school, but this book helps make it all so real.

The title comes from when they finally had a well, and what you did was you kept your butter and cream and milk in jugs which you lowered into the well to keep them cold.   One day Maja hauled up on the rope to get the butter as she was making a large dinner for a number of people, and the rope broke, the jug slammed against the side of the well and broke into a bazillion pieces and the butter fell irretrievably into the depths of the water.

And I thought I had it tough when the ice maker in my refrig stopped making ice.

This is now a series of four books, I believe, and definitely rivals Little House on the Prairie for true endearment.

Good night, John.  Good night, Pa.

 

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