Book Review: Christmas in Dairyland
Description of the Book
Christmas in Dairyland is a collection of short, true stories about a little girl growing up on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin in the early 1960s. The book tells of life for a young girl and her family-her father, who did the farming; her mother who, despite being disabled by polio, took care of the house and cooking; and a much older brother and sister, both of whom worked and contributed their incomes to the family.
The stories recall preparations for Christmas at home, school, and church, how LeAnn learned about her Norwegian heritage and, most important, the love that pervaded this close-knit mid-20th century American family. As a bonus, Christmas in Dairyland includes tried and true recipes for many of the Norwegian heritage foods featured in the stories, including lefse (wafer-thin potato bread), Julekake (a rich Christmas bread), fattigman (a deep-fried sweet cookie), and a variety of traditional Christmas cookies. For the more adventurous, there is a recipe for lutefisk (cod that has been preserved in lye). Finally, the book includes instructions for making colorful candles using old crayons, paraffin, ice cubes, and milk cartons.
About the Book
This is a heartwarming book about a vanishing way of life. Small dairy farms, with around 30 milking cows, were plentiful when the author was growing up and they provided a warm and loving home for hundreds of thousands of families back then. There are few left today, as small farms have been abandoned, sold for development, or gobbled up by industrial-scale farming operations. Small dairy farms can no longer provide for a family's financial needs. Even then it was a real struggle. But, though such families were often well below the poverty level in strictly financial terms, they were usually wealthy in love and family relationships, as these stories show.
One or more members of the family-the wife, a son, or daughter-usually had an outside job that contributed to the family income. And the farm usually provided sustenance-milk, beef, pork, chicken, corn, tomatoes, potatoes, and other produce, while mothers and daughters sewed and knitted to supplement clothing needs.. Most important, farm life developed close-knit, loving families that were strong on self-reliance, responsibility, and respect for hard work. My own wife grew up on such a farm and I have often heard her stories about the joys and difficulties-mostly joys-of growing up that way.
LeAnn R. Ralph's stories tell of the excitement of making ornaments and decorating the Christmas tree in her school room each year (another bygone era) and at home. The annual expedition with her father to select the "just right" tree from the stand of red pine on their farm was one of many experiences that built a strong bond between father and daughter. Then there was the year that she and her older sister climbed a large pine to cut off the very top for their tree because all the other pines had grown so much.
LeAnn learned to make lefse from her mother and tells of the mouth-watering aroma of the freshly made, thin Norwegian bread as she came home from school. "By itself, lefse didn't really taste like much, but once it was spread with butter, sprinkled with sugar and rolled into a log, I would have happily eaten nothing but lefse for breakfast, dinner and supper." It made my mouth water just to read about it and I was happy to find LeAnn's recipe for lefse (and other goodies) at the end of the book.
This is a good book for all ages, from pre-teens through octogenarian. The writing is clear, simple, and direct, easily read by young children, but not so simple as to put off adult readers. Children will connect with
LeAnn's description of a young girl's life on the farm, helping Dad with the chores, helping Mom wrap Christmas presents, yearning for a toboggan, and being surprised by her brother's purchase of a saddle for her pony, Dusty. They'll understand her attempts to get out of wearing boots, heavy coats, and mittens on warm winter days, "just because it might get cold." And some will relate to LeAnn's stark fear of having to stand up in front of all the people at church to sing a solo-memorized in Norwegian-of an old-country Christmas carol. Older folks will feast on the nostalgia, and may get tears in their eyes as they learn how that Norwegian carol affected one old woman in the congregation. People from all generations will enjoy the depiction of a close, loving family as it prepares for and enjoys Christmas in Dairyland.
About the reviewer: Boyd Sutton is president of Northwest Regional Writers and a member of the Yarnspinners critique group. He served for 11 years in the U.S. Army Infantry and Intelligence and wrote professionally as an analyst and manager with CIA for 27 years. He enjoys writing essays, fiction, and humor and has been published in local papers and magazines. Boyd won the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Assoc. Florence Lindemann Humor Contest in 2003. He is working on a spy novel and a nonfiction book addressing how Christian denominational doctrine ("Churchianity") sometimes interferes with Christianity.
About The Author
LeAnn R. Ralph is the author of the books: "Christmas in Dairyland (True Stories from a Wisconsin Farm) and "Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam." For more information, visit: http://ruralroute2.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
Fun Works - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
Fun Works: Creating Places Where People Love to Workby Leslie Yerkes
Reality Checked - Book Review
Reality Checked ? Life through Death, is a moving saga about finding meaning in a world of suffering and pointless hate based on the color of skin. Former school teacher and Theologist, Victor Waller has incorporated many of life's issues through the lives of his characters who were forced to make decisions in hopeless situations. Racism, revenge and hate are rampant in this book. Domestic abuse and the dangers hidden within our society's foster care system are also addressed.
The Bubblegum Babes Guide to Sixth Grade - Review
This is one book that I would have cherished as a little girl. The Bubblegum Babes' Guide to Sixth Grade is the first in a series designed for young people growing up in today's fast-paced and high-pressure world. Doreen Lewis wrote it so that each chapter can be read as a complete story on its own - perfect for pre-teens that like to read small sections at a time. An award winning author and mother of two, Doreen writes with clarity and energy and draws upon her life for inspiration in her work. Her own personality is revealed nicely in the Acknowledgement and About Author sections in the book.
IZEE Growing Up In A Logging Camp: Reality Intertrude Insert Between Ch1 and Ch2
Kashmir: Behind the Vale
Kashmir has been a reason for at least three wars between India and Pakistan. Over the past 15 years, the name Kashmir has become synonymous with violence and terrorism. Where is Kashmir and why has it been the reason of so many wars? What is happening in Kashmir? Why are India and Pakistan fighting over Kashmir?
Book Excerpt: Give Me a Home Where the Dairy Cows Roam -- 5
Workshop-In-A-Book® for Dating Again, A Must-Read EBOOK
The Joy Of Dating Again is designed to be a do-it- yourself workshop. This book features 21 self-empowering keys. Each of the keys is presented as a workshop session. There is an explanation of each key and its relevance to your life. There are also exercises, meditations, affirmations and guided social experiments to reinforce and help you apply each key into action. This book can guide you through the keys for self-empowerment, helping you get the tools to move into a "new life," stretching your old limits and breaking the barriers of what is possible for you. In addition, you will develop the tools to attract a partner that is really suitable for you; the "new you."
The Demon Plague - Book Review
"The Demon Plague by Joreid McFate is a fantastic paranormal suspense science-fiction novel, involving time-travel and mysticism. This 424 page book is also available in e-book format.
The Birth of I Confess
I dreamed since I was fourteen years old to spend most of my existence writing. I began reading at this time, and reading became my passion. I knew this was the vocation for me. I wanted to continue to read and then write that best selling novel.
Book Summary: Effective Networking For Personal Success
We are all "self-employed" now.
Why Malta? A Mystery-Thriller Author Tells Why
"Why Malta?" my new Maltese friends kept asking me when they find out that my mystery-thriller The Cellini Masterpiece is set on Malta. Mind you, only the Maltese ask that question. (Some kind of national inferiority complex?) Americans ask "Malta Who?" or "Where the heck is Malta?" or "Is it about the Maltese Falcon?" (They must always think that they're the first ones to think that up.)
Why The Dems Can?t Stand Tom Delay & Tim LaHaye
THE MORAL OF THE STORY
What Really Works - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
If you watch television, read the newspaper and/or magazines, frequent the Internet, or simply move in any kind of a business circle, you must have, at one time or another, pondered the following:
The Laid Daughter
There has been a lot of publicity lately centered on the issue of child molestation. Child molestation is a horrific form of child abuse that leaves its victims with a deep loss of self and the inability to cope with life's challenges.
Are You Using Both Sides of the GoogleCoin?
By now most of you realise that Google can give our websites the ability to appear within their results pages using a Pay Per Click model (PPC).
Hug Your Customers - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
Don't panic. Jack Mitchell, the author of Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results, isn't suggesting that you take his title literally. Hugging your customers, he says, has nothing to do with being touchy-feely around them and everything to do with offering them over-the-top service. His advice is hardly groundbreaking. For instance, what rookie employee has not heard the old adages such as "know your customer, think outside the box, have a 'no problem' attitude"? While we've all heard this obvious, age-old advice repeatedly, how many of us can honestly say we've seen it practiced with any level of success where we shop, eat, travel, etc.? That's the point of this book. Everyone knows what should be done to create repeat customers ... very few people do it!
Book Review: Karmic Relationships
Karmic Relationships: Healing Invisible Wounds
Be the Leader - AchieveMax® Top Ten Book Review
The author of Be the Leader: Make the Difference, a "manual for leaders," speaks not from theory and research alone. Paul B. Thornton is a consultant, trainer, and speaker specializing in the areas of management, leadership and team building. He has long assisted organizations in the selection and development of leaders at various levels. He has trained over 7,000 supervisors and managers to be more effective leaders.
What $ells on EBay For What - Book Review
You look at the salesletter and the price tag ($8.95 USD) for the e-book What $ells on eBay For What, and they look pretty unpretentious. In fact, I really wasn't expecting a whiz bang job for a mere $8.95. (What can I say... I'm one of those people who believes a higher price equals better quality.)
Free Ebook Offer: The Story of America: Discovery - Article 3
Quite a lot happened in Europe between 1002AD, when the Vikings hurriedly packed their longships and retreated back to the colder climes of Greenland, and 1492AD, when the Spanish caravels, with Columbus so confident at the helm, accidentally stumbled across the forgotten continent.
|© Athifea Distribution LLC - 2013|