In the yard (garden) in front of the house were two beautiful big oak trees. Every morning as soon as she was awake Laura ran to look out of the window, and one morning she saw in each of the big trees a dead deer hanging from a branch.
Pa had shot the deer the day before and Laura had been asleep when he brought them home at night and hung them high in the trees so the wolves could not get the meat.
That day Pa and Ma and Laura and Mary had fresh venison (deer meat) for dinner. It was so good that Laura wished they could eat it all. But most of the meat must be salted and smoked (preserved) and packed away to be eaten in the winter.
For winter was coming. The days were shorter, and frost (thin ice) crawled up the glass windows at night. Soon the snow would come. Then the log house would be almost buried in snowdrifts (windblown piles of snow), and the lake and the streams would freeze. In the bitter cold weather Pa could not be sure of finding any wild game (hunted animals) to shoot for meat.
The bears would be hidden away in their dens where they slept soundly all winter long. The squirrels would be curled in their nests in hollow trees, with their furry tails wrapped snugly (comfortably) around their noses. The deer and the rabbits would be shy and swift. Even if Pa could get a deer, it would be poor and thin, not fat and plump as deer are in the fall (autumn).
Pa might hunt alone all day in the bitter cold, in the Big Woods covered with snow, and come home at night with nothing for Ma and Mary and Laura to eat.
So as much food as possible must be stored away in the little house before winter came.
Read by John Larrysson, from a book called The Little House in the Big Woods.