John Larrysson's Column: Summer Story Chapter 10 Part 5 Summer Work
The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

In the summer evenings her father did not tell stories or play the fiddle. Summer days were long, and he was tired after he had worked hard all day in the fields. He did a lot of farm work to grow plants for them to eat.

Her mother was busy, too. Laura and Mary helped her weed the garden. To weed the garden they must take out any wild plants that did not belong there. They helped her feed the calves, which are the cow's babies. They also fed the chickens. They took the eggs from the chickens. They helped their mother make cheese.

[audio 1]

Back in those days, people made almost everything for themselves. Laura's mother would make cheese for them. It was not as easy as buying it in a shop. When the grass was tall and thick in the forest and the cows were giving plenty of milk that was the time to make cheese.

Somebody must kill a calf, because they could not make cheese without rennet. Rennet is the inside of a young calf's stomach. The calf must be very young, so that it had never eaten anything but milk.

Laura was afraid that her father must kill one of the little calves in the barn. They were so sweet. One was a light brown-colour and one was red, and their hair was so soft and their large eyes so wondering. Laura's heart beat fast when her mother talked to her father about making cheese.

[audio 2]

Her father would not kill either of his calves, because they were girls and would grow into cows. He went to Grandfather's house and to Uncle Henry's house, to talk about the cheese-making. Uncle Henry said he would kill one of his boy calves. Boy calves are not as useful as girls. Girl calves will grow up to be cows; which make milk and more calves. Boy calves grow up to be bulls; which do not make milk. Cows and bulls are both called cattle. (Words for Cows)

There would be enough rennet for Aunt Polly and Grandmother and her mother. So her father went again to Uncle Henry's and came back with a piece of the little calf's stomach. It was like a piece of soft, grayish-white leather, all ridged and rough on one side.

[audio 3]

When the cows were milked at night, her mother set the milk away in pans. In the morning she took off the cream to make into butter. Then she set the milk on the stove to heat. A bit of rennet, tied in a cloth, was soaking in warm water.

Mother waited until the milk was warm. Then she thoroughly squeezed every drop of water from the rennet in the cloth. She poured the rennet-water into the milk. Then she stirred it well and left it in a warm place by the stove. In a little while it thickened and looked like yoghurt. 

[audio 4]

Little House in the Big Woods

Chapter 1 - Part 1: Introduction

Chapter 1 - Part 2: Wolves in the Night

Chapter 1 - Part 3: Venison

Chapter 1 - Part 4: Smoked Meat

Chapter 1 - Part 5: Food for Winter

Chapter 1 - Part 6: Butchering Time

Chapter 1 - Part 7: After Butchering Time

Chapter 1 - Part 8: Winter

Chapter 1 - Part 9: Winter Night

Chapter 1 - Part 10: About the Author & Where to Find the Book

Chapter 2 - Part 1: Winter Days and Winter Nights

Chapter 2 - Part 2: Jack Frost

Chapter 2 - Part 3: Laura and Mary Helped Mother with the Housework

Chapter 2 - Part 4: Churn on Thursday

Chapter 2 - Part 5: The Best Time of All

Chapter 2 - Part 6: Her Father Began to Play his Fiddle and Sing

Chapter 2 - Part 7: Father Told Stories

Chapter 2 - Part 8 - The Story of Grandfather and the Panther

Chapter 3 - Part 1: Introduction (The Long Rifle)

Chapter 3 - Part 2: Making Bullets

Chapter 3 - Part 3: Cleaning the Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 4: Loading the Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 5: Where and Why to Keep a Gun

Chapter 3 - Part 6: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 1

Chapter 3 - Part 7: The Story of her Father and the Voice in the Forest Part 2

Chapter 4 - Part 1: Christmas in the Forest

Chapter 4 - Part 2: Making a Gift for his Wife

Chapter 4 - Part 3: Christmas is Coming

Chapter 4 - Part 4: Children Make Pictures in the Snow

Chapter 4 - Part 5: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 1 of 3)

Chapter 4 - Part 6: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 2 of 3)

Chapter 4 - Part 7: Prince & the Blue Dress (part 3 of 3)

Chapter 4 - Part 8: Christmas Morning

Chapter 4 - Part 9: Santa Claus Only Gives Presents to Children

Chapter 5 - Part 1: Sundays

Chapter 5 - Part 2: The Weekly Bath

Chapter 5 - Part 3: Being Quiet

Chapter 5 - Part 4: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 1 of 4)

Chapter 5 - Part 5: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 2 of 4)

Chapter 5 - Part 6: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 3 of 4)

Chapter 5 - Part 7: The Story of Grandfather's Sledge and the Pig (part 4 of 4)

Chapter 5 - Part 8: Sunday Music

Chapter 5 - Part 9: Birthday Spanking

Chapter 6 - Part 1 - Introduction (Two Big Bears)

Chapter 6 - Part 2 - Getting Ready to Go

Chapter 6 - Part 3 - Milking Sukey the Cow (1 of 2)

Chapter 6 - Part 4a - Milking Sukey the Cow (2 of 2)

Chapter 6 - Part 4b - Review Questions: Milking Sukey

Chapter 6 - Part 4c - Answers for Review Questions

Chapter 6 - Part 5 - Her Father Has Not Come Home

Chapter 6 - Part 6 - The Story Of Her Father And The Bear In The Way (1 of 2)

Chapter 6 Part 7a - The Story of Her Father and the Bear in the Way (2 of 2)

Chapter 6 Part 7b - Review Questions: The Bear in the Way

Chapter 6 Part 7c - Answers for Review Questions

Chapter 6 Part 8 - Evening with Father

Chapter 6 Part 9 - When idiots see a bear: Hey let's feed the real live teddy bear!

Chapter 7 Part 1 Introduction - Maple Syrup

Chapter 7 Part 2 - The snow is melting

Chapter 7 Part 3 - Sugar Snow

Chapter 7 Part 4 - Grandfather prepares to make maple syrup

Chapter 7 Part 5 - Grandfather harvests maple syrup

Chapter 7 Part 6 - Why is it called a sugar snow?

Chapter 7 Part 7 - Delaine Dress

Chapter 8 Part 1 - Going to Grandmother and Grandfather's House

Chapter 8 Part 2 - Grandmother and Grandfather's House

Chapter 8 Part 3 - The Wildman

Chapter 8 Part 4a: Made themselves pretty – Hair

Chapter 8 Part 4b: Made themselves pretty - Corsets

Chapter 8 Part 5: Made themselves pretty – Dresses

Chapter 8 Part 6: Competition - The Babies on the Bed

Chapter 8 Part 7: Dancing

Chapter 8 Part 8: Grandmother is the Best Dancer

Chapter 8 Part 9: The Syrup is Ready

Chapter 8 Part 10: Maple Sugar

Chapter 9 Part 1: Spring Has Come

Chapter 9 Part 2: Baby Animals

Chapter 9 Part 3: How to Curl Your Hair and Get Ready to Go to Town

Chapter 9 Part 4: Riding to Town

Chapter 9 Part 5 - What a Town Looks Like

Chapter 9 Part 6 - The Store

Chapter 9 Part 7 - Shopping

Chapter 9 Part 8 - Lunch Beside the Lake

Chapter 9 Part 9 - Going Home

Chapter 10 Part 1 SUMMERTIME


Chapter 10 Part 3 Curls and Aunt Lotty

Chapter 10 Part 4 You Must Never Hit Your Sister

by John Larrysson

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A native English speaker who has been teaching practical English in Hong Kong for over two decades.


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