Starting Back At The Beginning

Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

~Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Chapter 1 — at the very beginning

Most of you have heard my story before. How I was introduced to the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder by my sixth grade teacher Mr. Lazarus when I was eleven. If only I could find Mr. Lazarus now to thank him for how he changed my life. How I checked out each and every book from our school library till I read them all. How one day a classmate, a boy, no less, found out which book I was getting on that library day (I had earned a reputation by then as the girl who was reading all those books) and raced in ahead of me and checked it out just to torment me. And how I, shy and quiet as I was, told the librarian what he had done and she made him give the book to me. How Laura and her books sparked my lifelong love of American History and respect of Native Americans. And horses too, although I chose the “Indian pony” Appaloosa horse as my breed of choice over her Manly’s choice of the Morgan horse, but let’s face it, I love ALL horses.

I can still remember all the extra early finds. The Laura Ingalls Wilder Songbook that I spotted on a bookstore shelf. The discovery of The First Four Years and On The Way Home were like finding treasures. And doing a school report on Laura when I looked under “W” in the public library set of encyclopedia and saw that tiny little picture of Laura as a woman in her 80s. That tiny passage was all that I could find about the real Laura and I wanted to know so much more. You can imagine my delight later when I discovered the William Anderson (well known Laura Ingalls Wilder expert) booklets! Remember folks, this was all in the early to middle 1970s.

I wanted to be Laura. I wanted to live like Laura lived, although in my preteen mind she lived permanently in the late 1800s. I wanted to see where Laura lived. I wanted others to  love those books and their storyteller as much as I did. I wanted to meet others who shared my love. I wanted to help to preserve the Laura Ingalls Wilder legacy for future generations too.

Guess what! I was able to fulfill so many of my dreams. I have been able to see many of the places that Laura lived and I have met so many others who share the same love. I  have been able to meet so many of those same people by going to two LauraPalooza conferences, where I learned more than I ever thought I needed to know about my favorite author. And there have been so many other Laura adventures that I have been lucky enough to experience! I’ve even been privileged to have been able to help preserve her legacy by helping at the website Beyond Little House and even writing several posts there. Plus, I was honored to serve for a year on the board of the Laura Ingalls Wilder Legacy and Research Association.

How lucky am I? And I’m not done yet. I plan to help preserve Laura’s legacy in other ways, maybe quiet more simple ways, but I will never stop.

And for now, I’m going back to my LIW beginnings. I’ve spent the last few years learning new things and almost feel as if I’ve lost sight of why I first fell in love with Laura and her writing. So, I’m connecting myself with her earlier writing and the things that others have discovered and shared with us. And most of all, I’m re-reading the Little House books. Just for the pure joy of it all.

Today is the anniversary of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s birth in that little log house in the big woods of Wisconsin. And I am oh so glad that she decided to share her stories with us.

Happy Birthday, Laura Ingalls Wilder!

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100 Books Everyone Should Read Before They Die

I’ve read quite a few, but not all of these. I’d better get busy! Was happy to see a Laura Ingalls Wilder pick (although I would say the series is a must-read, not just one of them). And I read #100 every. single. night. for a long time to my own little boy many years ago. 🙂

Click here for the 100 books everyone should read before they die.

Poetry Wednesday

“It can’t beat us!” Pa said.
“Can’t it, Pa?” Laura asked stupidly.
“No,” said Pa. “It’s got to quit sometime and we don’t. It can’t lick us. We won’t give up.”

Then Laura felt a warmth inside her. It was very small but it was strong. It was steady, like a tiny light in the dark, and it burned very low but no winds could make it flicker because it would not give up.

~The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Chapter 30 – It Can’t Beat Us

Just to remind us all (who are thoroughly tired of snow) that it could be worse.

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Monday Musings (on Tuesday)

A day late…I know.

I was actually home for most of yesterday too.

I got up yesterday morning and was getting ready to start my day, which I always do before I turn on the tv or get online. So I was surprised when Jamie texted telling me I could go back to bed. The training she was supposed to go to was canceled, as was school at both her district and the district her little guy attends. Well, alrighty then. I crawled back into bed. I mean, who am I to argue? I dozed off and on, but finally decided that I needed to get up and go get my grocery shopping done before Jim left to go to a meeting (and taking our car). Jim suggested that if he went with me that I could take him to breakfast. Again…who am I to argue? Grocery shopping done, half a veggie omelet to start the day (I always save half for Duke), Jim gone to a meeting, and a closet needing some organization. 

Well, half a closet. The other half will get done today because once again schools are canceled and I have a day free from babysitting. I found a whole box of unread books. I wondered what happened to them and thought I must have accidentally given them away. Logic would tell you that I should go ahead and get rid of them since I didn’t even know I had them. Nope. They went back in the closet with the hope that I will not forget them when I’m in need of something to read.

And I found a box of Laura Ingalls Wilder-related books. It contains some of the pre-Little House books that I have set aside for when I have grandchildren and some duplicates of books I already have. I thought it was out in our shop attic. Now I’m wondering if I have a whole ‘nother box of Laura Ingalls Wilder-related books out in the shop attic too. Yikes. This is all besides the LIW-related books that I have on my bookshelves. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more aware of boxes of stuff just packed away that my husband and kids will have to go through after I’m gone. I’m trying to avoid that as much as possible. There are two LIW-related topics that I hope to do some more research/learning about and I think that everything else, except for special items and souvenirs, will be passed on to those who might like them. This will be an ongoing project.

I’ve been writing this post, with several interruptions, for about three hours and have yet to start on that second half of the closet. I should probably quit putting it off.

One last thing about the closet. I also went through a couple of files and boxes and organized them into one file box. It’s one little sub-chapter of a chapter of my life that I’m putting behind me. I was a little sad about it, but with some new realizations I really know that I made the right decision. After all, I didn’t put the WHOLE chapter behind me so it’ll still make me happy. Just in a different way.

Okay…I’m not putting it off any longer. I’m going back in!

Have a nice day. Stay warm. Or not (if you’re lucky enough to be enjoying better weather than we are). Be happy. Have a good attitude. Believe me, it helps.



W is for …

W is for a few things in my little life!

My last name has been Welser ever since October 19, 1985. Over half my life.

My work place begins with W – Welser Well Drilling LLC. And it even has a website.

What do we do? Why, we drill and service water wells and their systems.

Who is my favorite author? Of course you know that it’s Laura Ingalls Wilder!

Duke is reading These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Kudos to whoever can guess what his favorite part of the book was.

I like to take walks in our woods.

I  love to write and have often said that it’s my therapy.

Little Women is also a favorite book of mine.

I love it when the wrens return and their song is one of my favorites.

Water is pretty much my favorite drink.

W – it’s a pretty good letter.


V is for Violets

I’m going to go back to Laura Ingalls Wilder for V. I love the following passage from By The Shores of Silver Lake. It was Chapter 30, “Where Violets Grow” where the family is frantically searching for little sister Grace who has wandered off.

There was Grace. There, in a great pool of blue, sat Grace. The sun shone on her golden hair blowing in the wind. She looked up at Laura with big eyes as blue as violets. her hands were full of violets. She held them up to Laura and said, “Sweet! Sweet!”

Laura sank down and took Grace in her arms. She held Grace carefully and panted for breath. Grace leaned over her arm to reach more violets. They were surrounded by masses of violets blossoming above low-spreading leaves. Violets covered the flat bottom of a large, round hollow. All around this lake of violets, grassy banks rose almost straight up to the prairie-level. There in the round, low place the wind hardly disturbed the fragrance of the violets. The sun was warm there, the sky was overhead, the green walls of grass curved all around, and butterflies fluttered over the crowding violet-faces.

Laura stood up and lifted Grace to her feet. She took the violets that Grace gave her, and clasped her hand. “Come, Grace,” she said. “We must go home.”

I don’t need an illustration for I can see it so well by Laura’s description. This is one of the reasons that I love her books so much.

L is for Laura (Ingalls Wilder)

This was originally on my other blog and I believe it is also shared over at Beyond Little House (go ahead on over and explore and don’t notice that I’ve been slacking there as a contributor). I’ve made some additions and subtractions so it’s a little different.

Some people just don’t understand…

I have loved Laura Ingalls Wilder (author of the Little House books) since I was eleven and my teacher that year started reading her books to our class. I was hooked.  I read the Little House books over and over and over again. Still do. When I finished the books, I wanted to know more. Wanted to find out what happened next. Laura, her family and her life have always been a big part of my life. Even when my life was going through turmoil and I had to put her aside for awhile, she was always there. In my heart. When things settled down, she came back to stay. In the last several years, she has been there for me as I’ve moved into the next chapter of my life: the empty nest. And I’ve found I finally have the time to learn all I want to about her and maybe even help to preserve her legacy.

Most people in my real life just don’t understand my love and admiration for her. I mean, my family does. At least I think they do. My husband has been very indulgent. He has traveled to six of her homesites with me. He accompanied me to Minneapolis in 2008 and sat through the Little House musical. Jim even came to the first LauraPalooza in 2010 and was one of the few husbands in attendance (I like to think he set a precedent as I saw more husbands in 2012) He never complains (well not much) when I find something “Laura” that I just HAVE to have.

Jim and I at a stop in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

Jim and I at a stop in Walnut Grove, Minnesota

I’m sure my daughter gets it. She was lucky enough to go to Rocky Ridge with us and she was the lucky one who went to LauraPalooza 2012. I told her that she didn’t have to be there the whole time, but she did and she even helped out on a committee that I had committed to being on. She’s read the books, but just doesn’t share that love and enthusiasm that I hold in my heart. I’ve learned to get over the disappointment (although I do believe that LauraPalooza 2012 made some kind of an impression). My son, well he’s more like “whatever”. He enjoyed Farmer Boy when I read it to him as a child. I’ll assume he knows who she is. She’s just always been there, a part of our lives.


Jamie and I walking the path from the farmhouse to the rock house a Rocky Ridge in Mansfield, Missouri

So, when I talk about people not understanding I mean some friends and family members. They think I’m like…I don’t know…a fluffy fan of the tv show. I’ve tried to explain that it’s nothing to do with the tv show (I’m okay with the show), that it’s the author, the pioneer woman, the wife and mother. It’s Laura!

I love and greatly admire Laura Ingalls Wilder, the author and woman. I love the Little House books. I also love her other writings too. I love the life she lived, her family, the strength, the love that they all shared, while learning about who Laura Ingalls Wilder really was – an imperfect person just like the rest of us. I strive to learn more about her. I’m tired of trying to make people understand, but I’ll never stop trying…