Laura's Ma: Adapted from the Text by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House Chapter Books)

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9780060278977: Laura's Ma: Adapted from the Text by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Little House Chapter Books)

In this chapter book adapted from the Little House books, Laura discovers that Ma can do anything! She can make butter from milk and hats from a bundle of straw, and she always makes their little house warm and cozy.

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About the Author:

Laura Ingalls Wilder was born in 1867 in the log cabin described in Little House in the Big Woods. As her classic Little House books tell us, she and her family traveled by covered wagon across the Midwest. She and her husband, Almanzo Wilder, made their own covered-wagon trip with their daughter, Rose, to Mansfield, Missouri. There Laura wrote her story in the Little House books, and lived until she was ninety years old. For millions of readers, however, she lives forever as the little pioneer girl in the beloved Little House books.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter One

Ma's Work

It was always busy around the little log house in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, where Laura lived with her Ma and her Pa and her sisters, Mary and Carrie. Every day, except for Sunday, there was work to be done. Pa had his chores to do, and so did Ma. Laura and Mary helped Ma with her chores, but Baby Carrie was too little to help.

Each morning, right after breakfast, Laura and Mary helped Ma wipe the dishes. Mary wiped more dishes than Laura because she was bigger, but Laura always wiped her own little cup and plate. After the dishes were cleaned and put away, Laura and Mary helped Ma make the beds. Ma made the big bed while Laura and Mary made their own little trundle bed. The trundle bed sat low to the ground. Laura and Mary straightened and tucked the covers and plumped up the pillows, then Ma pushed it into its place under the big bed.

When the after-breakfast chores were done, Ma began the work that belonged to that day. Each day had its own special work. Ma would say:

"Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday."

Laura liked the churning days best of all. Churning meant making butter out of the cream that came from Sukey, the cow. In winter, the cream was not as yellow as it was in summer. That meant the butter was white and not so pretty. Ma liked everything on her table to be pretty, so during the winter months she colored the butter.

First she put the cream in a tall pot called a churn. She set the churn near the stove to warm. Then she washed and scraped a long orange-colored carrot. She grated the carrot on the bottom of the old, leaky tin pan. Pa had punched the pan full of nailholes for her. Ma grated the carrot by rubbing it across the roughness until she rubbed it all through the holes. When she lifted up the pan, there was a soft, juicy mound of grated carrot.

Ma put the mound of carrot in a little pan of milk on the stove. When the milk and carrot mixture was hot, she poured it into a cloth bag. Then she squeezed the bright-yellow milk into the churn so that it colored all the cream. Now the butter would be yellow.

Laura and Mary were allowed to eat the carrot left in the bag after the milk was squeezed out. Mary thought she should have more of the carrot because she was older. Laura thought she should have more because she was littler. But Ma said they must divide it evenly.

Laura loved how the carrot tasted, all warm and sweet and good.

When the cream was ready, Ma took a long wooden handle called a dash and put it in the churn. Then she placed a churn cover over it. The churn cover had a little round hole in the middle. Ma moved the dash up and down, up and down, through the hole.

It took a long time for the cream to turn into butter. Sometimes Mary churned while Ma rested. Laura wished she could help, but the dash was too heavy. So Laura watched for the first splashes of cream to become thick and smooth around the little hole in the churn cover.

First the cream turned grainy. Then Ma churned more slowly, and the soft yellow butter began to appear on the dash.

When Ma was finished, she took off the churn cover. The butter sat in a golden lump, drowning in buttermilk. Ma took out the lump of butter and put it into a wooden bowl. She washed the butter in cold water until the water ran clear. Then she salted it.

Now came the part Laura loved the best. Carefully Ma packed all the butter into a mold. Then she turned the mold upside down over a plate and pushed the butter out into little pats.

On the bottom of the mold, there was a tiny picture of a strawberry with two strawberry leaves. As the butter came out, each little pat had the pretty strawberry picture on the top.

Laura and Mary watched, breathless, standing one on each side of Ma. The golden little butter pats, each with its strawberry on the top, dropped onto the plate as Ma put the butter through the mold. When Ma finished molding the butter, she gave Laura and Mary each a drink of good, fresh buttermilk.

Next to churning days, Laura liked baking days best. On baking days, Ma made fresh bread and cookies and pies. When she made bread, she gave Laura and Mary each a piece of dough so they could make their own little loaves. When she made cookies, she gave them a bit of cookie dough so they could make little cookies. And once, Laura even made a pie in her pattypan.

After the day's work was done, Ma sometimes cut paper dolls for Laura and Mary. She cut the dolls out of stiff white paper and drew the faces with a pencil. Then she cut dresses and hats and ribbons and laces from bits of colored paper so Laura and Mary could dress their dolls beautifully.

Ma was always cheerful while she worked. Her hands were quick and steady. It seemed to Laura that no matter what Ma did, it always turned out perfectly.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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