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Laura Ingalls Wilder

Farmer Boy

Crops and Food

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Man using a cradle

Man Using a Cradle - Photo courtesy of the State Historical Society of Iowa, 402 Iowa Avenue, Iowa City, IA 52240. http://www.iowahistory.org

Oat Shocks

Oat Shocks

Wintergreen berries

Wintergreen Berries


The Wilders grew many kinds of food. They grew wheat, rye, oats, corn, potatoes, carrots, beans, turnips, pumpkins and other fruits and vegetables. One year Almanzo grew his own pumpkin. He fed it with milk and it grew to be very large. Almanzo took his pumpkin to the county fair and he won first prize for it!

The oats were cut with cradles that had blades and long wooden teeth. Then the oats were stacked into piles and bound into bundles called sheaves.

The shocks of oats and wheat were stored in the barn. Later Almanzo and his father threshed the grain by spreading it out on the barn floor and beating it with flails to shell the grain.

After all the work he did, Almanzo was very hungry. He started out early in the morning with a large breakfast and had a large dinner at noon. In one dinner described in Farmer Boy , Almanzo ate roast beef and brown gravy, mashed potatoes, creamed carrots, boiled turnips and slices of buttered bread with crab-apple jelly. After all that he had a thick slice of birds' nest pudding, made of apples and fluffy crust, topped with sweetened cream speckled with nutmeg.

In the early spring Almanzo hunted wintergreen berries. Under the snow he found the red berries ripe among their green leaves. Nothing else tasted as good as the crunchy berries dug from the snow.




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