Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Fixing To Suit Us

Laura Ingalls Wilder's birthday was this past Sunday. Noting that got me to thinking again about our own Little House on the Prairie.

This quote of hers fits perfectly what awaited us when we moved into it.

This is what I wrote about it at that time:

"In October, 1980, we moved to the Morris/Sather Farm eight miles west and 1/4 mile south of Lenox, Iowa - Kari, Preston and I. Doug had already graduated and was in school at Ankeny. He had bought his own house - definitely no longer in my nest. So this move marked that change, and others, in our lives."

The house, pictured during the first snow after we moved there. A corner of the garage is visible on the left.
We always refer to this as 'the little house'.

The old barn was part of our rented area. In it I raised three runt pigs to market weight as well as a flock of broiler chickens.

It is also where we kept our Nadette after her death one winter. We couldn't bury her until the ground thawed. In the spring we interred our dear dog beneath the lilac bush.

Preston was nine years old when we moved. Here he stands in the living room looking into the dining room at some of the mess we had to clean up before moving in.

The living room had been paneled so there wasn't as much 'fix' needed there.

An 'after' of the living room. I note from these old photos that I still had a bit of a green thumb - lots of house plants.
One thing not in the living room was a T.V. Our old one had quit and we didn't have money for another set. I loved that we had a fire in the wood burning stove and all did a lot of reading that winter.

Kari's room before. There was much more to be done in this room which was in the front on the Northeast side of the house.
Our new landlord was a very nice. Anything I spent on the house I could deduct from our rent. He also helped us move from the old house. He lived in Lenox, and had purchased the farm for pasturage for his cattle.

Once the walls were repaired and the old paper scraped, I papered her room in blue - even covering the boards for her shelves in the same paper to match.

I think my 11-year old daughter liked her room.

Preston's room didn't require as much repair work. It was mostly just scraping the old wall paper before applying the new.
I'm sure I probably chose the paper. I do remember driving to Bridgewater to buy all the wall paper. There was a small general store there that sold the paper much cheaper than anywhere else.

My bedroom. It had to be yellow, of course. It was the smallest of the bedrooms - more a utility room than a bedroom (no closet), but I wanted the kids to have the big rooms. All three bedrooms were along the north side of the little house.

The dining room was my favorite room. It was in the center of the house; three south-facing windows, built-in cupboard and hard wood floors. It is also where the wood burning stove was as well as my big old desk. Love, love, loved this room. It was the last we managed to get 'fixed to suit us' because the ceiling was falling in and I had to have help getting it sheet-rocked before I papered the room in a silver and orange metallic paper not too long before we moved back to West Des Moines.

There wasn't much I could do in the bathroom except scrub, scrub, scrub.
It took awhile to get used to not having a shower, but we managed.

The kitchen was small with a few old metal cupboards. Good thing we had the built-ins in the dining room. And a pantry space between the kitchen and bathroom where I was able to fit a large old cupboard Doug had bought for me at an auction.

Our little house sat up on a hill. Looking East was the Hundred and Two River valley. I never tired of the view. I've said it before - I've never felt as connected to the land any where I've lived as much as I did here.
This is the area where Bud is supposed to scatter some of my ashes if he outlives me. If not, I hope one of my children will. Not the home place of my birth, but the place of my heart.


  1. This makes me ache with nostalgia. Our sweet Little House--so many memories there!

  2. Out of all the homes we have lived in, this by far was my favorite. Too bad it's gone....I would love to live there again...

  3. Looks like I'm not the only one who thinks of this place reminiscently. What was it about our time there? Whatever it was, it was special.

  4. Not just "felt" right. Sometimes I dream of buying that land and building a home there similar to what we had. But those are my dreams-not Shalea's