Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Read Along: Week 26- Texas Longhorns

This week’s chapter gives us a glimpse into the lives of other types of people who share the prairie with pioneering families like the Ingalls.
Learn more about the great cattle drives of the west. Pa mentions that they must be headed for Fort Dodge, so these cowboys must have been following one of the most famous of the trails, The Chisholm Trail
Explore this website and see how long a distance the cowboys had to travel, carefully driving the half-wild cattle over harsh, rocky land filled with dangers. At the end of the trail, you can read the stories of the cowboys and their adventures.
See some pictures taken around the turn of the (last) century of an actual cattle drive
Erwin E. Smith Collection
Listen to some of the music. The haunting, howling sounds of the cowboys singing to the cattle must have made a very strong impression on Laura. Many years later, as she writes this book, she seems to still remember every detail of those strange sounds carried across the prairie. Here is a link to music by the Sons of the Pioneers

When I was young, my Father had several tapes of old western music. I spent hours riding my stick pony around with a walkman playing that music, pretending to herd the cattle and head off stampeds. I’m sure I must have looked and sounded silly, but it was great fun.
I had intended to suggest some cowboy inspired embroidery for a project, but my google-fu seems to be failing me. I remember reading somewhere that many cowboys spent the long, lonely winters in the bunk-houses working on fine embroidery and braided leathers that they would sell for a bit of extra money. Unfortunately, I can’t find any reference to that or examples to show. So instead here is a list of cowboy related projects here on Ravelry:
Lizzy the Cow tea cozy
Child’s cowboy hat
Texas Longhorn dishcloth
cow skull

Discussion topic:
Imagine how wonderful being able to get a nice big piece of beef was after having nothing but wild game for months. Then add in the extra bonus of a cow to milk. I can’t even think of something to relate that to in our modern lives with provisions so readily at hand. Having a source of fresh milk, butter, and possibly even cheese must have been such a huge blessing to Ma, I bet she was overcome with joy & gratitude. For me, knowing that my pantry is well stocked and that I could still provide a good, filling meal for my family even if some disaster was to strike gives me such a feeling of satisfaction & contentment. I think that is close to the feeling Ma probably had. What sort of emergency preparations does your family do? What items are most important for you to keep stocked in your pantry?

by SarahJayne

From FineandFancy
Here is an old cowboy leather working “trick” if you can get a hold of a piece of leather. (or try using fabric backed vinyl) My brother had one of these bracelets when he was a kid. He un-worked it once and we had a dickens of a time figuring out how to fix it. We didn’t have internet!)

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