The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The First Four Years
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Published 1971


This is my second attempt to catch up on all of my book reviews. There are four more left.

Life keeps giving me distractions.


First it was the start of a new school year...the next week I was not well for a time, and in between I dealt badly with relationship issues (I thought I'd have a breakdown!)...the following week my girls had four consecutive nights of exhausting dance rehearsals, followed by four long dance recitals on that weekend...

My Sophia
wants to be Clara sooooo badly.

...then Nutcracker auditions and waiting anxiously for three days to see who got the part of Clara...(Sophia didn't)...last week I had an emotional meeting with a friend who I had not seen in 20 years...next, my computer broke and had to go to the shop for a week...$500!..and last Saturday a very dear friend passed away. She was 92 and like a grandma to me.

But today, my husband came home early from work to tell me...he was let go from his job. He has been the GM for a manufacturing company for six years, in which he had been an employee since 2000. The company was acquired by a larger company this year, and we had suspected this could happen; except he was assured by the new owner that he would still have a job and report to him on Day One. Well, Day One was Tuesday, and technically, my husband still had a job and did report to his new boss.

However, Wednesday was Day Two...

I am not panicking, yet. I know God knows everything before hand and is in control of all these events and particulars.

Interestingly, my husband and I have been discussing relocating to Texas because we are discontented with the direction of California. Basically, my husband and I agree we no longer feel safe to raise our children here. (Ironically, my parents moved my siblings and me to California, in 1982, because they no longer felt safe about raising us in Brooklyn! And now my husband and I want to leave California for the same reason.)

Well, it is only day one of this dilemma, and my husband and I will be doing a lot of praying and trusting God and figuring things out. Maybe this an opportunity for us to move our family to Texas. (Big Question Mark.) Just saying.


Here I attempt to write a book review of a simple book...

Laura hated farming "because a farm is such a hard place for a woman." Almanzo suggested that they give it a try for three years, and if it failed, he would "quit and do anything [she wanted him] to do."
I promise that at the end of three years we will quit farming if I have not made such a success that you are willing to keep on.
It was true, there were things Laura appreciated about farming: horses, freedom, and spacious prairies. There were other reasons, too, and hence, agreed to give it three years.

In the first year, a hailstorm destroyed their crops.

In the second year, they had Rose. A blessing.

In the third year, Almanzo and Laura got into the sheepherding business, which helped bring in income. But they also both became sick with diphtheria. Laura recovered, but Almanzo did not rest long enough to recuperate, and it caused a stroke. From then on he would need Laura's help hitching up the horses and doing other chores.

In the fourth year, the year of grace, they lost almost all of their ten acres of trees. They had to give up on the tree claim, which cost them more money if they wanted to keep the land. Laura also had a baby boy, but he only lived a few weeks. Finally, a fire destroyed their home, forcing them to move in with a neighbor, until Almanzo built them a new house.

Was farming a success?

That depended on how you looked at it. Year after year, they had suffered bad luck and faced numerous set backs, but anyone could have experienced a few years of unfortunate circumstances. At least they did well with livestock.
She was still a pioneer girl and she could understand Manly's love of the land through its appeal to herself. 
Oh well, Laura sighed, summing up her idea of the situation in a saying of her Ma's: We'll always be farmers, for what is bred in the bone will come out in the flesh. 


  1. This is such a hard book to read, but I do love it.

    Your daughter would be a lovely Clara! I hope you and your family can get things figured out. Unemployment is a tough road to walk. We had a really interesting time 2008-10, and there were many blessings, but it was no fun.

    1. Yes, it is difficult. But it is essential to understanding Laura.

      Thank you...maybe next year she will have one more shot at Clara, but she may be too old by then. We'll see. She's excited for her new roles as a tulip and Clara's friend.

      So, you've lived through the unemployment season? It will be interesting having my husband home all day.

    2. He probably won't be very happy about it, so it's not fun. I did think about Ma and Laura a lot!

    3. It's been one week, and it has been a rollercoaster of emotions already. So far we are doing ok, but I know we have not begun to really talk about what's going on inside. We're trying to hold it together. But it is also good that we have one another, so we are not going it alone. It has actually caused my husband to stop and give time to God, which he has neglected b/c of his job in the first place! Maybe God is trying to slow him down and get his attention. I hope it works.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that you've had such difficulties lately. Life can throw you curve balls that are really tough to hit back. Prayer does indeed help on so many levels. But so can grit and determination, as Almanzo and Laura show. I love this series. I need to read it again before too long!

    1. I have thought about all that Laura has gone through -- far more than I have! She's strong; Ma was strong, too. I can learn from them.

  3. Wow, what a talented family you have. And sounds like you may all be facing a lot a change and prayerful decisions. Maybe it's sort of fitting that you have On the Way Home ahead, about another big family relocation. But yes, it was very interesting how the Wilders decided there was more than one way to answer the question of whether or not those were successful years. I'll look forward to your updates ahead.

    1. True...I saw that immediately as I started to read On the Way Home. Wow! What a HUGE life change that took!! I cannot even imagine what it took. Then again, Laura was adventurous. Me, not so much.