Like most North Country settlements, Malone is a sweet, small town. It's about 40 minutes past Potsdam. Potsdam is where my heroine for Winter's End lived. There's a sweet hospital there that took great care of my son Seth when he got sick his freshman year in college, and I used that hospital setting for Kayla's background. It's not easy to get people to stay in the North Country. Winters are long, cold and windswept. Hockey is a favorite among many people. A very mixed demographic from well-to-do college professors to people struggling to put shoes on their feet makes for a great setting.
I fell in love with the North Country when I took Seth there to visit St. Lawrence University in Canton. Canton is where Rita ended up placing her "Main Street Bakery" in "Made to Order Family". And Sarah Slocum, the heroine from "Waiting Out the Storm" had a sheep farm on a side road between Canton and Potsdam.
|That's a Maremma puppy. Maremma's are great sheep guard dogs. Their pale color lets them blend into the flock. Pretty cool, right?|
I love that these books are still available for sale HERE!
It's stark land in many cases. Above Lake Ontario, bordering Canada and with the Adirondack mountains flanking its eastern edge, it's a rugged place to live. Almanzo and his brother left there to try to find more hospitable farmland out west. He ended up in the Ozarks eventually, but he'd lived a very old-fashioned country farm life while on the outskirts of Malone.
You can read all about it in "Farmer Boy" available in most book stores and (of course!) on Amazon.com.
From gathering butternuts to planting corn, to finding berries, to mending harness, I loved everything I learned by reading this book! Unlike the struggling Ingalls family, the Wilders had an established farm, equipment, food, a larder, a system not only for survival but to prosper. And that was on somewhat unhospitable land.
Almanzo loved food, and he loved pancakes. I've put the recipe for Buckwheat Pancakes here:
1 cup buckwheat flour
I cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 eggs, separated
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups buttermilk
Oil or butter to grease griddle
Measuring cup and spoons
Large fork or eggbeater
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix the egg yolks, oil, and buttermilk in a separate bowl. Pour the egg-yolk mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until thoroughly mixed. Set aside. Beat the egg whites in a third bowl until they are fluffy and form soft peaks. Stir half the egg whites into the pancake batter, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites until just blended.
Lightly grease the hot griddle with a little oil or butter. Spoon batter onto the griddle into 5" rounds. When the pancakes begin to bubble and brown around the edges, turn them over and cook the other side for about a minute.
Don't forget to make a "blanket cake," an extra-large pancake used to cover the pancakes and keep them warm after they're cooked.
Recipe taken from The Little House Treasury by Carolyn Strom Collins and Christina Wyss Erikson.
Now, would Laura have used vegetable oil??? No. And her recipe might be quite different from this one, but I love buckwheat pancakes, so this one is worth a try, right? And in all honesty, modern ingredients often produce a better outcome, so I'm okay if these aren't totally authentic, as long as they taste good! According to Laura in The Long Winter, Almanzo liked his pancakes light and fluffy with plenty of molasses...
I agree on the first, but the second? New York dark amber Maple syrup, all the way!
Hey, coffee's hot. Missy's got her hair in a bun and she's pretending to be Caroline Ingalls. Doesn't she look SWEET????