Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Louisa May Alcott Winter

Library of Congress:  Orchard House, 1910 - Home of Louisa May Alcott.

Here in rural Vermont, the bitterly cold winters remind me of life in Concord Massachusetts as described by 1800's author, Louisa May Alcott in her beloved book, "Little Women."

To cheer myself up during these long winter days, I like to read literature from an earlier era to see how others have lived while often snowed - in or kept indoors because of the cold New England days.

I have often read "The Long Winter" and other Laura Ingalls Wilder books. But this winter, I am focusing on the sweet stories of Miss Alcott.  Last year I read "An Old Fashioned Girl."  I enjoyed hearing how visits were made on Winter afternoons and the guests would sit by the fire in a lovely home.

I just watched the movie "Little Women" which showed a beautiful house in Concord.  The interior was humble and lovely.  There are fireplaces in most of the rooms.  Pretty wallpaper makes the home look cozy and sweet.  The girls wear pretty coats and shawls.  They make an old fashioned home, especially in winter, look inviting and peaceful.

Our Estate here consists of several rooms.  Many of them are large and a bit chilly.  Some are too cold to spend much time in, so we close them off and try to avoid them until spring.  Our wood pellet stove in the upstairs parlour makes the home so pleasant and warm.  We also have other sources of heat, such as electric and kerosene, along with a wood stove on the main floor.  I have often thought of this house as a humble, Jane Austen, English estate.  This winter I shall think of it as a dignified home similar to Orchard House owned by the Alcott family.   One must find a way to cheer along dreary days with happy thoughts!

I very much enjoy reading about how New England families, in the 1800's, passed the time at home during the winter.   We have our Bible time each evening.  We also enjoy table games, singing, and do a lot of reading.

I have been baking a great deal the last couple of weeks.  This helps warm up some of the rooms and provides treats for the family to enjoy.

I will be doing a lot of mending, sewing, and writing during this cold season.  Our most difficult months are January and February. These are bitterly cold and can be depressing at times.  I will focus on the happy stories of Miss Alcott and enjoy our home as if it were a dear old home in Concord Massachusetts.

Mrs. White

From the Archives -

A Happy Marriage - Serving Mister.

A Lovely Occupation - Happy Home Keeper.

Old Fashioned Thrift  - Living Without Credit Cards.

Find Home-keeping Inspiration, in Mrs.White's book -Mother's Book of Home Economics .  Paperback, 312 pages.

 - To find out more about this blog, or Mrs. White, please visit our About page. -


Dawn said...

Happy New Year to you and your family, Mrs. White. May 2018 be a happy, healthy, and prosperous year for all.

Reading about the winters of the Little House books fascinated me as a child and made me very thankful to be living in modern times with oil heat and electricity.

Deanna said...

Blessings to you this cold New Year's Eve. I just watched Little Women over the holidays. Around Christmas each year I try to watch the movie. Enjoy the story so mush as well as their costumes and interiors of the houses. It is a pleasant place to be.

God bless and may 2018 be a great year,

Mrs. Laura Lane said...

You've made a good plan, Mrs. White. It's going to be near zero here tonight and for the next couple of days. Still, we are going to visit my father for a late Christmas time. I love beginning the new year with Christmas and ending the old year with Christmas.

May God bless you and keep you.
Laura Lane
Carthage, Missouri

Anonymous said...

Dear Mrs. White,

I will think of you this winter. Although our winters here on the West coast of Canada aren't ( usually) cold at all, they are very, very grey and rainy. I too like to read, craft and bake away the days until spring.

May God bless you and keep your sprirt cheerful,


Sue said...

Happy New Year to you and your loved ones, Mrs. White! Thank you for another year of gentle but persuasive inspiration.

Reading "The Long Winter" by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a good book to remind me to be grateful for heat and electricity and 5-minute drives to the grocery store. Sheer strength of will, ingenuity, and belief in God is what got the Ingalls family through that horrible winter of 1980-81.

Deborah Montgomery said...

I loved all the books LM Alcott wrote and read them over and over as a child. My grandmother worked as a tour guide at the Orchard House after her daughters were grown. She took us there several times when I was a child. I have lots of plans for staying cozy and indoors this winter too. The cold and lack of sunshine can be difficult at times, I agree, but it's nice to have encouraging examples of cheerfulness and cozy homes. Happy New Year to you. xo Deborah

Rhonda said...

Hello Mrs, White
This a very cold time for sure.
I always enjoy your posts.

Lori said...

I very much enjoyed this post. I loved Alcott when I was younger and still reread her quite often. But I ALWAYS read Little Women at some point each winter when I was a girl. When I was growing up we had a wood stove that heated the whole house (our house was a small, two-bedroom house). And I still say that nothing warms you up better or more thoroughly than a wood-stove fire. And now I think I'm going to have to break out some Louisa May Alcott....

Debby in Kansas said...

The Long Winter might be my favorite of the series. Growing up in Southern California, I just couldn't imagine cold like that!

We have a south facing bay window in our home. In summer, it's far too warm to sit in there. But, in winter? With the sun shining, there's no better place to be! I spend lots of time in there working on one thing or another. With the good light and the sun warming my bones, I almost forget it's freezing outside!

This winter I have plans to finish building a dollhouse for a charity auction and I want to learn how to handweave a rug.

Happy New Year, Mrs. White! Stay warm~

Suzanne said...

Greetings Sharon and a very blessed New Year to you! I am always happy to see a post pop up in my feed from you. I used to live closer to Orchard House, so visited often for their events. My daughter's friend has been working there for quite a few years and always gives me advance notice of upcoming events, which is o nice:-) Did you know PBS will be showing a "new" Little Women soon. They did some filming in Concord for it. Terribly cold here in western MA-we are expecting quite a storm shortly. I am all prepared for it, with extra water and my husband will be home , which is a blesssing as he keeps the woodstove stoked better than I. I closed down my blog Blueberry Cottage last year. I do have a new blog called Prudently at Home , but have not posted yet. I have a FB page and Instagram for it too, but haven't felt much of a push to write. I find once I am on the computer it just sucks me in and so much time is wasted. I do like Instagram as it is a place to make a short post and that is what life might allow at the current time. Praying you are well and that the cold spell and snow isn't too distressing for you all.

Lana said...

The house has a Facebook page-Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House. They have been posting excepts for Louisa's journal and other lovely posts. We visited there about 5 years ago when we went to visit our son who was stationed outside of Boston with the Air Force. That day will always be a very fond memory in my heart. The house is really not large and is quite simple but there are many family items there and Louisa's tiny desk in her room which looks out the window on the front of the house. One of the bedrooms has many small paintings on the walls done by the artistic daughter. On Mother's side of the bed she has the daily chore list posted on the wall above her bed stand. Once Louisa had money coming in from her writing she made improvements to the house such as a kitchen sink. Work is being done on a documentary on the house and will be aired on PBS but I do recall when. It may be in 2019.

Mrs.O said...

Happy New Year Mrs. White! Happy to read your post today!
My favorite is Old Fashioned Girl..I JUST LOVE IT!!
We have both Little Women movies (book too!) The older one with Elizabeth Taylor( I found this at a Goodwill) and the newer with Winona Ryder. They both have their charms!
I wonder which one you and your readers are referring!
We have had very cold weather here in Ohio, as well. I am having to reflect on past books and movies to be encouraged through this time of year too.
Right now I am reading Connie Hultquist,"Dear Kitchen Saints". I have had this on my wish list and have finally been able to get it. I am savoring every chapter so it lasts...
God bless and stay warm!!

Sharon O said...

I, too, have picked up my reading this winter. I have been reading The American Woman's Home by Catherine Beecher and Harriet Beecher Stowe. It was published in the 1860's. :) Have a happy winter!

living from glory to glory said...

I think of you often and I agree we must work extra hard to keep the chill and gloom away during these long winter months! Just reading what you wrote warmed my heart!