A Homesteading Adventure

I've grown up hearing tales of the many hardships my ancestors faced. My grandparents homesteaded 160 acres of land in Arkansas. I don't know if they had any concept of how difficult it would be to move their family into an uninhabited place, build a house, and clear the land. What I do know is that my grandparents were not afraid of hard work, and they were not quitters. My mother was a child during the homesteading years, so she shared a first hand account of much the family endured during that time period.

Because of the homesteading history in my own family, I was intrigued by Coffee-Drunk or Blind. This book by Elle Knowles is the story of her family's adventure in homesteading. During the late 1950's, the Knowles family set off from Louisiana to Alaska. Vernon and Helen Knowles had four small children when they left Louisiana and added a fifth while living on the homestead. Much of the book is comprised of letters written to and from family back home.

This nonfiction book is rich in history of the time period. I don't know how Helen Knowles managed not only to survive living in the wilderness under primitive conditions, but to make a happy home for her young children. Read the book for yourself and see if you can imagine how your family would react to some of the trials faced by the Knowles family.

My favorite tidbit gleaned from the book -- Helen Knowles imparted a love of reading to her children by reading aloud to them every day.

Find out more about Elle Knowles and her books here.


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