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Christmas In Dairyland by LeAnn R. Ralph

Christmas In Dairyland

by LeAnn R. Ralph

153 pages
A collection of true stories appropriate for all ages.

Paperback $13.95   + $5.95 shipping & handling (USA)
(add $2.00 S&H per additional copy)
Category: Autobiography
About the Book

When LeAnn R. Ralph was growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin forty years ago, she didn't now she was making history. Or rather, she didn't know that the small family dairy farm homesteaded by her Norwegian great-grandfather in the late 1800s was making history. And why would she? Forty years ago, small family dairy farms were as plentiful as the bales of hay which came out of her father's alfalfa fields.

Today, small family dairy farms have all but vanished. Wisconsin is still known as America's Dairyland, but most of the farms that remain milk hundreds of dairy cows - and sometimes a thousand or more - instead of only twenty or thirty.

Join LeAnn and her mother, Norma (stricken with polio at the age of twenty-six and paralyzed in both legs), her father, Roy (never too busy to cut a Christmas tree), her brother, Ingman (named for their Norwegian grandmother, Inga), and her sister, Loretta (always full of surprises), as they celebrate the Christmas season during a simpler time when happiness was baking cookies, decorating the Christmas tree, or even just getting out of wearing snow boots to school.

Story titles include "The Lefse Connection," "Milkweed Pods and Poinsettias," "Wintergreen," "The Christmas Dress," "White Christmas," "Good Things Come in Small Packages," "Jeg Er Sa Glad Hver Julekveld" ("I Am So Glad Each Christmas Eve"), "A Miracle of Sorts," "A Candle for Christmas," and "A New Year Unlike Any Other." The book also includes recipes for family favorites such as lefse, julekake, Christmas bread, fattigman ('futty-mun' which means "poor man's cookies" or "poor man's donuts"), filled cookies and sugar cookies, as well as instructions for making candles out of old crayons.

 

Reviews
Your book is a book of history. You weave in stories about farming and polio and Norwegian cooking and other tidbits of the time ... you've done a nice job of capturing some of the day-to-day things that have changed in farming life. Your stories also take me back to feelings that I recall as a child ... those feelings of youthful exuberance and pangs of guilt and other family interactions (written in) such wonderful detail.
- Katherine Stahl (Host of Spectrum West) Wisconsin Public Radio
I started reading your book right away and it was hard to put down from cover to cover. There's soooo many things that reminded me of my childhood when I was growing up on a cotton farm down here in Texas where my dad was a share cropper.
- A reader from Texas
You brought me back to a time of udder(LOL) enjoyment. To a time I still long for but will never see again. The valley was full of farms and everyone would see each other at the creamery where Dad and I would drop our milk cans off. Then it was off to 'The New's Room' or 'Emily's' for ice cream or hot chocolate. I love farming just as you describe it. Thank you for taking me back to yesteryear.
- A reader from New York State
I am enjoying your book. It brings back memories when I was a girl at home and my mom was making lefse. At that time, it was baked on top of the wood range in the kitchen ... I hope the people that read your book and didn't grow up on a farm can get a glimpse of how wonderful a life it was growing up with a warm, loving family. For the ones that did grow up on a farm, it will bring back a lot of memories.
- A reader from Wisconsin
Just a note to let you know how much we enjoyed your book. It was heartwarming to read it during the actual Christmas season. The mention of date-filled cookies made my husband want me to make some this year. His mother use to send us some when she was alive. So I used your recipe. They were delicious. Thanks for the memories.
- A reader from Washington State
Even though Wisconsin is still known as America's Dairyland, life on a family homestead is fast being replaced by corporate agribusiness, and the memories treasured in Christmas In Dairyland are quickly becoming unique milestones of an era needing to be preserved in thought and print for the sake of future generations. Christmas In Dairyland is simply wonderful reading and is a "must" for all Wisconsin public library collections.
- Midwest Book Review

 

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About the Author
LeAnn R. Ralph earned a bachelor's and a master's degree in English from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has taught English at a boys' boarding school and also has worked as a newspaper reporter. She is the editor of the Wisconsin Regional Writers' Assoc. quarterly publication, The Wisconsin Regional Writer.

 

 

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