Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday Roundup

Friday night I looked through my bookshelves for a quick, light book to read and I came across "On the Way Home" by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Fans of the Little House books may not know that the story goes on after "The First Four Years." When Laura and Almanzo couldn’t make it in South Dakota, they traveled by covered wagon to Missouri where they were finally successful. "On the Way Home" is a combination of Laura’s diary of the trip to Missouri and her daughter Rose Wilder Lane’s remembrances.

It was a hard time. Some were emigrants from the Dakotas to Missouri while others emigrated from Missouri to the Dakotas. They traveled back and forth hoping to find a place where the economy was better and the crops weren't failing. There were seven years of drought. I found Rose’s comments fascinating in light of the events of this past week. She writes as an adult, but her memories are from when she was seven. Maybe someone who knows the history better than I can comment. Rose writes:

In the seventh year a mysterious catastrophe was worldwide. All banks failed. From coast to coast the factories shut down and business ceased. This was a Panic.

It was not a depression. The year was 1893 when no one had heard of depressions. Everyone knew about Panics; there had been Panics in 1797, 1820, 1835, 1857, 1873. A Panic was nothing new to Grandpa (Pa Ingalls), he had seen them before; this one was no worse than usual, he said, and nothing like as bad as the wartime. ("On the Way Home" pp.1-2)

I know nothing about economics, but it made me wonder... here in the Pacific Northwest we’ve learned some things about fire management. Low level fires are actually supposed to burn every so often to clear the forest. If we suppress them, fuel piles up and sets the stage for a monster fire to devour the forest. Could it be that we’ve been suppressing a natural cycle of "Panics," setting the stage for a monster? Or am I out to lunch here?

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been reading. Is anyone else reading something you find fascinating? Enlightening? Useful? Just plain awful? Please leave a comment and share!


Joyce said...

Donna, there was another panic in 1907 as well. Then, when there was one during FDR's tenure, the government tried to put some things in place to prevent it from happening again, like FDIC insurance for account holders. Maybe you are on to something. I just talked this week with a good friend who is a bank president. She said the banks here are quite solid, because they were conservative about making loans all along. We also have very little volitility in our housing market here. Houses are selling somewhat slowly right now, but there is no foreclosure epidemic. Maybe what's happening right now is a natural culling of banks with poor busness practices. But what do I know? I'm a musician!

Anonymous said...

I am rereading "How to have a green thumb without an aching back" by Ruth Stout. It was originally published in the 1950s. I love this type of old gardening book, packed with useful information and very amusing. There is some talk about spraying with chemicals but it's mainly about her mulch method of gardening and life on her 55 acre Conn. farm which she and her husband bought in 1929. Her main garden advisors were her brother Rex and Scott Nearing.

She writes, "Gardening is like cooking: read the recipe and then use your head. A dash of skepticism can do no harm. Go lightly on caution, heavily on adventure, and see what comes out. If you make a mistake, what of it? That is one way to learn and tomorrow is another day."

If you haven't already read her book I highly recommend it.


Donna said...

joyce: Interesting about 1907! We're in pretty good shape here, too. The housing market was never as red-hot as some places and so it has not cooled down as much, either. Also, there are almost more credit unions than banks and the credit unions are small enough that they didn't make a lot of risky loans.

diana: That sounds like a gardening book I should look into! I love the quote. Maybe I should think of gardening more like cooking and then I might be more successful. :)

Green Bean said...

I finished Depletion and Abundance and am headed toward Van Jones Green Collar Jobs. Maybe a detour for some non-green reading along the way.

Donna said...

gb: They both sound good! I've added them to the reading list. If you don't like the category I put them in, please move them. I had to guess since I've not read either one.

Maya said...

wow! A LIW book I've not read or even heard of! You've made me so happy.

Donna said...

maya: Glad to have made your day!