In Laura Ingalls Wilder's book, "The First Four Years," she chronicles the first years of her marriage to Almanzo Wilder. Fans of the Little House books avidly follow Laura and Almanzo's ups and downs in this final installment of the series, from the romantic little house "Manly" built with his own hands on his tree claim, to the storms, illnesses and prairie fires the couple fight together.
One of the most evocative descriptions Laura writes in this book is her depiction of her brand new pantry. As a child, I was so captivated with this tiny, perfect room that I swore there was an illustration of it in the book, but returning to the pages as an adult, I was disappointed to find that I had only imagined it!
Laura honed her descriptive powers as a teenager, painting "word pictures," for her newly-blind sister Mary. Clearly, she had a gift! I returned to Laura's description of her pantry (on pages 12 & 13 of The First Four Years) for inspiration for my own pantry renovation, and realized that Laura's room is so carefully described that it could actually be recreated board for board and nail for nail.
First let's take a look at Laura's manuscript, then I'll share some gorgeous farmhouse pantries for inspiration.
FROM THE FIRST FOUR YEARS:
Just across the corner from the door into the shed was the pantry door. And such a pantry! Laura was so delighted with the pantry that she stood in the doorway for several minutes, admiring it. It was narrow of course, but long. Opposite her at the far end was a full sized window, and just outside the window stood a young cottonwood tree, its small green leaves fluttering in the morning wind.
Inside, before the window was a broad work shelf just the right height at which to stand. On the wall at the right, a strip of board ran the whole length and in it were driven nails on which to hang dishpans, dish towels, colanders another kitchen utensils.
But the wall to the left was all a beautiful cabinet. Manly had found a carpenter of the old days who though old and slow, did beautiful work, and the pantry had been his pride and a labor of love to Manly.
The wall was shelved the whole length. The top shelf was only a short space from the ceiling, and from it down, spaces between the shelves were wider until there was room for tall pitchers and other dishes to stand on the lower shelf. Beneath the lowest shelf was a row of drawers as well made and fitted as boughten furniture. There was a large wide drawer to hold a baking of bread. There was one drawer that already held a whole sack of white flour, a smaller one with graham flour, another with corn meal, a large shallow one for packages, and two others: one already filled with white sugar and the other one with brown. And one for Manly's wedding present of silver knives and forks and spoons. Laura was so proud of them! Underneath the drawers was an open space to the floor and here stood the stone cookie-jar, the doughnut jar, and the jar of lard. Here also stood the tall stone churn and the dasher. The churn looked rather large when the only cow giving milk was the small fawn-colored heifer Pa had given them for a wedding present, but there would be more cream later when Manly's cow should be fresh. In the center of the pantry floor, a trap door opened into the cellar.
by Sincerely Marie Designs
by My Chic Obsession
by Kara Layne
by Tyner Construction Co.
This is the pantry featured in the sketch at the beginning of this post.
What would you put in YOUR fantasy farmhouse pantry? Let me know in the comments!
This post was shared with the Homestead Blog Hop