Laura does a great job of describing prairie life, but sometimes it can be a little confusing
because we aren’t familiar with the terms and the tools.
I can clean an oven, but I’ve never had to clean a gun.
“After the bullets were made, pa would take his gun down from the wall and clean it. Out in the snowy woods all day, it might have gathered a little dampness, and inside of the barrel was sure to be dirty from powder smoke.
So Pa would take the ramrod from its place under the gun barrel, and fastened a piece of clean cloth on its end. He stood the butt of the gun in a pan on the hearth and poured boiling water from the tea kettle into the gun barrel. Then quickly he dropped the ramrod in and rubbed it up and down, up and down, while the hot water blackened with powder smoke spurted out through the little hole on which the cap was placed when the gun was loaded.
Pa kept pouring in more water and washing the gun barrel with the cloth on the ramrod until the water ran out clear. Then the gun was clean. The water must always be boiling, so that the heated steel would dry instantly.”
(Little House in the Big Woods, p. 46-47)
I could tell Rebekah was a little confused about the process.
I started by copying off the beautiful Garth Williams illustration on p. 50.
She labeled each item on the picture while I read the text aloud.
Of course, we turned to the internet and found an amazing site,
Today’s Muzzleloader Hunter in Alaska.
You will find everything you need to know about hunter’s safety,
muzzleloader history, shooting skills and field dressing.
There’s even a test,
’cuz I know all you homeschooling mommies LOVE to give tests!
Since Pa always had to shoot all his game with one shot,
you’ll like the diagram that shows the vital organs and explains
how to keep your hunting ethical with a clean kill.
It could save a life, too, like yours.
It made it so much easier to understand by having the parts labeled.
I was given gracious permission by Mary Winkler
of Kalkomey Enterprises, Inc. to use their graphics.
Please do not redistribute without asking her permission.
Even if we don’t have to clean guns in our homes,
the emphasis on caring for tools is a great example.
Pa was disciplined and diligent in his care for his
belongings and his family.
And now, thanks to Laura and my resources,
I can clean a muzzleloader,
as well as an oven.