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By Robert McCarter, Frank Lloyd Wright

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Cellars were dug close by the house with a shovel and, like the house, covered over with a structure that would support a thick layer of sod. These underground storehouses were necessary for survival. They were used to store potatoes, carrots, turnips, and other root crops for winter use. Settlers had to raise and then dry or preserve most all the food they would eat during the winter. Items like green beans, tomatoes, corn, garden relish, and even chickens were cut up, cleaned, and preserved in mason jars.

The average precipitation, including snow, runs around 18 in. a year or so—not a lot, unless you have a roof that leaks. Every time it rained or the days warmed enough to melt the snow on the roof, my mother’s job was to rescue their sleeping mats, bedding, pillows, and clothes and move everything to a dry spot. In those days, there were no plastic tarps available to cover everything. Rain would wash the dirt out of the roof sod and drip mud on everything on the inside. Storms in the western part of the state can arise suddenly and come at you with a fury that is awesome and fearful.

All species are sacred 39 in the sense that they are whole and enrich our lives. Do we enrich their lives or are we their enemy? Without them we are surely less than what we are. The loss of any bird, animal, or plant leaves a hole in our spirits and sadness in our hearts. We truly have lost a brother or a sister when any living thing becomes extinct, provable only to those with an open heart. THE SA NDHILL HOUSES were actually made from hay, not straw. Straw is the stalk part left over after harvesting the seeds from plants like wheat or rye.

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