I live on a farm.
Have I ever mentioned that before? I do. We have a milk cow, a bull, a rabbit, too many chickens, and ducks.
I love ducks. They quack.
I love everything about living on a farm. Baby animals, fresh milk and eggs, strawberries from our garden. I grew up bottle feeding baby goats (at two AM), hand-raising Shetland Sheepdog puppies, cuddling kittens, and, yes, butchering hogs. I have been spat on by llamas, butted (and knocked off my feet) by goats, and bitten by calves.
You didn’t know calves bite? They bite.
I am a farm kid through and through, which is one reason why Charlotte’s Web is so very dear to my heart. The farm where Wilber lives is just the sort I have always dreamed of having, with fields, an orchard, sheep, horses, and a rope swing in the barn. We had a rope swing once, but it’s gone now. We don’t really have room to swing in the barn anymore anyway.
It’s full of hay.
I love it.
Despite the beautiful farmyard, a pen all to himself, and a slop bucket that’s always full, life is far from perfect for poor Wilber. Because poor Wilber is a pig, and on a working farm, pigs are kept for—well . . .
Wilber is quick to despair of his lot in life, but his nearest and dearest friend, a spider named Charlotte, is determined that Wilber will live as more than a walking ham. She weaves a web above his pen, a very special web with words woven right into the center of it. Some Pig. As time goes by, more words appear in the webs above Wilber’s pen, and because people do not tend to notice a little spider hiding in the corner of a barn, Wilber is given the credit. He becomes something of a celebrity on the farm, then in the county, then in the state, and to top it off, he is brought to the state fair to display his amazing powers.
Charlotte, despite problems of her own, agrees to accompany him. Their simple friendship is the very center of this book, a lovely, charming example of the loving support a friend can be. Charlotte’s web has always been one of my favorite stories, and I can say without a doubt it will be one of the first chapter books I hand to my children.
When I eventually get some.
Until then, I’ll just read it to myself.
On foggy mornings, Charlotte’s web was truly a thing of beauty. This morning each thin strand was decorated with dozens of tiny beads of water. The web glistened in the light and made a pattern of loveliness and mystery, like a delicate veil.