Farmer Boy is based on the childhood of Laura's husband, Almanzo Wilder, who grew up in the 1860's near the town of Burke in upstate New York. The book covers one year in Almanzo's life, beginning just before his ninth birthday, and describes in detail the endless chores involved in running the Wilder family farm. Young as he is, Almanzo rises before five a.m. every day to milk several cows and feed stock. In the growing season, he plants and tends crops; in winter, he hauls logs, helps fill the ice house, trains a team of young oxen, and sometimes – when his father can spare him – goes to school. The novel includes stories of Almanzo's brother Royal and his sisters Eliza Jane and Alice.

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