Oscar’s Gift Reading Guide: Day 7
Soddies: Homes Built from the Ground Up
“‘Buffalo grass is good for two things: buffalo and houses,’ Mr. Squirrel Coat said. Buffalo grass grew everywhere on our claim. It was low and thick and curly. Its roots reached deep into the soil for moisture and did not let go.” ~ Oscar’s Gift: Planting Words with Oscar Micheaux
In chapter four of Oscar’s Gift, Tomas and Mr. Squirrel Coat build a “soddy,” or sod house: a home made of strips of sod (a thick layer of ground that includes the grass growing on it). Because there was little wood or stone available on much of the Great Plains prairie, sod buildings–houses, barns, schools, even post offices–were common. About an acre of land was needed for a sod home.
Which of the following photos of soddies do you think most resembles the one the Tomas helped to make? (Click on photos for larger images.)
Learn more about sod houses:
- “There Are No Renters Here”: Homesteading in a Sod House (Women of the West Museum)
- NebraskaStudies.org: Searching for Shelter – Living in a Sod House
- Library of Congress: Use the search bar to find photos of “sod buildings”
Click HERE for the full Reading Guide.