Carrie Daddow (7) is truly a youngster compared to the northern California town where she lives with her sister, Rebecca (10), her mother, Jean, and her grandparents. The town of Douglas Flat lies east of San Francisco in a mountainous area that was settled during the California Gold Rush. The cottage that Carrie lives in once housed hopeful miners in the 1850s and 1860s. It is surrounded by an old barn, a larger homestead where her grandparents live, a one-room schoolhouse that is still in use today, and an old bank, where miners used to deposit their gold.
The miners loved the wilderness here because of its gold, but Carrie loves her home because of its natural surroundings. She loves to camp in the mountains, climb the trees that cover the hills, and wade in the cool streams.
One of her favorite things to do is to go adventuring. She often hikes through the woods with Rebecca or her mom, exploring and searching for new animals, rocks, or plants. “We’ve seen skunks, raccoons, snakes, deer, opossums, and coyotes.” Sometimes she brings home rocks for her collection. One time she found a large rock and asked her grandfather to cut it open. Inside was a beautiful crystal.
When she isn’t adventuring, she likes to sing, ride her bike, and do crafts. She makes potholders and beaded ornaments and often gives them to others. Carrie also does skits with Rebecca, which they perform for their mom and grandparents.
Carrie’s theatrical imagination helps her enjoy the historical setting she lives in. She likes to pretend that she is one of the Miwok, a tribe of Native Americans who once lived around Douglas Flat. The Miwoks used to grind acorns for food on big flat rocks. Carrie enjoys visiting the grinding rocks. She sits on the flat rock and pounds a small round stone into one of the several hollows formed by the Miwoks from years of grinding.
Like the Miwoks, she knows how to work hard. She lives not only with her family but also with several animals: two sheep, eleven chickens, some goldfish, and a few cats. It’s often her responsibility to take care of them. Sometimes she gathers the eggs the hens lay. “Our hens are proud of themselves, even though they don’t know much,” she says. She also feeds the sheep and fish.
There’s a lot to do, but Carrie doesn’t mind chores. Inside the house, she mops, vacuums, and washes dishes. But she likes being outside the best. She often weeds the gardens and cleans up the yard. In winter, she brings in wood from the barn. “I’m an outdoors kid,” she says.
Being outdoors reminds her that she has a responsibility to the earth. “We should keep it clean and pick up garbage. I’ve seen a lot of garbage on the earth.” She is particularly concerned about forest fires that often burn in the hot summer months. “I think it’s sad because the trees go away and the plants and animals too.” She is also worried about the rain forests, which are being cut down. “There are animals there that can’t live anywhere else.” When she grows up, she wants to be a scientist and a firefighter.
Carrie also likes being outdoors because it seems as if Heavenly Father is nearer to her there. The beauty of the world reminds her that Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ love her. The animals also help her to remember Jesus. “When I see the sheep, I remember that Jesus is the Shepherd and that we are His lambs. He suffered for our sins and died on the cross for us so we can live with Him and Heavenly Father again.”
She and her family are reading the Book of Mormon. She likes to tell people what she has learned. On Fast Sunday she often shares her testimony with the Murphys Branch congregation (Lodi California Stake). Someday Carrie wants to go on a mission and share her testimony of the gospel with the people where she will serve. “I know Heavenly Father is with me,” she says. “I feel happy inside. I like being happy.”