Mushrooms on the ceiling; a bear pawing his way through a trapdoor; a foundation crumbling under a cascade of water; innumerable stove and chimney flame-festivals; a serious car accident; a day when there was literally nothing in the house to eat and always a dearth of money--are calamities faced with considerable elan by the Hoovers in their north Minnesota cabin in the woods. Mrs. Hoover has written before of symbiotic living in this chilly but lovely area with its many animals (her last, Gift of the Deer, appeared in 1967), but this is, specifically, the story of the very contemporary, middle-aged city couple and their struggle to cope. Cope they do, with courage and remarkable good humor, learning the way to independence and the security of knowing one can deal with insecurity. Again there are portraits of engaging animals--from a household mother mouse to a weasel but this tale of heavy weather and stout hearts belongs to the Hoovers. A pleasant, never frivolous, absorbing account which seems to indicate that life can begin in the forties--at least in the Minnesota woods.