I am fortunate enough to live in a family that has kept a lot of old family memorabilia. There are times when it’s over whelming and you wonder what to do with it all. And to be honest some of it is just junk. But my dad made an interesting discovery a couple of weeks ago. It is a journal that his grandmother, known as Mom Hill to the family, kept during 1924 and parts of 1925 and 1926. In 1924 she was married to her first husband Victor and had four little boys Ralph, Donald, Louis (my grandpa) and Eugene.
Hubby and I just got done watching Ken Burns’ Dust Bowl on Oregon Public Broadcasting. I knew that my grandpa came from Kansas to Oregon (via Idaho) in a wagon at the age of three in 1921. I had always assumed that they came as part of the great migration as a result of the Dust Bowl – the dates don’t quite follow that train of thought. So we’re not really sure why the family came, but one thing Mom Hill mentions is that her sister sold the place in Kansas, and there was no hope of going back (obviously she had harbored that very hope for three years). Seeing what the poor souls on the plains endured I think they were fortunate to sell when they did.
As I read through her year starting in August I marvel at the stamina of this woman to spend the day picking and canning fruit and vegetables, feed her family and then help her husband plow and sack potatoes, cut firewood or slash and burn brush piles in the evening.
By the end of the fall I am plum tuckered out by the canning, preserving and freezing of bounty for the winter. But this woman puts me to shame. The last page of the journal lists her canning for the year. I’ve copied it below. May we all be so industrious.
Fruit and Vegetables canned in 1924
27 qts prunes 40 qts butter
32 qts peaches 08 peach
42 qts pears 12 pear
6 ½ qts strawberries 11 blackberries
32 qts blackberries 05 plum
04 qts pickles 07 apple
08 qts corn
49 qts tomatoes
70 qts vegetable in all 17 ½ qts jell
5 qts piccili 6 qts apple
6 qts pumpkin 4 ½ qts plum
6 qts apples 1 qt strawberrie preserves
6 qts blackberries
3 qts apple jelly
Fruit [and] vegetables canned in 1925
19 qts peaches 14 qts beef
50 qts blackberries 3 qts pears
35 qts pears 3 qts strawberries
12 qts plums
24 qts beans
16 qts corn
4 qts beets
40 qts tomatoes