Friday, February 8, 2013

Letter - Prospects look good for a bumper crop now

                                                                                                             Bemidji, Minn., July 9, 1934

Dear Father and Mother,
We are having another of our rains today. It has rained so much since the first of June that we can hardly find the ground dry enough to cultivate, or even play. It was dry enough this morning so that we tried to plant turnips, and cultivate some, but by two o’clock it was raining again.

     A week ago yesterday we had a hail storm in two installments. The first installment was mostly small hailstones, and it hailed till the ground was quite white, plugged holes through the melon and squash leaves, knocked some of the blossoms off the peas and beans, but did no very serious damage. An hour or so later I went down to the yard to take some oats to the horses which were in the pasture, and stopped to watch a funny looking cloud cavorting almost overhead, and wondering whether it would develop into a tornado or not, when I happened to look toward the lake and saw what appeared to be rocks falling into the lake so big that it made the water splash six to eight feet high, then I heard r-i-i-p, r-i-i-p, r-i-i-p, through poplar trees between me and the lake, and I set my bucket of oats down right there and hightailed it for the house? They were the biggest hail I ever saw, but so scattering that no damage was done here. The scattering big hail covered an area of several square miles, from reports, and a mile east some of the neighbors were watching the cloud, and it just seemed to empty itself all at once in a wall of big hail that came up within a few yards of their garden, and extended out into a swamp region where no one lives of two or three miles. If that avalanche of hail had struck any growing crops nothing would have been left.

    Corn, grain, and tame hay crops are the best they have been in years in this country. Our sweet corn is tasseling, potatoes almost big enough to use, we had green peas the 4th, and string beans the 5th, took a bushel of peas to town Saturday, had half a bushel for Sunday dinner, and expect to take two bushel to town Wednesday. We have had early turnips, bagas, radishes, onions, and lettuce for quite a while, and all kinds of greens, including mustard, turnip top, spinach, chard, and beets.

    A ground hog raided out cabbage patch and almost cleaned them out before I raided him with a shotgun.

    So far we have had a most enjoyable summer. No cutworms, no mosquitoes, no potato bugs, though flies are beginning to make their advent the last couple of days. We are living in a tropical forest of birch, poplar, elm, basswood, and balsam, on some of the best soil in the world, where I can sit in the front door and look out across the melon patch and the lake (about twenty rods from the house); and down from the back door, about twice as far, down a winding trail, is a gurgling brook, with sandy shallows for wading, and deeper pools for bathing, with a footbridge across it, to which people come and sit and swing their feet in the water. It is an ideal place for an outing and vacation. Wish the girls could come up and spend their vacation here, and bring you along. It would be easier to make the trip than to endure that blistering heat, wouldn’t it? Bring your woolen underwear along.

    Coming across the footbridge one evening at dusk I saw a husky fish of some sort dash out from under it and head up stream, thought it must be either a big pike or sucker. I set down my forkful of hay, got the spear which was nearby, and by a lucky throw I put three times through his head, when I discovered that I had captured a three and a half pound black bass. It made enough for breakfast for the family. Biggest bass I ever saw. Don’t know how it happened to be in the creek, unless it was to give us something delicious for breakfast.

    We have more than two acres of potatoes on peat land, the land that is claimed to produce from four to eight hundred bushels to the acre. It is an experiment with us, but the prospects certainly look good for a bumper crop now, so we are hoping this will be one winter we won’t have to go without spuds enough to eat all we want. With a good meat, potatoes, and been crop, maybe we can get along.

    Well if Leon goes haying now for a couple of weeks or more he won’t get any time to finish this so I might as well send this on. Some of the girls plan to go and cook for the haymakers so they’ll have sort of an outing as its real near the big lake. There is a house for them to camp in with a cook stove.

     We have hardly seen anybody of the relation around here this spring so we don’t really know whether they are all right or no.

     Phyllis and babies were up to our place Sunday and Monday. They were well. It was the first time they had been up here since we moved up here this spring. Her kids even to the baby surely enjoyed it though, when they went in bathing.

    Well I’m getting so sleepy I can hardly keep my eyes open or hold the pen to write. I’m in the habit of taking an afternoon nap and that spoils me.

We were glad to hear from you so please write whenever you can,
With love to all-Alice

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