Two diaries, 150 years apart…

April in 1873 began with so much snow that the oxen couldn’t break a road to the sugarbush. It was a month of sugaring and the family enjoyed having maple syrup at the table. Measles continued to strike the family and neighbors stepped in to help gather sap. The final sap to be gathered was on April 25th.

April in 2023 was bursting with signs of spring!  Birds, flowers, peepers, and bats all made their presence known. A 3-day run of over 80F weather was something to note.

Ebenezer Brown, 1873

1 Ther 44

A fine Pleasant day. The snow is settling fast. Charles attempted to break a road through snow to the sugar trees at upper part of the lot but the snow is yet too deep for the oxen to wallow through and the drifts of snow are too deep to shovel.

3 Warm & Cloudy

Charles carried the sap tubs up into the lot but did not tap as the weather is yet unfavorable

Lister John W. Armstrong called and took my list of taxable personal property

  • 1 yoke of oxen
  • 3 cows
  • 2 2 year olds (heifers)
  • 3 horses (black horse red horse & 3 year old mare)
  • 2 hogs

8 Warm and rainy. Boiled about 4 barrels sap the first of boiling this season.

9 Cloudy with south wind all day and the snow is wasting fast.

Had new maple syrup on the table today. Charles is quite low I fear the measles are running hard with him.

16 A fine pleasant day…Charles is out of doors a little today. I am unwell.

17 Warm and cloudy not much sap

G.M.S. man came down this morning and helped Charles gather the sap–Charles is out some today helping about the sap.

Sugaring in Norwich, ca. 1915

18 Another cloudy misty day. warm and the snow much of it gone

Charles not as well today. I have boiled down the sap one barrel.

21 A fine April day the snow almost gone about here.

Rome is at home sick. Charles has made an ox yoke today & gathered sap.

22 A fine cool pleasant day

Blacksmithing. Charles went to the Plain this am got the Red Horse shod all round at T Cushmans shop and paid the cash for it.

Charles paid at Knapps gristmill for 60 lbs cornmeal at $1.90 per hundred & he paid at Olds store for ½ lb tea & 1lb Saleratus

Olds Store, corner of Main Street and Beaver Meadow Road

24 Cold morning. Sunshine a.m. and cloudy pm. I am unwell and am in the house most of the day. C. went to the P.O. this evening

The sugar season appears to be gone pretty much–

25 Cool & cloudy…I am unwell took medicine and am in the house.

Charles has brot in the sap tubs first gathered about 2 barrels sap.

26 Cool and pleasant a.m. and little showers of rain p.m.

Charles worked at G.M. Slacks making cheese room. I am unwell but out and at work some. Rome has had the turning point with the measles and is more comfortable today.

28 A fine Pleasant warm day

Alan Berolzheimer, 2023

1 Raining and 35 degrees at 7 am; stops around 10. Turns partly sunny and warm, high of 53. At 10 pm it’s 48 degrees. Lots of birds around today.

3 Sunny and cold, 22 degrees at 7 am. Turns into a mild day, high of 55, but it’s also very windy again. The squills (scilla) pop out. I do some raking and shoveling to address plow damage and liberate the squills. 51 degrees at 8:30 pm.

7 Partly sunny and 37 at 7 am. Stays that way, up to 50 degrees, kind of windy again. My arugula (planted on March 29) is germinating in the garden. Snow is almost gone. 35 degrees at 10 pm.

9 It’s sunny at 24 degrees at 7 am. Lots of robins around, and a flicker. Tulips are sprouting, daffodils budding up. Heard a barred owl for the first time this spring. Did a lot of yard cleanup. Put out the terrace furniture. High of 56; 45 at 10 pm.

10 Overnight low of 28. Sunny and 32 degrees at 8 am. Saw a mourning cloak butterfly!. High of 67 today and at 10 pm it’s still 50 degrees.

11 Partly sunny and 41 at 7 am. Turns cloudy but mild, up to 67 degrees, a bit windy. Bloodroot comes out today. Still 63 degrees at 10 pm. The peepers are out tonight!

13 50 degrees and sunny at 8 am. Temp gets up to 85 degrees—wow! Bloodroot opens, first daffodil blooms, trees beginning to leaf out. 71 degrees at 10:30 pm.

14 Partly sunny and 62 degrees at 8:30. Another very warm day, high of 84, though it’s not exactly hot. Fred and Sharon bring take out for dinner —their 5th anniversary. We see a couple of bats at twilight. More daffodils open today. 70 degrees at 9:30.

16 Overcast and 60 degrees at 8:30. Leaves emerging on the apple trees; peonies poking up; English violets are blooming, with their heavenly fragrance. A mature male bluebird visits around 6 pm. High was 72, it’s 61 at 10:30.

23 Raining and 43 degrees at 8 am. Rains all day and the temperature is steady. 44 degrees at 10 pm, light rain.

24 Wet, drippy, 44 degrees at 7:30. Some brief sun around noon. Then it rains most of the afternoon into evening. High of 54. At 10:30 it’s 46.

25 Partly sunny, 42 degrees at 7:30. But it gets mostly cloudy quickly. Some sun here and there, high of 55. I saw a flicker again. 46 degrees at 10:30.

26 Overcast, a little misty, 41 at 7 am. Some afternoon sun, high at 54. At 11 pm it’s 46. Tonight we heard jazz pianist Abdullah Ibrahim and his ensemble at Rollins Chapel—it was sublime.