Two diaries, 150 years apart…

In May 1873, the work of the farm was focused on preparing the fields and mending fence.  Plowing the fields generated lots of rock which had to be hauled to the edge. You can see the resulting rock walls out on Parcel 5 today!

Both Ebenezer and Alan spent quite a bit of time in their gardens. Ebenezer planted onion, parsnips, carrots, beets, turnips, cucumbers, speckled beans, sweet corn, and squash.  Ebenezer planted his onions on May 1st. Alan planted his on April 15. Carrots planted on April 16th this year–Ebenezer planted his on May 7.

We had a big frost on May 18 with extensive damage. Ebenezer experienced a hard frost at the end of the month on May 30.

Ebenezer Brown, 1873

1 Another very warm pleasant day. I am at work in the garden. Sowed a bed of onions. Charles worked in west lot plowing for oats.

2 Cool South wind and begins to rain at 1 p.m. and rained continuously & snowed a little

3 Cool and rainy not much rain today but foggy mist and damp all day.

Charles and G.M. Slack worked on the road & rebuilt the little bridge at the watering trough and fixed and made very convenient the watering place.

Ellen went to the Plain and received a certificate for teaching.
(“the Plain” is Norwich Village center)

6 a very pleasant cool day

I sowed 8 Bushels oats in West lot on the old corn field & the hay seed. Charles carted off the stone & harrowed and rolled.

So many stone walls came about from spring field work.

7 Most beautiful weather today. I am at work in the garden. Sowed Parsnips and carrots.

Charles got the oxen shod at Cushmans shop this forenoon. Took a saw log to the Booths sawmill as he went along.

The blacksmith shop and sawmill were at the confluence of Charles Brown Brook and Blood Brook, above Moore Lane.

9 A cloudy dull day and some rain.

I mended fence at the back pasture and carried the sap tubs into the sugar house chamber.

Charles plowed for G.M. Slack most of the day…at night he went to the Plain & brot Ellen home it being the close of her first weeks school at the south district on the Plain.

This is the building where Ellen taught school–on Main Street.

14 Very cold & frosty this morning. Charles is plowing for corn above the Barn. I am at work in the Garden.

15 Another cool day. Cloudy am but sunshine p.m.

Charles is plowing. I am putting up ashes for soap making.

16 Cool and cloudy…I am harrowing the corn ground–Charles picking stone.

22 Cloudy and cool all day. Quite a little rain sometime last night. I and Charles are planting corn on the field close above the Barn and have finished the piece.

26 Very warm & mostly sunny. I am sowing garden seeds & planting squashes. Charles is carting manure to the west lot for corn & beets & turnips.

29 A very warm and pleasant day. I have planted the sweet corn and the speckled beans and have planted the cucumbers and squashes.

30 The weather changed last night & today has been very cold for the season—Charles is plowing the Indian Wheat field up in the mowing lot  p.m. he took 2 saw logs to Booths mill and brot home some plank…I am swabing the worms nest off from the apple trees. A hard frost this morning. Ther 34

Alan Berolzheimer, 2023

1 Wet, overcast, 54 degrees Rain starts at 8 but doesn’t last long; I planted my onion seedlings on April 15, during that 3-day stretch of temps in the low 80s.

2 Raining and 44 at 8 am. Stops mid-morning. Up to 56 degrees. At 11 pm it’s 48.

4 Overcast, wet, 45 degrees at 8:30. Breezy the first part of the day but it calms down and we have a mild high of 52. Things are starting to dry up. 47 degrees at 10:30.

5 Mostly cloudy, 53 degrees at 9 am. Turns partly sunny, mild, up to 62. Tulips open. Nancy sees an animal walking along the stone wall across the road; maybe a mink. Full moon. 50 degrees at 11 pm.

7 Sunny and 47 degrees at 7:30. Lovely day, high of 75. Lots of bird action around the house today. 63 degrees at 10:30 pm. Carrots and beets I planted on April 16 have germinated.

9 Filtered sun and 45 degrees at 8:30. I heard on the radio about wildfires in western Canada. Asparagus is coming up; one zucchini seed has sprouted. Spirea starting to bloom. Cooler today, breezy, high of 63. At 10:30 it’s 48 degrees.

10 44 degrees at 7:30. Very lovely day, lots of sun, high at 73. Three kids from Thetford Academy Operation Days Work come and fill up the woodshed. The big crabapple tree is bursting into bloom. 58 degrees at 10 pm.

11 Mostly sunny and 52 at 8 am. Very warm, up to 78 degrees. Lilacs are starting to bud up. The crabapple is a cloud of white and pink.

12 A little rain overnight. 52 degrees at 7 am. It’s a hot day, mostly sunny, up to 81 degrees. This evening I plant brassica and basil seedlings, and some green beans (my first sowing 3 weeks ago didn’t germinate). 64 degrees at 10 pm.

14 Mostly sunny, 44 degrees at 7:30. Very windy all day—apple blossoms are blowing off. Planted some shallot seedlings. Harvested the first asparagus. Saw an oriole, a hummingbird, and a pair of bluebirds. High at 62, 52 degrees at 9 pm.

15 Hazy sun, 44 degrees at 8 am. Nancy saw a bobcat crossing the road by the Van Armans’ place. Breezy again, high at 71. 60 degrees at 10 pm.

16 Cloudy and 54 at 7:30. Stays cloudy, it’s breezy again, high of 71 again but it’s a coolish day. 55 degrees at 10 pm. Transplanted some lettuce seedlings into the garden and also my leeks.

17 Partly sunny, 43 at 7:30. Sun and clouds all day, windy and cold, only gets up to 50.Nancy and I got our latest over-65 Covid boosters. Expecting frost overnight, we cover up most of the veggie and flower gardens. 36 degrees at 11 pm.

18 Overnight low was 29, there’s some visible frost and it’s 33 degrees and sunny at 7:30. Almost everything survived, including most of what wasn’t covered. Some geraniums we forgot to bring inside took a hit; some potato leaves (planted late April) got frosted but most look ok; and the leaves on the sumac are all dead. We’ll have to wait to see if the apples got damaged. Pleasant day, high of 65. I plant out more brassicas. 47 at 11 pm.

19 Mostly sunny and 47 degrees at 7:30. Warms up to sunny and 71. I put in the rest of my vegetable garden.

20 55 and overcast at 8 am. A bear came through overnight and took out a suet feeder here and a couple at Courtney’s house. Stays cloudy and cool, high of 64. Went to the Roots & Blooms gathering at the Rod District School House, where Nancy presided over the making of May baskets. Starts to sprinkle around 5 pm and rains steadily through the evening. 60 degrees at 10 pm.