Two diaries, 150 years apart…

For Ebenezer, October brought cooler weather and the final harvest of corn, potatoes, beets, parsnips, turnips, carrots, and pumpkins. It was a very full cellar. Ebenezer sent some crates of food, by train, to his sons who lived in Lowell, MA. There was a little bit of hunting, some gleaning of apples, foraging for butter nuts, and a lot of cider making. October 1st was a frosty morning.

For Alan, October brought bowls of raspberries, warm weather, and the final harvest of brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, jalapenos, broccoli shoots, arugula. The first frost arrived on October 31st.

Ebenezer Brown, October 1873

1 October 1873 Wednesday

Cold frosty morning. Ther 28

I am not able to work. Charles is getting in corn alone.

3 Rainy and warm

Charles at work on the cider mill at [neighbor] George M. Slack and husking some at home.

Charles and GMS with our oxen & cart went to S Hutchinson and got & brot to GMS a machine of 1 horse power for making cider.

Below: Farmyard horse-powered cider press, 20th century.

9 Another fine pleasant warm day. Charles has dug and brot into the cellar about 50 bushels potatoes. GMS helped dig 3 hours this a.m. GMS paid Mrs. Brown for 17 ½ lbs butter $5.25 30 c per lb.

10 A most delightful pleasant day & quite warm–I am getting in the beets from the well lot. Charles went gunning p.m. with H Booth.

11 October 1873 Saturday. And still another fine warm pleasant day.

Charles finished digging the potatoes. Dug 35 bushels this forenoon picked them up and brot them to the house at noon.

P.M. he went with GM Slack to the old Center Meetinghouse Graveyard and helped clear off the brush briers from yard with others that met them there for that purpose.

I went to the Plain this a.m. to Knapps [grist] mill & to Cushmans [blacksmith] shop and got my horse shod foreward & paid 35 cents. Went the Norwich & Hanover RR Station and got at the ex office from John B & James W. Brown of Lowell a package.

P.M. I pulled carrots & beets in the garden

Below: Steam-powered locomotive pulling into Lewiston Station where Charles picked up a package from his sons in Lowell, MA (obviously not October!).

14 A Pleasant warm day–

Charles with GMS went to Sharon hills and gathered a lot of butternuts.

I am dragging bush to secure the Israel Brook in its place– [now called the Charles Brown Brook]

20 Warm and rains all day and much water has fallen. Rained all last night and the ground is soaked to the full and the streams are full banks…a flood will ensue if the rain continues much longer. Charles has been husking and attending to his cider mill business. I am mending Mary’s shoes.

21 The weather is warm–a hard shower of rain fill the latter part of last night accompanied by heavy wind. Cleared off this forenoon and has been warm and pleasant today. I have been mending shoes. Charles husked corn & gathered a few bushells apples from the scattering trees in the woods.

Below: Butter Nut

22 October 1873 Wednesday

A fair warm day. Charles is at work at his cider mill today making cider.

I put up a barrel potatoes and one of butternuts & delivered them at the Norwich & Hanover RR Station to be carried to Lowell Mss by freight and directed to James W. Brown

28 October 1873 Tuesday

Pleasant and cool wind clouds often passing over.

Charles was sick all last night and was frequently up from his bed puking & purging. He is better this morning and is attending to his cider works at the mill and C Stratton is helping him.

29 Very cool, most part sunshine.

Charles & C Stratton making cider. I am carrying vegetables into the cellar

31 Cloudy and cold and rainy afternoon. I went to Ex office at the RR Depot and got a horse harness sent by son James of Lowell. C making cider.

Alan Berolzheimer, October 2023

1 Foggy and 52 degrees at 8 am. Cloudy, then nice midday sun, up to 69. I picked a nice bowl of fall raspberries. 57 degrees at 10 pm.

2 Sunny and 54 at 8 am. I get a call from my father that my mother died this morning. RIP Diane G. Berolzheimer, 1932-1923. It’s 74 degrees at 1 pm as we head to the Burlington airport to go back to Chicago.

11 Rain overnight, cloudy, wet, 48 degrees at 8 am. Gradually clears to a nice late afternoon, high of 57. Harvested a nice zucchini the woodchucks didn’t get, and a cucumber. 48 at 10 pm.

14 Overnight low was 40. Nice day, high of 59. I planted 250 garlic cloves. 47 degrees at 11 pm.

15 Mostly sunny and 49 at 8 am. Windy, a mix of sunny and cloudy periods, high of 53. The field gets mowed today. 50 degrees at 9 pm.

16 Rain overnight, overcast and 49 at 8. High of 57. Some heavy rain late afternoon. 48 degrees at 10:30.

17 Mostly sunny and 50 at 9 am. Turns cloudy midday, high of 56. At 11 pm it’s 50 degrees.

18 Overcast and 48 at 8 am. A sprinkly day with late afternoon clearing. 50 at 11 pm.

19 Overcast and 49 at 9 am. Partial clearing through the day, breezy and mild, high of 64. Several bluebirds hanging around. I harvest basil and make a big batch of pesto. 53 degrees at 11 pm.

21 Raining and 55 at 8 am. We’re returning to Evanston today to spend a few more days with Dad. There are a couple of flowers on the rose bushes by the well pump.

26 Home from Evanston. Very cloudy but mild, 64 at 5 pm. The vegetable garden looks good—brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, a couple of jalapenos, more broccoli shoots, arugula. I collect a big bowl of raspberries. 59 degrees at 11 am.

27 A sparkly morning, clear blue sky, 60 degrees at 9 am. Saw a bluebird. Ridiculously warm, high of 73! 61 degrees at 9 pm.

29 Overcast and 43 at 8 am—a 30-degree temperature swing. Icy rain starting around 10; it’s showery most of the day and the temperature doesn’t change. Friends over for dinner. 42 at 11 pm.

31 Overnight low of 31 and there’s some frost on the lawn and field—first of the season! A crisp and sunny day, up to 50 in the sun. 33 degrees at 9 pm and heading for another frost.