Two diaries, 150 years apart…

September 2023 brought the first frost, rains, and warm days. The Brown family finished their haying and got in their wheat and oats. Family arrived to go berrying. They began to assemble a cider mill at the neighbor’s house in preparation for the apple harvest.

September 2023 brought warm days, the remnants of a tropical storm, smoke and fog. Berrying, harvesting brussels sprouts and potatoes, and apple pies were highlights of the fruits of the season.

Ebenezer Brown, 1873


1 Warm and Rainy clears off just before night with heavy west wind. Charles cradled the wheat at Israel place & mowed some in the pasture. Rome took home his borrowed Buggy to the Plain to Mr. Gibbs…

3 September 1873 Wednesday

A sunny day but somewhat overcast looks like a storm is coming.

Charles mowed rowen [a second crop of hay] this a.m. in the lot above the barn & p.m. I helped him get in 2 loads of Indian wheat and he thrashed a part of it. I raked rowen into windrows not hayed enough to cock.

Cloudy & warm & the rain will come in. I am up at daylight to see the weather prospect… at ½ past 5 the rain begins very moderate and so continues through the day at 8 p.m. heavy thunder and rain but no hard rain. Mrs. Brown has picked her geese today. Charles and Rome are making ax handles, etc.

5 A beautiful Pleasant day with now & then a little sprinkling of rain. Charles mowed Rowen. Wm Hutchinson & Emma H & Mary H come here and took tea & gathered berries.

8 Cloudy morning rained last night and has rained some before 9 a.m. and clears away at 10 & sunshine after Charles cradled India wheat for G.M.S. a.m. and p.m. he went with our oxen & helped his man C Booth get in oats…I have done almost everything…pulled beans, raked the rowen, selected seed corn in the field, dug early potatoes, etc…

Cradling Grain, Collection Rokeby Museum

12 A very pleasant hot day–I am pulling beans in the corn field & Charles is cutting and stooking corn.

15 Clear and cold before morning. A sharp frost this morning. Kills all the vines and beans but not a hard freeze. Ther 32

A pleasant sunshine day. dark and cloudy evening. Charles has finished cutting the corn and worked for G.M. Slack this afternoon.

Son William left home this morn for his home in Claremont.

23 September 1873 Tuesday

A very rainy day & evening.

I am husking corn–Charles at G.M.S. at work on the cider press.

24 Clears away this a.m.–rained all last night and raised the brooks & springs considerable. Charles is at work on the cider mill press at G.M.S. I went up there this p.m. to help them raise the press–

27 September 1873 Saturday

An exceeding pleasant morning & warm pleasant day. Ther rising to 78 during the day

Alan Berolzheimer, 2023

1 A bit hazy and 49 degrees at 8 am. Sunny by 9. Lovely day, high of 75. I pull my onions; not huge number, but many are good sized. No invasive jumping worms in this trench. I also collect a large handful of ripe red raspberries, for the second time. We make our first apple pie of the season. 60 degrees at 10 pm.

3 Sunny and 62 at 8 am. Quite a hot day, up to 83 degrees, but it’s moderated by cloudiness. We spend a couple hours at the Treasure Island beach in Thetford. 69 degrees at 10 pm.


4 Foggy and 64 at 8 am. Labor Day. Clears to partly cloudy, gradually gets hot, up to 87 degrees. We grill and make a campfire and s’mores. Still 75 at 8:30.


6 Foggy and 69 at 8 am. Another mostly sunny, hot and humid day with a high of 87 again. We collect apples in the yard and make applesauce. 74 degrees at 9 pm.


7 Very foggy, 68 at 8 am. Burns off at 10. Brutally hot, up to 90 today! Quite a lightning storm around 10 pm, 74 degrees. Some heavy rain but for a short while. I scared up a bat in the shed today.


14 Sunny and 57 at 8 am. Very nice day, warm but not hot, high of 71. Collected another half-bowl of berries, also picked four nice brussels sprouts, which are abundant this year. Down to 56 degrees at 10 pm.


16 Mostly cloudy and 58 at 8 am. Breezy—we’re on the far outer edge of the impact zone of Tropical Storm Lee, set to make landfall in Nova Scotia. Nice afternoon, up to 67 degrees. We do some cleanup of the flower gardens. Rosh Hashanah dinner. 58 degrees at 10:30, pretty clear night sky.


26 Mostly sunny and 51 at 9 am; overnight low was 46. Strong midday sun, high of 69. At 11 pm it’s 50 degrees. I dig up the rest of my potatoes, and find a number of jumping worms.


28 Foggy and 46 at 8 am. Hazy day, from Canadian wildfires. I see some muted foliage color up toward Barre, where I go for the Vermont Historical Society annual meeting. Nancy sees some bright color around the edge of Grafton Pond. High at 69 degrees. 52 at 10:30, with a bright full moon.


29 Foggy and 50 at 8 am. Fog lifts to mostly cloudy at 9:30. Light rain all day after 11 am. Cool, high to 55. We make another smashing apple pie. 54 degrees at 11 pm.