August 1, 1914
I haven’t written much lately; this is such a busy time of the year I find it hard to spare the time. Mama has never really gotten over the sickness she had earlier in the year and had started feeling rather poorly again so Papa sent her to Belle Fourche to get more treatments from the doctor there. She is staying with relatives. Yesterday we got a note from her saying she is doing some better but will stay a bit longer. I hope she is right about doing better as she hasn’t been good this year at all. It makes me feel worrisome.
Meanwhile Papa is so busy taking care of the farming at both places we hardly see him. This morning he and Daniel left for Donald and will be gone for several days. So Hazel and I are here alone to take care of everything else. Not only do we have to take care of the household chores and garden, but also make sure we feed the livestock and chickens, gather the eggs, milk our 4 cows, get the animals out to graze, put them back in the barn for the night and muck out the stables. To add to that it’s almost time to start picking the wild fruit and canning.
Hazel is pretty good about helping but she is driving me wild with all the singing she does. It wouldn’t be bad if she chose different songs but she sings the same one over and over until I can’t get it out of my head. If I hear her sing by the “Light of the Silvery Moon,” one more time today, she may find herself sleeping under the light of a silvering moon all alone in the garden.
Aug. 4, 1914
Down at the edge of our woods we have a good number of choke cherry bushes and they are beginning to get ripe. Picking them at the right time can be tricky, to early they taste horrid but wait until they are black and sweetest and the coons and birds are likely to get them all. So,we try to pick them when they are a deep wine color. Hazel and I went an picked a couple of buckets today. Growing in large clusters they are easy to pick. They are too sour to eat fresh but we sure love them in jelly. Hopefully we will get quite a few more pails full as they surely taste good in the winter over Papa’s flapjacks or smothered on top of a slice fresh from the oven bread.
It rained here quite a bit last week but with it came lightning storms and you know how much I hate those. The day before yesterday our telephone line got hit and it burned out our telephone. It hasn’t been ringing right for a long time anyway but I couldn’t bear the thought of being here alone with no telephone at all. But our dear old neighbor John, came over to look at it and had a spare part to fix what got burned out. So that is a good thing and the rain has made my garden looks so much better which is a second good thing.
Aug. 7, 1914
I supose you will be very much put out about me not writing oftener but realy Hazel and I are baching here and was just so busy. I thot John was going to the Post office Thursday but he never so there for I am afraid you won’t get a letter very soon. I expect you think I am very careless and I know that I am too. I will try to do much better tho here after.
This is only Friday, and I supose I shouldn’t start a letter so long before I sent it but I was so awfully tired I just had to stop a few minutes.
It keeps Hazel and I real busy doing all the work and chores and we are picking and putting up cherrys too. My we just got back from picking three ten-pound pails and it is dreadful hot too. My we were surely tired, and Hazel wants to go over to grandpas tonight after supper so supose we will walk over there after supper. I am about all in tho.
I sent you a card and had Edna to mail it Tuesday but she never mailed it until friday so you won’t get that very soon either. My I am awful sorry I wonder how you are today? I got your letter last Tuesday and you know I was glad.
Saw Vera twice today, Mama has been gone nearly two weeks. I am getting real lonesome to see her. I think I will go down next week and stay with Papa as he will have some men working and so he needs a cook. Oh my! Hazel says it is time to get supper so will get busy again I will finish later, so good bye,
Aug 8, your birthday
Well here I am again I have been real busy doing the Saturday’s work and am about all in. Am nearly threw tho. I have only to churn, press my dress, make a cake, finish making my bread, and get supper. My seems like I never get throu.
Hazel is riding after horses. My, Daniel phoned and said they were coming home tonight so I am so glad. Mama has been gone nearly two weeks and Papa and Daniel nearly one.
Papa has so much to do and he can’t find anyone to work for him as help is so scarce this summer he is doing all his work alone so far but may be able to get help next week. Everybody wants someone to work but there don’t seem to be very many around here that want to work.
We had several nice rains since I last wrote and some dreadful storms. One time it stormed, it burnt our phone line. I was just about wild. We have it fixed now tho and it works better than it did for 3 years.
My I am glad it is not so warm in Wash. as it is here.
Hazel and I went over to grandpas last night we never started out until so late tho. We never got there until about nine oclock at night. See how brave we are it was awful dark too. There is going to be a picnic at Mc Donalds and a big dance after wards. I (the rest of this letter is missing)
August 8, 1914
I am sitting out in the yard as it is another hot evening. The air feels so dry and dusty, it makes my throat scratchy all day. I do hope the weather cools down soon, I have had enough of this heat.
Papa and Daniel made it back here in time for dinner tonight. I was glad I had decided to bake some biscuits to go with our stew and fresh greens. I opened tinned peaches for dessert. My, did they ever scarf down the food. Daniel said it was a heap better than the pork and beans and corn pone Papa had been fixing all week. He even gave me a great big hug and said he’d missed me. It’s nice to be appreciated.
I am feeling rather blue. I long to be with Roy for today is his birthday. I wanted to send him a gift but I had no way of getting one. I did have a card but have been so awfully busy I had to give it to Edna to mail for me on Tues. Only she forgot so it didn’t get mailed until Friday. I was not one bit pleased when she told me. It was all I could do not to scold her and that would have been bad for she was doing me a favor. He probably thinks I have forgotten him which I can assure you I haven’t.
If he were here I would make him a great big cake. Maybe another angel food as we’ve got plenty of eggs with some berry preserves dripping over the top. He’s crazy for anything with berries. And I’d sing that “Happy Birthday To You,” song everyone has started singing. But he’s not here and that makes me so very blue.
August 10, 1914
Now that Papa and Daniel are back I have a bit more time to write. Last night after the supper dishes were done I set off for the top of the hill to watch the sun set. And oh, what a sight it was with the fields glowing gold and the wind blowing them like waves on an ocean. At least I imagine it’s like an ocean for I have never actually seen one. As the sky turned to a purple dusk, I sat with my hands wrapped around my legs, listening to the greatest orchestra of all. There can be no sweeter melody than the sound of a gentle wind, rippling through the grass, accompanied by the chirping crickets and the song of a meadowlark.
It won’t be long now until those glowing fields are just a memory. If only their yield would be as big as we hoped for.
August 13, 1914
I must tell you about a funny incident that happened last night while Hazel and I were finishing up the supper dishes. Someone left the screen door open and a snake had taken the notion to slither in while our backs were turned to the sink. Hazel turned around to put her dish towel down and let out an ear-piercing shriek. “Snake!” I turned and saw that it was just a harmless bull snake and not a very big one at that, but her screams had alarmed it. It had reared itself up to look bigger and started thumping its tail like a rattler. She ran from the room screeching. I grabbed the broom shooed it back out the door as it hissed and reared at me all the while. Papa and Daniel came racing from the barn to see what all the commotion was about just as I swept it out the door. We all had a good belly laugh afterwards, except for Hazel she was amused and you can be sure she is going to be sure the screen door is firmly latched from now on.
I better stop writing and see what the shouting in the yard is about. Hopefully it’s not another snake scare.
Mae talks about wanting Roy’s birthday to be special, What are some traditions your family has to celebrate birthdays?