Tuesday, January 16, 2018

As I was saying . . .

Mon., November 11, 1935 - A tire was flat this morning when I stopped in front of the schoolhouse.  The boys fixed it at recess.  Earl back in school after 3 weeks absence.  Mom and I teased Ray tonite when he was reading!
Tues., November 12, 1935 - Mrs. Wolf brought some patterns for lace collars tonite.  Mrs. Lindbergh was here to try on her dress.
Wed., November 13, 1935 - Howard stopped at the schoolhouse awhile this evening.  He had a thorn in his wrist, infection set in, the place was lanced last nite.  Mrs. Trautwein brought Grandmother some flowers.  Miss Nuss and Ethel were here awhile tonite.

Well, I made it just under a month since my last post.  Time certainly got away with an early family Christmas, Anna graduating from college, Mitch visiting, John having surgery, momma goats having baby goats with one rejecting a baby . . . what else am I missing?

I am glad Grandma seems to be having a quieter time of it in 1935, flat tire and all.

There's a photo of my little graduate at the recognition on East Campus the day before the big graduation ceremony.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017


Fri., November 8, 1935 - Mom helped Annie and Ola butcher today.  We have half a hog to take care of this weekend.  Alma and I served at lodge tonite.
Sat., November 9, 1935 - Worked with the meat today.  I went down town this afternoon.  Aunt Mary Kahler was here tonite to visit us.
Sun., November 10, 1935 - Worked on meat most of the day.  Ray went up to Uncle Hans'.  He and Willie came back about 3:00.  Howard was here tonite.

I personally have not butchered nor witnessed the butchering of animals, other than two childhood experiences.  One was of watching my sweet grandmother chop the heads off of multiple chickens without so much as a sigh and the other was finding the skinning of a squirrel somewhat fascinating when Dale did it.  I also found the processing of chickens to be quite the thing, too.  The contents of gizzards could be rather interesting and every now and then we'd find an egg inside a headless hen.

From backwoodshome.com:

"Fall is butchering time, a period of joy in the harvest of the year’s work and of sadness that the lives of your beautiful, healthy animals have come to an end. On this occasion the animals should be treated with the same kindness and respect with which they were treated during their lives. Good farmers raise their animals free from fear, anxiety and stress. The animals should meet their end as they lived, without the terror of the slaughterhouse.

Making careful preparations will help you remain calm. After years and years of butchering I still feel a strong adrenaline rush when the animal is killed. Be prepared for that and use it to make sure the death is as painless as possible. A knowledgeable person can direct these strong feelings into doing the job right instead of letting their emotions get the best of them and botching the job."

Photo from Subversify Magazine.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Imagine that

Tues., November 5, 1935 - Ray took me to school this morning.  He thought the roads too slippery for me to drive.  I walked home tonite.  Got a ride with Mrs. Weible and Eddie.
Wed., November 6, 1935 - Mom, Ray and I went out to Annie and Ola's tonite.  We stayed until about 9:00.  Haroldean is surely a lively little rascal.
Thurs., November 7, 1935 - Drove down to Irene's school tonite to find out how much cheese is needed for a sandwich mixture.  We talked quite awhile.

It is not hard to imagine Grandma and Aunt Irene talking quite awhile.  Not hard at all.

The photo is of Aunt Irene from her senior class picture.  She looks a bit like she's not sure about taking on the world yet.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Priorities, priorities

Sat., November 2, 1935 - Sleeting today.  Did the usual Saturday work.
Sun., November 3, 1935 - Still cold.  Ray worked today.  Mom and I worked on jigsaw puzzles this afternoon.
Mon, November 4, 1935 - School dismissed today.  Cold, everything icy.  Left here about 10:00 with Irene and Howard for the State Corn Picking Contest at Oscar Reinhart's place south of Wayne.  A Dixon Co. man got first.  Chris Maas was the Wayne Co. man but he didn't do so good. Howard was here tonite.

So, it was too icy for school yet they still held a corn picking contest?  Wow, those northeast Nebraska farmers (I am assuming the contestants were farmers) were made of tough stuff.

And look what I found at cornhusking.com:

     "Over seventy-five years ago there were 80 minute contests to determine who was the best person at picking corn by hand. Today the National Cornhusking Association sponsors a contest the third weekend in October to determine who is the best. There are ten classes that are from 10 to 30 minutes long that people can participate in. There are nine states that are members of the National Cornhusking Association, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Minnesota, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska."

Looks like those fellers in 1935 picked for a much longer time.  Tough, like I said.

There's even more on this particular sport.  (I had no idea this was as big of a deal as it was.)

Also from a link on cornhusking.com:

     "In 2009 Heritage Documentaries completed the production of this 27-minute video documentary. We received substantial support for the project from RCH/Innovative Technology Partners, the Riverboat Development Authority, Pioneer Hi-bred International, the CHS Foundation, the Rock Island County Regional Office of Education, the Illinois Corn Huskers Association, and individual donors.

     Husking is the oldest method of harvesting corn. In the late 1930s and early 1940s, national contests drew over 100,000 spectators. Our documentary DVD, complete with original film, showcases this traditional farm skill and the traditional farm values celebrated throughout the Midwest during corn husking contests... values like individualism, determination, work ethic and self-sufficiency. From the early 1920s through 1941, local, state, and national corn husking contests were prominent on the national scene. National contests were broadcast live on nation-wide network radio, providing "ear-to-ear" coverage. In 1936, Time magazine declared corn husking "...the fastest growing sporting spectacle in the world." Contest winners became idolized heroes who were sought after by national media for interviews, paid to endorse products, and received proposals of marriage from female fans.

     The rise in popularity of corn husking contests and their role in buoying spirits during the Depression are unique in American history. When Farmers Were Heroes: The Era of National Corn Husking Contests, portrays the rich and traditional farm heritage of corn husking. Farm historians in Illinois and Wisconsin have written books about this subject, but no documentary has been created to visually bring the subject to life for students and the general public. We assembled a wealth of background material for this project, much of it as the result of research conducted by Heritage board member Ronald Deiss. Materials include books and articles, artifacts, photographs, audio broadcasts, and several original films of corn husking contests. We also conducted filmed interviews with former contestants. Husking contests continue today on a small scale; we include live footage from the national contest at Roseville, Illinois, held in the fall of 2008."

Here's a link to the trailer for the documentary:


The 2017 Nebraska contest had 13 classes, from kids 14 and under to Golden Agers (75+ years old).  The men's open class winner had 423 pounds shucked in 30 minutes.  I think this bears monitoring as something to go see next year.

The photo is of the 1932 national champion, taken from the documentary.

Monday, December 4, 2017


Wed.,October 30, 1935 - Washed and waved my hair tonite.  Didn't do a bit of studying.  Colder tonite.
Thurs., October 31, 1935 - Sleeted during the night, cold today.  Mr. Goodling had to push the car tonite to get it started.
Fri., November 1, 1935 - Card club at Iversen's tonite.  Howard took me out there.  Ray went to a dance at Hoskins tonite.

I wonder how good a dancer Uncle Ray was.

I haven't done a Sunday recipe in a very long time.  But I must say I baked some of Dale's paddlefish this weekend with potatoes, garlic and rosemary and it was mighty tasty.

From wikipedia, a treasure trove of information about paddlefish:

"The American paddlefish (Polyodon spathula) is a species of basal ray-finned fish closely related to sturgeons in the order Acipenseriformes. Fossil records of paddlefish date back over 300 million years, nearly 50 million years before dinosaurs first appeared. American paddlefish are smooth-skinned freshwater fish commonly called paddlefish, but are also referred to as Mississippi paddlefish, spoon-billed cats, or spoonbills. They are one of only two extant species in the paddlefish family, Polyodontidae. The other is the critically endangered Chinese paddlefish (Psephurus gladius) endemic to the Yangtze River basin in China. American paddlefish are often referred to as primitive fish, or relict species because they retain some morphological characteristics of their early ancestors, including a skeleton that is almost entirely cartilaginous, a paddle-shaped rostrum (snout) that extends nearly one-third their body length, and a heterocercal tail or caudal fin, much like that of sharks. American paddlefish are a highly derived fish because they have evolved with adaptations such as filter feeding. Their rostrum and cranium are covered with tens of thousands of sensory receptors for locating swarms of zooplankton, which is their primary food source.

American paddlefish are native to the Mississippi River basin and once moved freely under the relatively natural, unaltered conditions that existed prior to the early 1900s. They commonly inhabited large, free-flowing rivers, braided channels, backwaters, and oxbow lakes throughout the Mississippi River drainage basin, and adjacent Gulf drainages. Their peripheral range extended into the Great Lakes, with occurrences in Lake Huron and Lake Helen in Canada until about 90 years ago. American paddlefish populations have declined dramatically primarily because of overfishing, habitat destruction, and pollution. Poaching has also been a contributing factor to their decline and will continue to be as long as the demand for caviar remains strong. Naturally occurring American paddlefish populations have been extirpated from most of their peripheral range, as well as from New York, Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. The current range of American paddlefish has been reduced to the Mississippi and Missouri River tributaries and Mobile Bay drainage basin. They are currently found in twenty-two states in the U.S., and those populations are protected under state, federal and international laws."

Photo also from wikipedia.

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Sun., October 27, 1935 - Slept most of the day.  Went up to Alma's this evening to talk about our lunch for next lodge nite. Uncle Hans here awhile. I went to bed early.
Mon., October 28, 1935 - Studied quite late tonite.  Howard was here a few minutes.
Tues., October 29, 1935 - Gave spelling and reading quarterly examinations today.  Took my board money to Goodlings.  Went to Nuss' for a little card party tonite.  Ethel Lewis, Miss Mettlen, Gladys Reichert and Leffler there too.

I do not know what Grandma was studying for here.

For no good reason, here is a photo of the first wild turkeys that decided to call our place home.  For an amateur with a so-so camera, I thought it turned out pretty well.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

Radium treatment

Thurs., October 24, 1935 - Nice warm day.  Margaret and Allen Christensen visited school this afternoon.  Grandmother had another radium treatment today.  Aunt Emma is going to stay here until Saturday nite.
Fri., October 25, 1935 - Cloudy and sprinkled a little this morning.  Went to lodge tonite.  Howard brought me up the hill.
Sat., October 26, 1935 - Drove out to Florenz Niemann's to have Irene's and my order signed, took the orders to Irene, stopped at Wagners to tell Edna I couldn't have card club this Friday.  Went to Norfolk about 11:00 with Helen and Irene.  They had been to Wayne and cashed my order.  Went to the Masquerade party at Uncle Hans' tonite.  I got first prize for the girls.  It was a picture.

I am not sure why Grussmother had radium treatments, but I researched a little bit and found the beginning of the end of such treatments.  From wikipedia:

     Concerns about radium were brought up before the United States Senate by California Senator John D. Works as early as 1915. In a floor speech he quoted letters from doctors asking about the efficacy of the products that were marketed. He stressed that radiation had the effect of making many cancers worse, many doctors thought the belief that radium could be used to cure cancers at that stage of the development of therapy was a "delusion" — one doctor quoted cited a failure-to-success rate of 100 to 1 — and the effects of radium water were undemonstrated.

     Around the start of the 1920s, new public health concerns were sparked by the deaths of factory workers at a radioluminescent watch factory, later referred to as the Radium Girls. In 1932, a well-known industrialist, Eben Byers died of radiation poisoning from the use of Radithor, a radium water guaranteed by the manufacturer to contain 2 ╬╝Ci of radium. Cases sprung up of the development of carcinoma in patients who had used conventional radium therapy up to 40 years after the original treatments.

     The Radium Girls were female factory workers who contracted radiation poisoning from painting watch dials with self-luminous paint. Painting was done by women at three different sites in the United States, and the term now applies to the women working at the facilities. The first, United States Radium factory in Orange, New Jersey, beginning around 1917, at Ottawa, Illinois, beginning in the early 1920s, and a third facility in Waterbury, Connecticut.

     The women in each facility had been told the paint was harmless, and subsequently ingested deadly amounts of radium after being instructed to "point" their brushes on their lips in order to give them a fine point; some also painted their fingernails, face and teeth with the glowing substance. The women were instructed to point their brushes because using rags, or a water rinse, caused them to waste too much time and waste too much of the material made from powdered radium, gum arabic and water.

     Five of the women in New Jersey challenged their employer in a case over the right of individual workers who contract occupational diseases to sue their employers under New Jersey's occupational injuries law, which at the time had a two-year statute of limitations, but settled out of court. Five women in Illinois who were employees of the Radiant Dial Company (which was unaffiliated with the United States Radium Corporation) sued their employer under Illinois law, winning damages in 1938.