Daniel Fox’s Letters, 1922
My dear Sister and Hubert,
Your Christmas letter arrived Dec. 23. just when we were full of the seasons spirit. Our Christmas was a Merry one, it centered in the little boy. He’s nearly six and fully believes in old Santa. We first went to the woods and brought home a Christmas tree that reached to the ceiling and we made a State occasion of the trip. Then all had to help trim it with colored candles and ornaments of various kinds and tinsel and sparkling snow powder for a finishing touch, and I wish you could both have been here to help and see how pretty it looked. We talked of you when we sat down to breakfast on Christmas morning, tho’t you would be at dinner. I hope you had a very happy day together. And I hope you had good weather so you could go to the Cathedral and enjoy the service. How much I’d like to go with you. I know it is grand to hear the singing and they would have to sit on me to stop me from joining in.
I’ve just tho’t that perhaps I didn’t tell you that Frances and her boy came from Colorado to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas with us. So with them and the boys here we had a good time.
We have had no snow yet and very little cold. Have had it 7° above zero one night. Most of the nights about 18° or 20°. Sunny and warm in day time. Hope you are missing the severe winter you say they predicted. They have predicted that tho’ every year for 1921 years to my knowledge. It makes me wish I could pile a few loads of wood in your back yard. I’d either warm the rooms above 52° or I’d burn the house down trying. That isn’t comfortable. Guess it’s because the houses are new and walls damp. Hubert’s pictures of the prairie fire looked familiar to me. If only the line of fire extended several miles and the blaze running up the dead trees 40 ft high eating them up. Now is the time we are fighting forest fires but this year I have two active boys to help me. So I don’t mind. They are going to see me thro’ until all the woods around me are burned off then they will have to go. But we all hate to break up the party we are having such a good time together. Frances has been figuring on going ever since Xmas but she hasn’t begun to pack yet and she will be here for 10 days anyhow after she begins to pack. I shall be relieved when she gets her boy away all safe and sound. For I’m afraid every day that he’ll get lost in the forest. He’s so venturesome he takes his gun that Santa bro’t him and calls the dog and away they go hunting and in this dense forest he’s out of sight in a minute but so far he has always found his way back. But there’s a panther been seen and shot at within a mile of us and they might tackle a little boy like him, also timber wolves. I get so nervous when he hasn’t been seen lately. But his mother says “he’ll come back” and he does. Telling great tales of the animals he’s seen. He’s a wonderful hunter when he begins to tell you. Ha!
Wonder if you got the R. snake skin. Cyril shot a big hawk a few days ago. And I’m curing his claws or talons, his upper beak in the back of the hand and his lower beak in the inside and the hole measured 2½ inches from the edge of the hand so you can guess what a big mouth he had. From tip to tip of his wings measured 4 ft 6 inches. Their bodies are about the size of a good hen but long wings. We have so much trouble with them we never know just how many chickens and hens they take every year. I saw one a few years ago eating a big rooster alive. He had his breast eaten off and the rooster could still stand up. I had no gun but went & put the rooster out of his misery. I suppose we lose 40 or 50 a year.
Well! I’m yarning. Good by and hope ’22 will be better than ’21. We’ll all pull thro I hope. Fond love my dear old Sis. And better luck this year Hubert. And thank you for the photos.
* * *
My dear Sister & Hubert,
I’m glad that Sunday has come around again, a warm, cloudy moist day when one goes round to his favorite clumps of flowers to see if he can find a green shoot starting and to smell the ground. I said to Mama this morning early “Let’s get up, can’t you smell Spring.” The steamy earth sent a reminder in thro’ the open windows. We’ll have bad days yet but we won’t care, for they are now numbered.
But! What I started to say was, I’m glad Sunday has come round again so I can answer your good birthday letter. I don’t know where the postal department had held it, but it didn’t reach me until Jan 25. Had Lincoln stamp Jan 4, but was just 3 weeks coming but I forgave everybody when I had it.
First we thank you both for the good birthday wishes, for Mama and I went partners on them. I said “Help yourself to your share of these good wishes.” No! she said. “Let’s leave them all together and go partners on the lot.” That’s like her. I’m glad you were getting better of your cold obronstitis (?). I bet Hubert is a good nurse. Your photo shows that he takes good care of his young mother.
I don’t know what ails me, but I’m gradually getting better I think. Dr. can’t find any organic break down.
It is my opinion that the Flu’ hit me just when I had reached the “grand climacteric.” I don’t know whether your doctors believe in anything of the kind but many eminent practitioners here seem to think there’s something in it. 9 times 7 is 63. And if you have been strong thro’ life it will come a few years later. I was 66 and had never been sick for years. I was vigorous and elastic I never climbed a gate or wagon, could vault where I could reach. They say one weakens for several years and unless he dies he will gradually overcome his weakness and enjoy life again for a few more years and that’s what I seem to be doing tho’ I guess I must begin to be old. But it will be with a bad grace.
Am glad the snake skin came thro’ all right. I gave our little dog a pat for “Aunt Lois.” I give her lots of pats for she is a brave little dog. We call her “penny” for she’s so small. The big dog we called “Dollar.” But someone stole him. Penny weighs 8½ Lbs but is like a bundle of dynamite. Our bull weighs at least 15 cwt. and he’s pretty stubborn but when I tell her to drive him she jumps & grabs him by the tail and hangs there despite his efforts to dislodge her, and he has to go.
I believe a snake adds one rattle each time it sheds its skin which may be annually or oftener or longer, according to conditions of health. I often find empty skins. Some six ft long. All snakes appear to shed their skins every year about.
Pawpaws are a fruit nearly like a bannanna (sic). Soft pulp inside a leathery skin and very rich flavored. Too rich for some people. Fruit 1½” dia & 6″ long, grow in clusters, wild in rich bottom land.
Jacks and Jennets are male & female asses. We have two kinds. The Spanish which are quick trotters and lighter than the other kind which we call Mammoth. “Kentucky Mammoth” these are for large draft animals. But the Jennets are used only for raising Jacks and then the Jacks are used exclusively for breeding with mares to raise mules. It is seldom a Jack or Jennet is worked. Just kept for mule raising. I raised quite a lot of mules until the war, since which the price is too low. I sold some for war.
Many thanks for Daily News. Spotted the boys first thing. Mama’s uncle was head master of the Green Coat school at Leicester for many years.
Hope Hubert landed his Civil S. job. Know he’d be competent. Wish I could have sent him a four leaf clover for luck. I have one. I sent Harold one and he came thro hot fighting. When he felt the bullet plow a streak across his forehead he tho’t of his clover.
Frances & boy are gone home & H & C will go in a few days when they finish burning a strip around the farm to protect from forest fires. The farm is 2½ miles round it. So it is quite a job.
We are well and when Mama & I are alone again we shall still have a good time.With our garden & cows and poultry. We won’t count the Car I guess, for it’s too uncertain.
Fond love, bed time.
* * *
Dear old Sis o’ mine,
You wouldn’t let me forget my Bthdy, so I’ll pay you back. But if I looked as young as you I wouldn’t mind. Here’s wishing you “Many Happy Returns” and I hope I’ll hang around to enjoy them with you. We shall think of you when the day comes. Oh! if we could only be together. For I love you so much, Dear old Sis o’ mine. Just you & me left, and I want you.
Fondest love. Hello! my boy.
* * *
Dear old Sis o’ mine,
Your Birthday and I’ve been thinking of you ever since I awoke and that was early. Thinking of you as far back as the night you were born and came to Ivy Cottage in old Dr. Black’s bag. I remember it all for I sat on a little stool beside the kitchen fire and was awe-stricken in the presence of so wonderful a man, and do you know I learned some thing that night I never forgot. The old Dr. was washing his hands and Father got him hot water when I heard him say “cold water first, always wash in cold water first then you may use warm” and went on to explain why. I should be five then, but was learning and have been learning ever since and like Sis Oliver I expect to keep on learning when I am thro’ this perplexing life. — Then I remember you being very ill when a baby, and Mother had you on her lap day after day and often cried as she nursed you and I cried because Mother did but you got better and the next thing that stands out is a golden haired little girl standing on a seat in Chapel surrounded by bigger girls who were playing with and admiring you. And how I put my arms around you to prevent you falling and you were “cutting up” & saying saucy things and I tho’t you were the smartest and prettiest sis that ever lived. I remember all this and yet yesterday I couldn’t remember where I had placed an important paper a few days ago. I’m getting old for I have to keep an index to tell me where I have put things.
I imagine how you & Hubert are spending the day. Think he would find you a small bouquet of spring flowers for your corsage and persuade you to put on your prettiest frock and make a holiday of it. If you have the same kind of weather we have you will have to stay near a good fire for its an awful day outside. Raining for a week, everything flooded. One place it rained 10 inches in six hours and being in a valley the water swept some bldgs away now theres a high N. wind and snowing a few flakes. It’s hard on stock & I’m afraid it means goodbye to the fruit again for Peach & Plum blossom is out & the other kinds nearly so.
Re. Your clipping abt wireless music in London, would say the boys & I have had the Radio “bug” for 3 months past. We are seriously considering installing an outfit so we can enjoy the concerts, Lectures and Market & weather reports and sermons on Sundays which are being sent out by numerous broadcasting stations in all parts of the U.S. from Los Angeles, Denver, Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit & many other places and as we are centrally located we could hear any of them I think. We are trying to learn all we can about installing which seems quite simple. Wish you were here Hubert to fix it up for us as we shall be pretty busy until after harvest.
Your “Sing a Song” Hubert is the sentiment of a great many over here, it will take a generation or two to kill the desire for stimulants. I’m an exception. Gave it up years ago and forgot it without any trouble.
You hit it all right Lois with “Raymond.” I’ll run across the book someday & have a treat.
Thanks for the “Times Weekly” we were very much interested in Mary’s wedding. I had a feeling like she was one of the family. I have a sweet picture of her which is the best I have seen. i.e. the prettiest.
The newspapers here gave nearly as good an account of it as the W.T. and some of the same pictures. The evening papers on their wedding day came out with a detailed account even to that nice Fatherly address of the Archbishop of C. Wasn’t that good. I preserved it and on comparing it with the account in the Times Weekly I found it to be word for word and we were reading it that same evening it was uttered.
Have two incubators full of eggs. This is good weather to attend to them. I’m the incubator man as the boys sleep too soundly. I like to look at them every 4 or 5 hours, and as I never sleep longer than 1½ hrs at a time, usually 1 hour, it is no trouble to attend them. I drop off to sleep again immediately — We want to raise 300 or 400 this year like we used to do but I went & sold one incubator and now I need it. But I’ll have to get along somehow.
Have my garden made except tender things. Have radishes. Lettuce is (?) up. Have a big patch of potatoes planted. You see I do about all my gardening with horses. Never dig any and hoe very little. So I can garden about an acre.
I don’t seem to have any pictures to send this time. Here’s one of James, Frances’s boy who was with us all winter. I just dug it out of my desk. He has our little dog “Penny” in his arms. He’s so fat that when he grins it shuts his eyes.
That Dr your clipping spoke of is right “Keep at work.” I’m always better when I’m busy. Introspection is bad for any one.
Bye, Bye. Many Happy Returns. We all send our love to you both.
* * *
My dear Sister & Hubert,
I am a little slow this time as I rec’d your good letter May 3 after a slow trip over. But this is my busy time. I work pretty steady all week and on Sundays we either go or have visitors. We have the best road in this part of the State passes our farm so we have many callers from town. A procession from town Sunday m’ng & back to town Sun’y night. The “Creek” is about 1½ miles beyond the farm and they go there to picnic & swim. We have quite a little pleasure resort down there now. And always some of them turn in at our entrance gate to say “How dy!” and take back hands full of roses. I like roses. I wish you could see my “Jasquiminots” (?). They’re just lovely and all those old fashioned Ivy Cottage flowers just fit my garden. Alice said in one of her letters that Jim had hunted over California until he had at last found some “Canterbury Bells” like we had at old Ivy Cottage. So you can see we don’t forget old times. But the Miquonete (?) isn’t so sweet and the Holly Hocks are not as brilliantly gaudy. Or may be, it is “I who have lost my bloom.” — I spend most time tho’ in my vegetable garden tho’. Have new peas ready and are “piggling” a few potatoes while Lettuce & Radishes & Spinach & Onions are now old. We grow a number of things I never saw in England. I expect Hubert has a good garden for one has always something good for the table when his garden prospers. And it helps out both in purse & health.
I haven’t installed a Radio set yet. But two of the girls husbands have done so. Lil’s at Kansas City and Jo’s at Detroit. They say they’re fine. They sit at home and enjoy the full church service on Sundays and entertainments of various kinds during the week. Nearly always something to listen to and so never lonely. The boys don’t want me to get one they say the neighbors for ten miles will come & camp on us. Ha! They don’t wait to be invited. Like a fellow said to one of the boys last week, he lives 10 miles distant & the boy was at his place. “Tell your father, he said, I’m going to bring my horn & stay a week with him. I know he likes music.” — Say! I’ve a treat in store. Hope its cold storage, — and if we get a Radio set they’ll all have to come & hear it. Like when I first came here, an old fellow & his wife drove up on Sunday, had come to see the Piano. The old man said he’d never seen one. But he had helped to lift one once in a box. When he was in town, I showed it to them & they stroked it and I played a tune or two but the old woman shook her head she’d “rather have an organ.” — Anyhow, the boys have another hobby at present. They have raised about 400 chickens some of them large enough to fry and that interests me for we fry the young cockerels and they are about half of the number. It keeps the boys busy odd hours fighting Hawks, Snakes, Buzzards & rats all of which think they have a prior right to the chickens.
Papers tell of a hot spell in Europe didn’t mention England tho. It was 95° in shade here today.
Hope you are both well. Everybody O.K. over here. — Recd a note fm Mrs Autliff since receiving yours. Guess A.C. is pretty poorly hope she’s better by this.
Much love and a big hug. Wish you could drop in & have fried chicken & new peas. I love you.
* * *
My dear old Sis:
You’re just the best old sister to remember me and write me on Whitsuntide. Oh how you made me long to be with you and enjoy with you the lovely blossoms & flowers and have your company. I never wanted you and wanted to learn to know you in all my life as I do now I’m growing old. I often think of the large number of people I know owing to my railroading so long & meeting the public so much and still I never knew my own family. How much I missed by not doing so I have often realized but never so much as I do now you are all that is left to me. And I know I was a puzzle to all of you. But the early teaching, narrow & Puritanical as I often felt it to be bore fruit and kept me straight. I try to know you by your letters but to be with you and hear your sentiments on current topics would be so much better. You are certainly broader & more liberal and charitable to others than your early teachings would lead me to expect & I’m so glad. For we really know so little. The fellow who is so sure he is right that every body else is sure wrong is often bigoted & dangerous. So I think it is best to be charitable towards the efforts of the other fellow who is trying to do right as he sees it. It reminds me of an old tramp who called on us one noon. He stood at the front gate & hollered, Hello! I went to the door and he said, “I want some dinner.” I ans’d “What do you do for a living?” He came back at me as quick as possible “I do like you, the best I can.” His answer tickled me so I bro’t him inside & filled him full to the chin.
You remember sending me a few grains of wheat. It is just about ready to harvest after many narrow escapes of being lost. I carefully sowed it last fall & built a little fence around it to keep off any foraging hens & tho’t it safe. But in a few days we had a deluge of rain & when I went to see if it was washed away there it was in the middle of a little pond so I had to dig a drain & run off the water. Soon after a mole found it & plowed it up & down & I tho’t sure it would all die. But I pressed it down & put Lye in the runs to make Mr. Mole’s feet sore. I lost about half the wheat plants but the rest grew & came thro’ the winter & stooled out well this Spring. It grew about 5 ft high and I guess there is about a hundred ears matured but now my birds are feeding on it & I’m afraid they will leave me little. I’ve so many birds. Right by my chair on the porch a wren has her second family ready to fly & they take lots to eat. She wanted to feed them yesterday but Mama & I & the dog were all sitting in the way so I said “Let us move so she can feed the little beggars” & Mama laughed “What a man, to move for a bird.” Then I’ve two English Sparrows with a nest of hungry babies & half way up the garden there is a Blue bird’s nest. She has it in a hole in a post. I wish I could show it to you. She is like the wren. Uses the same nest every year. 3 or 4 years ago one of our cats climbed the post & put her paw in the hole & ate the young ones. That pronounced a verdict of banishment to Willow Springs for life for the cat. Then there is a pair of cardinals has a home close by but I haven’t found it. They are brilliant red. With a top knot on the males head, abt the size of a Thrush & lots more some bright yellow like a canary. They like the wheat so well I tell Mama I’m going to sow them a little patch near the house this fall. Two English sparrows help me in the garden by picking Colorado beetles off the potatoes. Then I’ve a dozen Lizards and one toad to help in the garden all good bug eaters. 2 Lizards are so tame they climb up my leg when I sit down to rest. One has had an accident some time & lost the end of his tail. I like to make pets of wild things. I hardly ever kill anything but snakes. And I can’t help killing them it seems. It sends a chill up a fellow’s spine to put his hand in a dark hen’s nest for eggs & touch a coiled snake.
Sorry to hear Hubert’s garden has such a hard time for lack of rain but we’re just the same. Our last rain was May 4th. We have had a little sprinkles since then but not enough to lay the dust or stop work. And I will copy our thermometer record for you for the past week. Last Sunday
June 18 100°
” 19 96°
” 20 90°
” 21 99°
” 22 102°
” 23 103°
” 24 105° all in the coolest shade we can find so you can guess what it is in the blaze of the sun. Crops are just about gone. We have little to show for our summer’s work. Meadows dried up. Our lawn burned brown & the forest is on fire every day. Somewhere in sight we have to be watchful or we would be burned out.
Good bye — fond love. Hello! & good luck Hubert.
[Note: Whitsuntide, also known as Whitsunday or White Sunday, is Pentecost Sunday. Traditionally, the newly baptized wore their white baptismal robes on that day, marking the end of the joyous Easter season.]
* * *
My dear Sister & Hubert.
Your dear letter of July 30 reached me Aug 10th. Was so glad to get it. — No! I don’t want Alice’s or Maxine’s letters just fire them. I asked A.C. to send them to you in order to get them back in the family. For she has a habit of hoarding up every letter she receives, so her brother once said. It doesn’t matter about mine but I’m more particular about others if I take the liberty of using them without permission. You see I try to entertain Anne for she’s such a “shut in” and I feel so sorry for her lonely condition. And sometimes when the day comes to write her I’m at my wit’s end to know how to amuse her when she is having a bad spell. When she is feeling better I can easily write. So I send her photos. Write her letter on picture cards & anything to give her a bright day for she’s been & is a staunch old friend to all of us. And they get pretty scarce and valuable at our time of life.
Maxine tells me of a nice boy in every letter she writes me. But it is always a different boy. Ha! Her last letter told me of being a guest at a Ranch near L.A. along with a bunch of girls & boys and they were horseback riding when her horse bolted & galloped a mile up a mountain trail and how one of the boys gave chase & rescued her. &c. &c. And the crowd teazed [sic] her about her “hero.” Oh! She’s a daredevil of a girl. When she visited me on the farm she was always getting hurt. But she’s a charming girl. Fit descendant of her grandma Kate. Not one particle like Margaret but more lovable. I encourage her letters for they might be from Kate. Winifred and Lillian have the same charming personality. The other girls are more reserved. More like you girls used to be. — Very nice, but “stand off.” Ha!
It’s a good thing your married life made up what you lacked at home. The first 20 years of life are popularly supposed to be carefree joyous years. In actual fact they are frequently years of greater misery than any that come afterward. Mine were but I’ve made up for it since and so have you I know. For fifty years I could take a prize for having had a good time.
I know that “frumenty” was good. Every time we thresh wheat I have to have some & tell the boys about gleaning. I tell them it would be nicer if I gleaned it instead of dipping it out of a sack or bin.
Fall is close at hand. It is very hot [illegible] 104° for two days this past week but one can feel the difference after sunset. [illegible] soon needs a coat or wrap then. There [illegible] dust on the weeds which line the road [illegible] grapes have purple on tree & trellis. Katy-dids with their monotonous song. Cornfields turning brown (Maize, not [illegible]) there & a thousand other signs tell [illegible] that Autumn is approaching. But all is beautiful in its changes. I want to quote Keats when I look at these hills, “A thing of beauty &c especially where he says,
“A sleep, full of sweet dreams & health & quiet breathing —
And then, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the Hills from whence cometh my strength,” for then they stand beautiful serene & steadfast. And so we see the seasons pass knowing that for us they will soon end but,
“The truer life draws nigher every year
and it’s morning star climbs higher every year.
Earth’s hold on us grows slighter
And the heavy burden lighter
And the dawn immortal brighter
We killed another rattlesnake this summer while Lillian was here. I cured it & gave the skin to Lil. For they are curiosities to town people even in this country. Harold got the first lick at it. So we credited him with it. I got the second & cut off its head with my hoe. Penny found it close to the back door of the house. Mama went to see what she was barking at and reached down to divide the tall flowers to see what there was. When it rattled & coiled she had a close call. She jumped back & called us to come & kill it.
I’m about stuck on Radio proposition Hubert for I find the storage battery will need to be charged every 3 or 4 days and I can’t go to town that often. I could put in a generator & run it with engine I guess but haven’t the time for that I’m afraid.
Good bye, fond love.
[Note: The right margin of one page was cut off when photocopied, which cut off some words.]
* * *
My dear Sister & Boy,
It’s too bad that your eye is troubling again. I think you said that it was some effect of rheumatism. We seem to be having a nation wide epidemic of “Tracoma” (?) which we commonly term “granulated lids.” The Drs. seem to be concerned about it and are organizing to combat the disease systematically but I hope that is not your trouble for it is so tedious to treat. Have you rheumatism in your limbs? I get it about once a year but it lasts only 2 or 3 days for I have some medicine on hand that knocks it out and then I am free for about a year again. So I get along fine, but I have trouble with my left hand shaking. “Paralysis Agiteus” (?) the Drs. call it. Have been bothered with it for about a year. The Dr says I’ve had a slight stroke of paralysis but I know better. I’ve had no stroke & tell him so. It is just annoying that’s all. My arm is just as strong as the other and I use it just the same but to write I use a heavy paper weight to hold the paper and sit on my left hand to keep it still. I have a Type-writer bought it thinking I could use it better than a pen but I can’t hit the keys good with my left hand often hit two and to write with one hand is too slow so I don’t use it much except for business letters. We are just growing old I guess and giving out a bit in spots. Every year or so I’ll go to my Dr & have him look me over thoroughly. The last time he spent abt an hour listening with his stethoscope & punching me & then he sat down & said, organically I should call you in good condition but you are developing nervous trouble “Neurothemia” (?) — nerve exhaustion. You see I have run in “high” for so many years that I seem unable to go slow. But perhaps I’ll learn when I have to. But I’m afraid of an arm chair. People easily get the arm chair habit & then “God help them.” As long as I’m physically able I want to take an interest in life and have a say in affairs. When I can’t do that I’ll soon quit.
You are having a political re-organization and I hope the change will be beneficial to business so H gets a show again. When you came as near fighting with Turkey I said it might make work for H & the thousands more in like fix. Surely business will pick up with a change in government. I think we are improving a little except farmers. If I wanted to sell cattle today they would offer me one cent per pound live weight. We just butchered a young 600 lb Steer and preserved about half in cans and pickled the balance. So we have our year’s meat provided.
I’d like to hear Dean Fry talk but I don’t get to hear any lectures out here. That’s why I should like a Radio receiving set. Just for the entertainment it affords. I should hear a concert every night either at St. Louis, Kansas City or some other town.
I hope your eye is quite well now and that you are enjoying this glorious autumn weather.
* * *
My dear Sister & Hubert,
Must get a note off to you today to insure reaching you for Christmas. I wish I could come instead and be a boy again with you. I received a letter from Alice this week and she mentioned Mother and you. I’d have been proud to show dear old Mother my family. I know she would have approved of them, but perhaps she knows. Tho’ I often doubt it. I wish I could have the happy assurance as to the future that some people enjoy, but I think too much.
But it is Christmas — a festival not a Sacrament — to be enjoyed in the present. Wonder if you’ll be together for one of the girls wrote that Hubert was working but I hope you’ll be able to spend the day together. If not I know there will be a good warm letter for you. Perhaps you’ll run over to B. [Brimington?] in order to have young folks around you. For they tell me you are young and full of interest in life and current events, that’s good! Wherever you are I hope you will have a Happy Day and enjoy it all. I think you will. We shall think of you and wish you and want you. We don’t expect to have any visitors except just neighbors. We are planning to have a “Radio” Party of neighbors to come and hear a Radio Program on our outfit. We haven’t received it yet but hope to have it installed before Christmas and expect to enjoy some good entertainment from St. Louis and Kansas City this winter. There is something broadcasted [sic] every minute of the day almost from 8 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. Market & weather reports and news of interest interspersed with lectures &c. And each evening there are several programs given and we can tune in to first one & then the other & hear Kansas City awhile. Then St. Louis or Jeff City or Springfield. I won’t need so many magazines now. Wish you could drop in. Dorothy’s husband installed one in their house and she says they sit up till one a-m listening to it. Now there’s Dot. Lill & Jo have each an outfit & we are joining them, and I look for the others to follow suit.
We are having mild weather so far and hope it will continue for zero weather is so hard on stock. We can keep warm in the house but the poor live stock get cold even in the barns. And the hens stop laying. And hens are our hobby. Just now the boys handle them but I like to see them. Over 200 all pure white look so pretty. I took 30 doz eggs to town yesterday and there will soon be another crate ready. You would get enthusiastic too I guess if you could hear them cackle.
I think you might be interested by reading Alice’s letter if you are alone so I’ll enclose it. Just destroy it when you’ve read it as I get a new one about every week. I haven’t seen her for 11 years I guess but I know what she does & seem to know all her friends & do know many of them. She keeps me posted on what they do daily & she & Jim get the farm news every week. Lill & Frances write every week too but Jo’ & Dot not so often.
Good bye dear. Merry Christmas to you & H. and a prosperous & Happy New Year.
* * *
. . . not near as eager for work as I used to be, but that’s only natural I guess as one nears the three score & ten mark. But I’m so glad to be able to work a little once more. I’m just building up fine, work steady every day when the weather permits and begin to feel again the old vigor and “snap.” I tell you it feels good after being unable to walk from one room to another. Am anxious to try plowing to see if I am strong enough. I think so.
There is some peach blossom and plum blossom out this morning. They will be one mass of bloom in a few days, but that does not insure a crop. They were hanging full of fruit last year when a late frost killed them. But we do hope for peaches for our supply, canned three years ago, is nearly exhausted.
We are getting 35 cents a dozen for eggs, let’s see that is 17½d. Did you ever try a solution of water glass to keep them in for winter use. We use it all the time. 1 part water glass (sodium silicate) and 9 parts boiled water, allowed to cool before using. It is cheap stuff and fills the bill O.K. We usually get 1 gallon water glass & 9 gals water, making 10 gals solution which covers a lot of eggs. But a quart might be enough for you unless I could furnish you the eggs at cost price, which I couldn’t tell, for the hens help themselves to any feed we have and we don’t bother to keep books on them. We eat what eggs we can & sell the balance. We get so tired of eating poultry that we sell a bunch and buy beef. I remember once two men drilled me a deep well & wanted to board with us while drilling it and several other wells in the neighborhood. I said we have run out of meat (pork) and have nothing but chicken. They laughed and said . . . .
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. . . never expect him to be loyal to the U.S. They seem to be brave and fight well in numbers when under command, but I’ve never met one who would fight singly unless he had a big advantage someway. A good front can cow them every time. There’s only one thing I admire in them and that is their painstaking thoroughness and that appears to be a national characteristic. They are plodding & thrifty, waste little or nothing.
Well my dear, I’ve chatted along and said little. But it will be a call and remind you of yr old Bro who loves you. Hope you & Hubert both keep well. Wondered if he got his Easter holiday & how you spent it.
Fondest love to you my dear old Sis.