Wednesday, March 3, 2010


Of course -- strictly speaking -- this bridge, which takes on major proportions in a flat land where most inclines go down instead of up, is on the road rather than the farm. But this is the title of the album page.

The bridge goes across the Roaring River. The pair of photos were taken on June, 1920. This one says "East side."

The second photo does seem a bit vertiginous. In mud season it would take a little nerve and skill to keep from skidding down sideways. This snap is marked "looking West."

These oats are the reason people wanted to move to the Swan River Valley! The photo was taken in August, 1920, and the crop is sixty days old. I'm not sure which of the boys is standing out there, but judging from the hat it's either Bruce or "Papa." Since Bruce was six feet tall, the oats must be nearly five feet tall. Of course, this is the natural result of a first crop on newly cleared land. There was no chemical fertilizer in those days but the field would have had centuries of deposits of soil plus whatever the plants generated. Everyone assumed that this richness would continue unchanged.

July, 1920. "Our first garden." Seth seems to think they're raising cats. The parents raised big gardens all their lives, even in Oregon when they were retired. In fact, my grandpa had a fatal heart attack after a day in the garden. I have vivid memories of them out there with hoes and pith helmets. My grandpa was a great admirer of Rodale. No one in the next generation was a farmer, but some of the grandchildren turned out to be enthusiastic backyard gardeners.

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