Friday, September 4, 2009


"Friday, Sept 4, 1926:
Len & Ruby had an early dinner and then went to Warren Fair. Called a little* on way home at the Aunts’. After they got home Mr. Brandt & the agent for the separator they had on trial came. There was such a stew to get milked so they helped milk our cows. Supper had to go to grass and so be and etz*! Then he didn’t get no cream!

We put up eight quarts blue plums or prunes and wasted 1 qt by breaking the jar. Also baked and ironed."

One of the comments from readers of Lillian's Diaries was that there were words and/or sayings that they had never heard or that they did not understand. In the next book I plan to footnote meanings such as;
*called a little means to stop in and visit for a while
* etz. is her abbreviation for et cetera
What do you think? I have also added some words in her text to make full sentences.

When I first toured the house and barn{Pictured at the top of this entry and showing the very tiny windows that I had written about.These were only on one side of the barn just big enough to put a gun barrel through and can be seen on either side of the square opening - if you really squint)I found about a hundred - maybe more - of the canning jars like the one Lillian mentioned above that broke during the canning of the blue plums.

It was not a pleasant task, but I collected as many as I could to take home with me. Unfortunately, all kinds of little critters had made their homes in these jars. I found clear jars, aqua jars, green jars - pint jars, quart jars and 2 quart jars, some with bales some with glass covers. The prize was two very old ones from the
1800's. Some were stacked in paper boxes that had all but disintegrated other were strewn about hidden under clumps of matted hay. I am sure that this was but a small amount of the jars Lillian, Ruby and their mother, Amelia, used for canning throughout the years. When you read her entries throughout the Summer and Fall of each year almost every week they are putting up some sort of food item and she always tells us when a jar has been broken,as if she felt it were very precious.

3 comments:

  1. Carol Jean "Trudgian" SmithSeptember 10, 2009 at 10:51 AM

    I think the "footnote" idea is great! I didn't know what "etz" meant and some of the saying are a bit different than what we hear today. Each time period has there own "classic" sayings and wordages(like, is that a word!?!) that unless the older generation still talks that way it might become lost to the next generation.
    Carol Jean "Trudgian" Smith

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  2. I always have my dictionary at my side...and some of the words she uses are not in the newer dictionaries. I am going to search out an older one and see if they are listed in it.

    Lona Dittmar commented through email [she is having difficulties posting comments] "I like the blog and I love the way you are doing it w/entries from Lillian’s year that correspond to the date of the blog."

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  3. Pat Gilmore's email comment on the blog. Pat is the family historian for the Dittmar side of Lillian's family and lived in Galena at one time; "I'm enjoying your blog. You've mentioned the slits in the barn wall a couple of times, but I think you're inaccurate in your assessment of what they were used for.Having been raised in the area and working for many a farmer over the years I've seen these slits in their barns, as well, always at the top of the rock foundation and usually in the area where livestock were kept, but sometimes around the entire barn. As I mentioned before, the story about Indians visiting these farms is unlikely because all Indians were kicked out of the state of Illinois in 1832 after the Black Hawk War, a full 20 years before your Trudgian family came to the state. These barns were not fortresses, they were storage places for hay, oats, small farm machinery, harnesses and saddles, and farm critters of all kinds and sorts. In the winter when it was frigid outside many farmers kept their valuable livestock inside for much of the season, and the dank and smell of these animals was often overwhelming. The farmers couldn't open the windows or doors for extended periods of time due to the cold, so small slits just big enough to allow air movement were built into walls to facilitate airflow throughout the barn. I would check with some of the farmers in the area next time you're there to see if my assessment is correct."

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