Category Archives: Mailboxes and Old Barns Essays

Ditches, One Car Accidents, and The One Hoss Shay

Our summers were usually dry and seldom offered enough rain to keep things green beyond July 1. There was one–just one summer in which there was enough rain that the water did stand deep enough and long enough in the roadside ditches to support a … Continue reading

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Lumber for Buildings on a Treeless Prairie

Terry, Montana is 160 miles south of where our farm was. The site where Terry is located was first called Joubert’s Landing, in recognition of the man who built a supply point along the Yellowstone River for freighters traveling from Bismarck, Dakota Territory, to Miles City, Montana … Continue reading

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Letters to Rosebud: Mar 31, 1926

Mar 31 – 1926 Dear Edith. Here we are at the last evening in this month. Tomorrow it is April 1 and I am going to be real careful that nobody fools me. I expect a letter from you, and … Continue reading

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Horsepower

Dad with his horses in the early 1920s My brother wrote this monograph about the family horses, including some more personal memories. Much of what he describes was well before my time, literally, as he was seventeen years old when … Continue reading

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Mailboxes and Old Barns: The Book

It’s been three years since I began working on family stories, putting my memories into word pictures primarily so that our sons would “know how Mom grew up.” About a year ago, friends who had the opportunity to read some … Continue reading

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The Farm Report: January, 1941

A detailed record was kept by Dad  every year that he farmed.  I have the originals of these books beginning in 1923.  They are precious for their historical value and the detailed portrayal of  Dad’s character, willingness to work and … Continue reading

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Letters from our Grandfather

Palle Lauring has a two-page discussion in A History of Denmark (David Hohnen, Host & Son, Copenhagen, 1960) in which he analyzes the historical reluctance of Danes to spend materiel, men or money in the interest of a constant state of military defense. This missing piece in … Continue reading

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Blank Places On The Map

  Old barns and all sorts of mailboxes were landmarks for us throughout short grass prairie country in our young years.  In the 1950s, a barn that looked like this one by Sunday morning became one of those landmarks after … Continue reading

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Haystacks and Hay Racks

Our hay wasn’t seriously good hay.  We knew by our early teens that real hay fields, like those in southern Montana, would easily put our hay to shame; but it was the only hay we had and when someone said, … Continue reading

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Going to the Drug Store

Dropping in unexpectedly on a neighbor or relative or Someone Who Lived In Town could be done in a dozen different ways and for a dozen different reasons. It was just a fun time of dropping-in-for-coffee when I would get … Continue reading

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Band Day in May: circa 1957

This gallery contains 9 photos.

The first Band Day in Williston, North Dakota was held in 1932 which was not a very good year. The Depression was settling in and making itself at home. An invitation was sent to high schools in the small agricultural … Continue reading

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The First Day of School

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Somehow it seemed that the first day of school was always a perfectly sunshiny day that still had the smell of wheat chaff in the air.  The hollyhocks on the east side of the house were so tall by this … Continue reading

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Grandpa Soren died this afternoon: June 13, 1956

This gallery contains 14 photos.

Mom and I were at the regular Ladies Aid meeting at a neighboring farm where they had a phone. I was playing quietly with my friends and then the phone call drew a line through the middle of the afternoon. … Continue reading

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Remembering When Crocuses Bloomed

This gallery contains 22 photos.

Making something for our mothers for Mother’s Day was a rite of spring in the classrooms of the 1950s. I hated it because I wasn’t good with dainty things and had no patience for tiny handwork.  The worst of all … Continue reading

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Summertime…and the livin’ was easy

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There was something special about the warmth of the car seat covers in spring and summer when the higher sun angle would have the 1953 Ford’s interior pretty toasty when we left to go to town. In preteen years I would instinctively … Continue reading

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Letters to Rosebud: March, 1926

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85 years ago, our parents were married on Sunday, April 10 in a little Danish Lutheran Church on the high dry prairie of northeastern Montana, about a mile from the little farmhouse where our grandparents raised eleven daughters and two sons.  Here … Continue reading

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Immigration: circa 1911

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This post is just a translation of immigration tips for Danish immigrants in 1911 by Holger Rosenberg in 100 nyttige Raad for Udvandrere.  Each piece of advice was followed by a shorter or longer explanation (which are not included here).  This provides a … Continue reading

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The Window At The Landing

About 2:00 in the afternoon on a very special summer day,  I would be sent up to the north window to keep watch. There is a little landing three-quarters of the way up to the second story where the staircase turns … Continue reading

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No Rush To Harvest

This gallery contains 11 photos.

Harvest, by definition, always came after a lot of work, after a lot of time, after a lot of growth.  There was no other way to do it. In early spring, the thaw would begin.  Weeks later,  the final snow … Continue reading

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Now That I Think Of It……..

 Strangers on our little red scoria roads in eastern Montana were met with the same suspicion as the unrecognized small plane flying north to south (more on that in a moment).  If I were an artist, I could paint my mother’s back as … Continue reading

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