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Checkered Years: A Bonanza Farm Diary…
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Checkered Years: A Bonanza Farm Diary 1884-88 (Borealis Books)

by Mary Dodge Woodward

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This book, which was edited by Mary Boynton Cowdrey, and is sort of subtitled "Excerpts from the Diary of Mary Dodge Woodward Written While Living on a Bonanza Farm in Dakota Territory During the Years 1884 to 1889" consists of excerpts from a diary which Mrs Woodward kept during the time she lived on a farm owned by her cousin and operated by her son Walter and her son Fred. The farm is in Cass County and Fargo is the county seat of Cass County. It is a bleak life which Mrs. Woodward describes. She seldom left the farm, which was a "bonanza farm" meaning that it was a big operation and when wheat was sowed and harvested there were many persons engaged in the operation. Mrs. Woodward had the help of a daughter and usually a hired girl, but she worked very hard and the weather was an overwhelming presence. According to Mrs. Woodward the thermometer they had only showed minus 40 degrees and often the time was colder than that. The diary is sprinkled with poetry quotes and the family read a lot in the winter. I found the book full of amazing facts and marveled at the hard life which Mrs. Woodward endured. The illustrations are authentic photographs and a great asset for the book. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | May 16, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0873512375, Paperback)

Mary Dodge Woodward, a fifty-six-year-old widow, moved from Wisconsin with her two grown sons and a daughter to a 1,500-acre bonanza wheat farm in Dakota Territory's Red River valley in 1882. For five years she recorded the yearly farm cycle of plowing and harvesting as well as the frustrations of gardening and raising chickens, the phenomenon of mirages on the plains, the awesome blizzard of 1888, her reliance on her family, and her close relationship with her daughter. She noted "blots, mistakes, joys, and sorrows" in her "olf friend." This Borealis edition brings back to print a valuable record of a frontier woman's life.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:34 -0400)

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