My Dad was going through some old family photos recently, and ran across some fabulous 100-year-old snapshots of my great-grandfather, his parents & maternal grandfather, and some other relatives/family friends on a picnic in upstate New York!
July 4, 1918. Great-Grandpa George (front right, holding out his glass) wrote on the back of this shot, "On the Goodwin Road" and then carefully listed out the names of each and every person in the photo, in nice black ink. Photography was Great-Grandpa's (shown here during his college days) big hobby, and he documented everything nicely, thank heavens.
Doesn't that look elegant? It feels like they stepped right out of Downton Abbey, gentlemen in their starched white shirts and ties, ladies in frilly frocks (hats carefully hung on a fencepost in the background). My Great-Great-Great-Grandpa P. (seated on the fence, rear) even brought a newspaper along! They have little baskets and pails to carry the picnic spread, a glass decanter for the drinks and real glass cups, and just look like they're having a grand old time. Doesn't that make you want to go on a picnic?
A snapshot Great-Grandpa George took when they arrived at the picnic site, gentlemen in full three-piece suits and ladies showing off their magnificent summer hats...love those hats, ladies!
When I think of 1918, I think of World War I still raging on in Europe ("In Flanders fields the poppies blow/Between the crosses, row on row"), and of the Spanish flu ravaging the world. And yet, life went on as usual for at least some, although I'd imagine that most of my family members (shown here) experienced loss from one or the other of these two devastating events. History books often leave out the good times, the laughter, focusing solely on the notable wars, battles, and plagues.
There were good times, too! That's life for you, an ongoing juxtaposition of pain and suffering and laughter and love (and even some goofing off):
Great-Grandpa George (standing, wrapped in a blanket) wrote on the back of this snapshot, "Herbert [far right, seated] - wigwam keeper; George - Indian standing!" This shot provides a better view of the scrumptious picnic, which looks like it involved some fluffy homemade biscuits and fried chicken. Is that cider in the glass jug?
Are y'all ready to dig out your suits, best summer frocks, and biggest sun hats, and head out on a July 4th picnic now? Let's go!
P.S. A huge thanks to my Dad for sharing these fabulous photos!
Sadly, this precious wheelbarrow was not for sale...and the gardeners were on the lookout, so I couldn't just (very casually) roll it away...!
I was in Colonial Williamsburg recently, and had fun taking photos of what the historic preservation gardeners are planting in their early spring gardens! I spotted a number of different plants growing in the gardens: onions, garlic, herbs, lettuces, carrots, turnips, parsnips, endives, and clover (as a winter cover crop). The gardens were dotted with lovely glass bell jars, which were used to insulate baby plants from early spring frost (this is a great piece on the gardens of Williamsburg, with more detail on colonial gardening methods). Woven bee skeps, which would have been used as bee hives during the colonial period but are no longer used today (beekeepers had to kill all the poor bees to get the honey with this method) add an ornamental flair. The red lantern-looking contraptions providing frost protection for endives in the garden have me stumped: I have no idea what they're called, but the top rotates so the excess heat can escape during the day, thus preventing the lettuce from getting fried on sunny days.
You can click on any of the photos in this piece to enlarge them, scroll through and read my notes!
In their cold frames, the gardeners were starting cauliflower and many different kinds of lettuce.
Here are a couple more photos of these lovely gardens, which will be bursting with flowers and produce in a few short months (you can see what they will look like by May in my article here).
Isn't that wheelbarrow pretty?? I love that green color. Much more picturesque than the one I own, Lowe's practical in all its black plastic and rubber. Useful? yes. Aesthetically pleasing? No.
This garden is making me absolutely pine for a house with a yard. I miss gardening so much. If you (like me) are living in multi-family housing with no place to garden, then you can enjoy this vicarious gardening experience with me! Spring is on its way, and with it (if you have a sunny patch of lawn) all the fun of starting new garden projects: please click on the links that follow for my articles on my favorite seed catalogs, seed-starting, and the history of the kitchen garden!
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