Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wistful Wednesday: 1940’s

I have a number of old snapshots of rural America. I was showing them to my Dad…sometimes he is the storyteller.

“In the 1940’s my Brothers George and Adolf would go over to Comstock ( Comstock is a little town south of Moorhead Minnesota.) They would pick potatoes there.

Picking potatoes DL Antiques They picked potatoes in a bushel basket and then dumped two baskets into a bag. I think they were paid by the bushel.  25 cents a bushel sounds about right.”

Dad thought that two men would walk behind the wagon and pick the spuds and then load the bags on the wagon.

These women in the photos have their huivi’s on and obviously brought a child along too. Huivi is Finn for a scarf or head covering. Those are potato sacks that they have tied around their backsides.

When we first moved to the resort back in 1986…I took the girls out with five gallon buckets to glean a potato field after the harvesters were done.  They complained the entire time..but we gleaned enough to last the entire winter:)

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22 comments:

  1. That looks like backbreaking work. I had no idea how potatoes were harvested. Do they still do it by hand or has it been automated?

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    1. Hi DJan, It is all automated now. The potatoes are lifted and put right into a truck and hauled out of the field:)

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  2. Wonderful story and great memories. :-)

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  3. Awesome photo and info ! We all need to remember the history of our areas its what makes it what it is today ! Have a good day !

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  4. All I can say is thank goodness for machinery. Being tall I can appreciate the back pain they must have gone through.

    Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

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  5. Great photo -- look at all those gunny sacks stuffed with potatoes in the background!

    The potato baskets that we used on the farm were different than the one in the photo. Ours were shaped metal, shaped like a bushel basket and had a swivel handle. Ah, the memories this photo brought to the surface.

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  6. What a great story. I would take my daughters strawberry picking but that's about it. I would have gone after the potatos too. My mother, however, picked cotton with her mother, when she was a child. That was hot, backbreaking work too. Plus those dried out cotton bolls were pointy and sharp.

    Anxious to see what others you have.

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  7. My back is aching looking at that. Thank goodness they have machines to do that now. Strawberry picking was bad enough for me.
    There are gleaners around here that volunteer for a church organization. They take the vegetables, dry them and make them into a soup mix that is used overseas where it is needed.

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  8. That is a great multigenerational story. When I think of gleaning, I think of Bible stories. That shows I'm out of touch with a whole big part of life.

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  9. As a young girl we pulled and cut the tops off of rutabagas for 25 cent a bushel. Don't think we have any pictures. Thanks for the memories. Ann

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  10. Great story but boy that sure looks like hard work!

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  11. That's so cool that you know the Finn for scarf or head covering. I wish I had learned some Swedish.
    That really does look like backbreaking work! I have only picked wild strawberries on a hillside in Wisconsin when I was a kid. We ate more than we brought back to the farm. ;)

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  12. I really enjoyed these memories and the photo!

    Taking some time away from posting, but I'll still be commenting. Take care.

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  13. So before machines, what choices were there? somebody had to pick up the potatoes. Yes, it was backbreaking work. I have a neighbor who still goes out to the potato fields and picks up his winter supply of potatoes.

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  14. Reminds me of trips to strawberry fields (forever?) in Oregon with my boy in tow to pick strawberries... and we picked apples... and cherries. Shortly after we moved here, a neighbor called and said "I have a bunch of green beans you can have if you want to pick them..." so I did, for several days in a row. She commented that "I called several people to come and pick them, but nobody wanted to do the work." Oh to be young again. Not sure my creaky bones could get up and down the rows now.

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  15. Oh my- I can feel the back strain just by looking at that picture! Reminds me of picking purple hull peas years ago- hard work.

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  16. Thank you. I now have a new word! I even went to a site that pronounced it for me! Your picture has also given me a farming gestalt!

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    1. Gestalt theory allows for the breakup of elements from the whole situation into what it really is.
      Yes I looked it up!
      Now I have a new word too:)

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  17. I remember this as the hottest chore I ever did 'round the old farm.

    What a great old vintage picture you have there girl.

    Have a blessed day sweetie!!! :o)

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  18. Very hard work. They did what they had to do back then though. Just the thought of it makes my back hurt.

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  19. Looks like back breaking work for sure! But there's nothing like homegrown potatoes...especially when you get to dig them up! It's like mining for treasure!
    What resort? Where? Did you run a resort in MN? I'm Irish too so loving potatoes just comes naturally! LOL!

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments! If you have a question I will try to answer it here. Connie