Celebration! And Food! (Five Ways)

What would a birthday be without a cake?! As we see in the postcard above, even the little birds are so charmed that they bring flowers to the table of the cats as love offering!

The Family Dinner, particularly on holidays, is the scene of many a celebratory expedition into foods. Often the theme is based on Excess. Dress and etiquette are part of these dinners, as is, in later years, the Football Game.

Drinking is often a part of some celebrations. It can be the entire point of a celebration, even. In this postcard there is not much food, but a lot of very active and alive forms of alcohol. There are only a few hot dogs flying out of the top of the Keg’s head, to munch upon if the need arises.

For some, the celebration may not be about cooking the food or eating the food, but rather about where the food comes from – in this case, the party-ers are communing with their cow in a field while extolling its wonders.

There must be something to this cow-and-field thing, for the sender of this card is quite loquacious.

Dear Sister. after so long a time I will try and send you a card we haven’t forgotten you all yet would have written sooner but so much to do always. We will soon have Winter Xmas is most here we want to butcher Soon Howard said to come up and stay a few day then with us. guess Maude and Chester are going to school. I heard from home last week they were well. Nute and Lizzie was at Wills last Sunday. Nannie is rite sick. Mrs. Shannon & I was to see her last week. Write soon Emma.

Anyone who fishes will tell you that catching a Big One is a cause for much celebration! The fish above is about to be chopped up by a man who didn’t even break a sweat while catching it, apparently. Will he keep that white shirt immaculate through the cleaning of the fish? (I rather doubt it!)

Nevertheless, there is always time to write of Victory, even if one is standing over a large sea creature. Here is his note:

Sis, – this is a picture of my first catch what do you think of it not so bad. I am having a good time Rulison

I wonder what recipe he used. It must have been quite a feast!


Blaming it All on Castaneda and Dreaming of a Burger or Two

(continued from previous post)

The rabbit was expanding and contracting like the throat of a mating frog, in and out, larger and smaller. The ants hidden in the tree were making little screeches hik hik hik. And Hiram saw the toes of his cowboy boots stretch up towards his chin, sharp and pointy and now each one with a flirtatiously blinking eye centered halfway down, near his knees.

“Peyote,” was the last word Hiram actually heard sounded as a word in his reeling brain. He’d taken the wrong kind of cactus out of his pocket, stunned by the fall from the tree, thirsty. Why hadn’t he wrapped the thing up differently??!

He reached out towards the rabbit, hanging onto it, weeping, ineptly banging the knife against it. He was hungry. And it was his peyote crop failure that had brought him to this. There had been plenty to eat while the crop grew strong and green, ready for market. He was the source. Man! He wanted some pasta arrabiata! Shit! He wanted some mochi ice cream! God damn it all why had that crop failed??? But no, it had not failed, it came to his mind. He had eaten it all. It was Castaneda’s fault, really. Ruining the marketplace with his failed authenticity!!! But who cared. What mattered was that this little local rabbit stew was seriously not where it was at!

His arms seemed to be filling with the jack rabbit. It was growing again. The fur was becoming coarser, strange smelling, and it began to snort. Round it twisted, snorting, knocking Hiram sideways to fall back against the ant-singing tree. He lay back on the knotted roots and squinted at the mystery which had once been a rabbit.

It had become something different, something magnificent, something . . . . meaty. Meaty meaty meaty lipsmacking meaty noises were streaming from the stinky beasts nose. Hiram smiled, panted slightly, and waited his chance.

Dear Folks

Well we are on the boat it is about 9 o clock Had a nice time at Lucy. she certainly used us fine just us up a fine lunch and seen Wills folks will write and tell you all about it when we get home. xxx Mae

(to be continued)

Giant Eggs and Tiny Men

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egg back

This is the way our hens lay without nest eggs. How are you getting along. why don’t you write. We sowed ten acres of oats Tues. E.H.B.

Elba, New York must have been quite a place in 1913 to have such giant eggs and such tiny men. It looks as if the men might have been hatched from the eggs themselves. I wonder what that chicken looks like!

This postcard was sent from the town of Elba to nearby Genesis. Could Clarence have been E.H.B.’s son, left home to go into the nearby area to work at a store or maybe another farm?

At first I could not make out whether the note said ‘sowld’ or ‘sowed’. But the date helped. In April the oats would be sowed . . . by someone walking through the fields by hand, with or without the help of a horse-drawn plow.

Elba remains to this day a farming community – it is home to Torrey Farms

Torrey Farms is the name of a large, 11-generation family farm located in Elba, New York, with another farm located in Potter, New York. It is one of the largest vegetable-crop farms in New York. The land itself, which is over 10,000 acres, is primarily muckland, which is drained swampland.

which has had its share of news-worthiness

The farm makes use of migrant workers. In October, 1997, 25 migrant workers from Torrey Farms were arrested and set to be deported by Immigration. This was one of the largest immigration raids in New York history and, along with other raids of the time, it casued a significant labor shortage on Torrey Farms as well as on agriculture in the area in general. Mareen Torrey, owner of Torrey Farms said, “I’m probably going to end up leaving $2 million worth of crop in the field and it’s adding up every day”

Elba had a few other interesting inhabitants in past times. John Brown was one of them

Brown’s body still lies a-moulderin’ in the grave in upstate New York, where he confounded even other abolitionists by treating freed slaves as social equals.

and another was Mrs. Anna Newman

Special Correspondence THE NEW YORK TIMES.
April 19, 1903, Sunday
UTICA, N.Y., April 17. — A former Philadelphia woman, Miss Anna Newman, a cousin of the Rev. Dr. Henry Van Dyke, owns a farm which has the greatest elevation of any cultivated land in the State of New York. It is located in the town of North Elba in the Adirondack Mountains, four miles south of the village of Newman and Lake Placid, where several thousand tourists gather in the Summer.

This story is fascinating!

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But back to those giant eggs. They say you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. Do you think if I broke those giant eggs open for an omelet a tiny little man would pop out of each one?

And what sort of taste would that omelet have if they did . . .