From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Days of June

Summer arrives.



Some of the "Dusty Miller" in the yard has gone rogue. It's popping up in places where it isn't supposed to be. I dug up some of the offshoots last summer and potted them. They endured the winter in their pots, and this spring I planted some coleus with them. I'm enjoying the color contrasts, as a change from the petunias I usually plant.


This stream is somewhere between White Plains and Apex, probably in southern Hopkins County (KY). Dennis and I went adventuring today, and on the way home, we drove through some country I haven't seen before. I love new backroads!



This shot was taken through the window at one of the several produce stands that I patronize. The Mennonite lady who runs this stand put a couple of extra cucumbers in the bag. She said the vines were full of them and they'd be picking again in the morning.


I took this photo earlier in the month after a shower passed through. We could use another rain now. Where the grass has been cut short, it's starting to burn (go crispy).


Here's a sight that I look forward to every day -- the road to home! Our house is at the top of this hill. We've had a lot of 90° days already. The heat radiates from all the concrete and asphalt in town, but out in the country in the shade of the trees, it's always a little cooler.


These bright beauties grow at the end of a big cornfield. It was a nice surprise to see them. I couldn't see the field good enough to estimate how many acres of sunflowers there might be. If it's just a small patch, maybe  the farmer will leave them standing for wildlife.


This year's wheat crop in Christian County has been harvested. In most of the fields, soybeans have been planted in the wheat stubble. Some of the beans have already grown taller than the straw stems that surround them. A passerby doesn't need to guess whether or not that farmer has planted his beans yet.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Exploring the 1940 Census

Browse free of charge


US Census Bureau [Public domain]
I have been looking at several Nebraska counties in the 1940 census tonight, and it's been quite a trip down Memory Lane. The parents of my childhood friends were teenagers in 1940. My father and mother were 16.

You can browse the 1940 census for free at http://1940census.archives.gov/. Start by selecting the state, the county, and the Enumeration District (ED).  The 1940 street address will help you find the ED, or there may be a map or description of the EDs that will help. Once you've found the correct district, you can look through images of the actual census pages.

In northern Nebraska where I'm from, the populations were small. In most of the EDs, it's easy to find a name by going from one page to the next.  Rock County, Nebraska, for example, had just 16 EDs. A county map on the census site shows the ED locations. Of the county's 16 EDs, 14 of them have 10 pages of names or less.

In comparison, Christian County, Kentucky, had 34 Enumeration Districts.  A map of Hopkinsville shows the locations of EDs 1-10, but there's no county map for the remaining 24 districts. However, there are written descriptions of those districts' locations. Then, when the ED is pinpointed, there are up to 52 pages of names to look through!

And can you imagine trying to locate a family or an individual in hundreds (or thousands) of pages when you only know a vague location, such as "eastern Kentucky?" Most of us don't have enough time or patience for that sort of search.

Fortunately, the 1940 census is being converted from its original handwritten form to a digital database that can be searched by computers. Ancestry.com has several states completely indexed and available for search-by-name. Volunteers are indexing at the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project. According to Family Search, a participant in the Community Project, 68% of the 1940 census has been indexed in just 2-1/2 months.

I enjoyed browsing a few sparsely populated Nebraska counties tonight, but I'm waiting for the indexing to be complete before I attempt any serious searching. In a few months, the 1940 census will be much easier to navigate.

Sunday, June 03, 2012

400 Mile Yard Sale, 2012

Photos from the 15 miles we shopped


HydrangeasKeely and I spent most of Saturday visiting a small portion of Kentucky's 400 Mile Yard Sale along Highway 68/80. We got started about 8:00 a.m., and before we drove out on Highway 68/80, we went to a few yard sales around town.

I photographed these lovely hydrangeas while we were at an estate tag sale. The lady who was running the sale had marked each item slightly under its appraised price, and she was reluctant to negotiate. The house was crowded with shoppers, but everyone was leaving empty-handed.

Well, enough of that!  We decided to hit the highway!
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CONTENTMENT: Keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry, live simply, expect little, give much, sing often, pray always, forget self, think of others and their feelings, fill your heart with love, scatter sunshine. These are the tried links in the golden chain of contentment.
(Author unknown)

IT IS STILL BEST to be honest and truthful; to make the most of what we have; to be happy with simple pleasure; and to be cheerful and have courage when things go wrong.
(Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1867-1957)

Thanks for reading.