Monday, February 17, 2020

Book Review: Dust Bowl Diary

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31 and only partly cloudy this morning. As I write this, the sun is out and the day is warm enough for sweatshirts instead of coats. Lovely!

This is not a new book, but new to me. I must have bought it in a library book sale, as it has someone's name on the flyleaf.

The diary is the story of Ann Riebe Low, a girl of North Dakota, during the Depression years. Her grandfather came to the state when it was still a territory; her father continued the farming life, slowly building up a sizable farm and cattle herd. The family worked hard--I was astounded by the long hours and hard work that went on each and every day. Everyone in the family worked to improve the farm and to save money so that the three children could go to college.

The story begins in 1927 when times were still good--not perfect, but okay. There was money in the bank, crops were good, the land beautiful and bountiful. Then in 1928 a terrible hailstorm devastated the crops and farmers had to pull money out of the bank to pay off loans and mortgages. The bank failed, ahead of the great Wall Street crash of 1929.

As if financial worries weren't enough, the Plains were then visited by a many-years-long drought,  firestorms, grasshopper invasions, several horrific winters, and more. How people survived through all of it is the incredible true story told in Ann Low's diary as she grows up through her teen years in the dire conditions of the time.

Low's writing style is crisp and to the point. Interspersed with diary entries are her commentaries that provide context and fill in missing gaps in the story her diary tells.

This is a hard book to put down. I wanted to know what happened next; I wanted to see if she finally fell in love, if she got to finish college, and what happened to the farm when the government moved in to create a wildlife preserve.

When I finished Dust Bowl Diary, I had to find out what happened to Ann. The diary ends in 1938, leaving the rest of her life story a mystery. Being the curious person I am, I searched for her online and on She lived to be over 80 years old. I wish she'd written another book, to take us through the rest of her life, which surely must have been an adventure for such a free-spirited, independent-minded woman. That story apparently was never written, but her teenage diary is a historical treasure, and I am very glad she gave it to the world in this book.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Glasslovers Day

Thursday, 34 and raining.
Friday, 24 with scattered snow flurries.
Saturday, 15 with heavy frost.
Sunday: 34 and cloudy.

There. all caught up weatherwise. Saturday was actually our prettiest day, with the sun out most of the day. It warmed up to 44, but dropped quickly after sunset.

Saturday was the Glasslovers Glass Identification Day at the antique mall. I had a blast! My friend Rachel, who once had an antique shop herself, came to help me ID any glass that was brought in. We had no idea what to expect, if we would be overwhelmed or if it would be a bust. We came prepared though. I brought most of my glass library and Rachel brought her books too. I also brought along my laptop so I would have access to some of the excellent online resources.

We only had 4 people come in with glass, but two of them brought several boxes each--and about half of what they brought was pottery/ceramics, not glass! Surprisingly, a lot of people apparently don't know the difference.

We were only stumped by two pieces, so we took photos of those to do more research when we got home. I found those this morning, so all in all we did really well. Did we have any super-valuable pieces turn up? No, but a lot of what did come in was interesting, especially to me, the lover of old Early American Pattern Glass. Of course, there were several pieces worth about a dollar or so; if a person isn't into glass and looking at it every day, how would they know what was good and what wasn't?

I hope we do it again sometime. It was fun, and I learned a lot in the process.

Here's a photo of a bowl like one of my favorite pieces that came in. This bowl is from the Early American Pattern Glass Society's database, and was taken by collector Don Plank who is quite an expert on this kind of glass. This pattern is called Admiral, and was made by Beaumont Glass around 1899.

This one had me stumped for a bit. I found it this morning: Heavy Grape by Fenton Glass. It's hard to see, but there is a grape pattern in the bottom.

Today I am back to work on painting projects. Chicken is in the crockpot, and Larry is on the roof, repairing what we hope is the place that has been leaking. Fingers crossed!

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Pretty Dishes and Procrastination

32 this morning, light frost. Yesterday was 42 at morning, and rained or drizzled/misted all day. A good day for inside work, so I got down to something I've been putting off.

In the past couple of years, I've bought sets of china that have been sitting in boxes, waiting to be listed on ebay. I can be a world-class procrastinator, believe me. And I know why I'm doing it now: it's better than working on taxes!

So two sets are now listed, and I am working on the third. None of these are complete sets, so I have them listed by shape (platter, dinner plates, etc).

The first is this pretty blue and white set by Myott-Meakin of England, called Tonquin Blue.



Next, this gorgeous set of triangular art deco china by Salem China Company of the US. This shape was called Tricorne, but I don't know the patter name. I did not find any with this pattern online. I listed the platter, but might have to keep that one piece because I really like it.

Then there are these strawberry plates by Mount Clemens Pottery. These were hard to find online, none on ebay or Worthpoint, and the only place I found them was by looking at Google images. So not too commonplace.

Another mid-century lot, these green Anchor Hocking Sereno pattern bowls and teacups.

And now I am working on this lovely lot of Royal Doulton's White Nile china. This set is still in original packing for the most part, and appears to have never been used.

I should add that most of these are un-edited photos! I clean them up better when I list them on ebay.

There are still two other sets waiting to be done. Maybe I'll get them all finished this week? It's a goal, anyway, and a deadline--I do better with deadlines. So I'll set this one for myself.

Okay, back to work I go.

Copyright Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.
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