Saturday, September 23, 2006

Soggy Saturday

55 degrees and WET! Not a good day for sports, but yesterday was fine:

Waterville's Varsity Football Team played it's first home game on the super new artificial turf at Brothertown Stadium, last night, and celebrated with a 39 - 13 win over Rome Catholic!

With the weather's cooperation, the D.O.T. and TIOGA lost no time in designing, digging, forming and paving the sidewalks at the corner of Sanger Avenue and Park Place.

Amanda Briggs held "Story Hour" out in the Children's Garden at the Waterville Public Library while, inside, some not-terribly-fearsome scarecrows guarded the entrance to the Book Room.

Out on Main Street............

.......... the new steps in front of the Uptown Salon were unveiled and pavers were being set in place next to the newly-graded section of sidewalk at the front door of the Bank building.

I had a chance to speak with Mayor Jim Younes for a few minutes - I wanted to tell him how grand the new Buell Avenue Sidewalk is!! - and he told me three things that readers will be interested in knowing:

  1. 1. There WILL be a crosswalk indicated on West Main Street, probably at the "bulb-out" in front of the medical center. Not "accessible," but at least a crosswalk!
  2. 2. There will be some changes made in the curbing in front of Morgan's Hardware --- you know, the place where so many tires have lost battles with the granite curbing!
  3. 3. The Department of Transportation will hold a special Highway Reconstruction Project Celebration here in Waterville on Friday the 13th. (Details when they're available.)

Two special treats for me, last week: because I'd taken so many pictures of the gardens at the library, over the past few months, I telephoned the gentle and generous lady who provided for the gardens that have already given us so much pleasure and asked if I might mail her copies. (I wasn't sure of her New Hartford address.) We had the nicest conversation and she said that I could share it with all of you.

She told me that her late husband, Howard Lally, was born in Sangerfield and went to school in Waterville. (I remembered that "Pete" Peterson had spoken highly of his former student and she recalled her husband saying the same of his teacher.) His first job was at Waterville Textile, where he and his brother Kenneth were both employed, silk screening Charlie McCarthy T-shirts! From the Waterville mill, Howard went to work at Utica Knit. "Betty" was from Little Falls and ready to move away from home when she answered a Waterville Knit advertisement, took the job, and met Howard. "The rest," she said, "is history." When her husband died, eight years ago, the New Hartford Library was being built and she provided the garden there in his memory and when she heard that a new library was going to be built here, in Howard's home town, she said that she was/is "priviledged to be able to give this garden in Howard's memory." There will be a formal dedication ceremony at a date yet to be determined.

Back on September 11th I asked if anyone still made Elderberry Wine and my friend Valerie Schenk said, "Yes! My father does! Maybe I can get you a bottle!" And she did and now I know why that particularly soothing elixer has been a favorite - especially of old ladies! - for so long!

For Val and the vintner, Mr. Gordon Folts of Vernon,

Thank you both for your Thoughtfulness and Generosity!

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

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Friday, September 22, 2006

Friday morning, finally!

43 degrees at 5:30 A.M. Bbrrrr!

The Autumnal Equinox The date when the Sun crosses the celestial equator (i.e., declination 0) moving southward (in the northern hemisphere) and night and day are of nearly the same length.

Just when Bostonians were ready to send the Sox to sea with the tea......

WCS Boys' Varsity Soccer at Sherburne-Earlville at 4:30;
Varsity football vs. Rome Catholic at Brothertown Stadium at 7:00 P.M.

There's no shortage of weekend activities! Run down to Sherburne this evening at 6:00 for a MUSHROOM presentation at the Rogers Conservation Center; stop at the Waterville Historical Society tomorrow morning to check out Fall Festival History Weekend tours. On Saturday there will be a FFHW tour bus leaving WHS at 9 am going to 5 historical sites including Madison County Historical Society, Mansion House and Brookfield Historical Society and others, ending at WHS.

Remsen Barn Fest

Wheel Days at the Madison County Fairgrounds.

Or you could take to the woods behind the High School, set up your easel next to Dead Pond, and pretend that you're Albert Bierstadt! Bierstadt was one of America's most famous artists and his paintings hang in nearly all of the world's most prestigious galleries. So what was he doing with his paintbox at Dead Pond? Well...........

Albert Bierstadt was born in Solingen, Germany, in 1830. He studied painting in Dusseldorf and Rome (1853-57) before emigrating to America.

In 1858 he was employed by F. W. Landers to help him survey an overland wagon route to the West. His travelling companion was a young writer from New York named Fitz Hugh Ludlow whose even younger wife was ....... drum roll ...... Rosalie, the beautiful daughter of Waterville's leading citizen, Amos O. Osborn, whose impressive home stood right in the middle of Waterville, where the Post Office is now. As Bierstadt and Ludlow traveled westward, Ludlow spoke more and more of lovely Rosalie and the more and more he heard about her, the more Bierstadt wanted to meet her.

Shall we make a long story short? Ludlow was not the stable, stay-at-home husband that young Rosalie wanted, and after a scandelous courtroom divorce she married the wealthy Bierstadt in Grace Episcopal Church in Waterville in November, 1866.

On Osborn property was a small building that, according to the late Hilda Barton, had been the first frame structure in Waterville. Osborn turned that into a studio for his new son-in-law. In 1874, the Waterville Times reported that Mr. Bierstadt was a work on a very large canvas ---- and if you've been in the rotunda of the Capitol building in Washington you've seen it. There's an excellent book about Bierstadt's life in the Waterville Public Library by Gordon Hendricks and - of course - you can just "Google" their names to learn more about Rosalie, Ludlow and Bierstadt himself. A good rainy-day project!

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Thursday afternoon

Noticed on Babbott Avenue South

The fence behind the Rogers residence in the old Methodist Church on White Street must be eight feet tall, but Pat's nasturtiums look as if they'd like to climb higher and higher and higher!


  1. Mrs. Hill, across from the former Allen Acres Farm Stand, is getting a sidewalk!
  2. The stump of the ancient maple tree at the corner of Sanger Avenue and Park Place is being removed. (Picture in the a.m.)
  3. Pavers are being laid around the base of the new Rotary Centennial Clock.
  4. Paving on the Buell Avenue sidewalk has reached Mr. Mangan's house.

Tonight at Michael's - "Big D. and the Pickle" from 7 'til 10:00.

Thursday morning Supplement

O.K. We're back in running order, thanks to the in-house expert, and have also been for a morning ride-around.

A motorist on his way to work phoned quite early to say that Hutchings Tree Service was at the corner of Sanger Avenue and Park Place. That's the corner where the D.O.T. couldn't seem to figure out how to make the sidewalks handicap accessible because the base of the maple was so much higher than the roadway. Now we know how.

Down towards Sangerfield, where retaining walls have been built, the forms are being put in place for sidewalks.

On Buell Avenue - Route 315 - the new sidewalk now reaches beyond the Crowe residence. We expect to see Waterville's honorary Sidewalk Superintendent, Patrick Mangan, checking out the entire, luge-run stretch later today or tomorrow.

There seemed to be a high-level conference taking place on E. Main Street. Perhaps the subject under discussion was the "hole" in front of the Bank building.

No matter where they were, those work crews all looked cold: barely above 40 degrees, there was a cold rain until about 9:00.

Out on Sanger Avenue, one doorway is right in season! It looks pretty!

Just as nice to see - 'tho no warmer! - the gardens around the Library. Perhaps later today I'll go back and do what I've been meaning to do nearly all summer: count the number of authors and the titles of books on the stones in the center of the "Children's Garden."

Thursday morning

Garbage day, again!

It's "nippy" out, this morning ---- 40 degrees at 5:30 and now just a touch above 38 at 7 o'clock.

I apologise for the delay in posting: we - my computer and I - are experiencing the sort of technical difficulty (computer keeps turning off!) that can really ruin a day.


I received the following "GOOD NEWS!" report just after the WCS Boys' Varsity Soccer Team's first game on the new WCS Playing Field, last evening:

"The Boys Varsity Soccer team faced off against Sauquoit at 7PM. The boys had practiced only once on the new field, about 4 hours earlier. The consensus was that it was "pretty awesome." It was very cool to see the "rubber pellets" described in Wednesday's paper flying up slightly every time the ball hit the field. It was difficult to see in the stands, but those standing next to the fence had a clear view. The team pronounced the field very much worth the wait.

Final score of the game was 3-2 after two tense/exciting double periods of overtime. Mickey Heuning scored in the first period, David Bridge scored in the second to tie the game. Late in the second 10 minute overtime period, Sophmore David Bridge scored the winning goal. "

(Thanks loads, Lori)


I also had E-mail from Nannette, TIOGA's "Jill of all trades" with the Light-ip-the-world" smile, who says she loves the new clock, is having trouble adjusting to the new traffic signal (aren't we all?!) and said that Debby was spotted on another TIOGA jobsite "getting ready to pick up a jack hammer!"

Besides getting the computer problem worked out, we have a sizable projerct for today: Carol Aldridge brought us a HEAP of old newspapers - including alot pof Waterville Times - that she and her husband had found underneath an old limoleum floor in their (the Welch Sisters') house on Madison Street. The Waterville copies we'll save, of course; those from Utica will no doubt be "dispatched."

Until I can get pictures from my camera to a computer, you'll have to go and see for yourselves: at Rancho Cerritos, the Alpaca Ranch north of Waterville, there are babies! So cute!!!!

(More when something happens!)

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Wednesday Morning

47 degrees at 5:00 A.M. It doesn't look as if it's going to be a very wonderful day outdoors, but that should make INdoor projects more appealing, shouldn't it?

By Tuesday evening, people in Waterville were still sayng, "Traffic Light: Where?" "Oh! Is it On?" "I never even saw it!" But we havn't heard of any "fender benders" and a motorist who had driven up Route 315 to the village and was met with a GREEN LIGHT proceeded - for the first time ever! - to drive safely straight across the intersection to White Street without creeping out onto Main Street, first, to see if it was safe! (Of course, with so many people not realizing that the light is functioning, perhaps a little slowed-down caution woudn't be a bad idea!)

Even slowing down out in the countryside is a good idea, sometimes. If I hadn't decided to take a slightly different "scenic route" back into Waterville from the direction of New Hartford, I'd never have known this flower garden existed! (And I did come to a "screeching halt" when I saw it!)

I don't know whose beautiful yard this is, but I'll just say that I don't think it's much more than a five-minute drive from the center of town!

A Few "Social Notes" excerpted from this week's issue of the Waterville Times -

Mr. and Mrs. Dobmeier of Frog Park Herbs recently visited their son J.J. his wife Amy and grandsons Jack, age 3 and Luke, age 2 in Eagle River, Alaska. While there, they went to the Alaska State Fair and viewed the huge prize winning vegetables that are grown during Alaska’s summer days of long sunlight. J.J. has reenlisted for another tour in the USAF where he serves as a crew chief on large transport planes. He is finishing his 12th year in the Air Force and has been deployed to the middle east several times. They will remain in Alaska for his next four year tour.

The Thomas Quayles of Elmwood Avenue recently attended a special Musicbridge Festival Symphony Musicians in Concert presented by the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra. On the impressive program of performances (a copy of which is in hand!) are the names of composer/pianist Mr. Matthew Quayle and cellist Jameson Platt. The duo performed David Popper’s “Tarantella Op.33” and “Contradance,” composed by Mr. Quayle who grew up in Waterville, holds degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and the University of Cincinnatti, has received commissions from performers in Great Britain and the United States and is currently a doctoral candidate at New York University. Congratulations, Matt!

Mr. and Mrs. William Lew and Ms. Lurena McNamara, all of Sanger Avenue, attended a performance of “Fifteen Miles on the Erie Canal” - a 363-mile musical trip on one of the most amazing engineering feats of the 19th century through songs, stories, and history of this famous waterway at Beck’s Grove Dinner Theater in Blossvale.

For everyone in this area - this weekend is Fall Festival History Weekend for Central NY. All participating sites in Madison, Southern Oneida and Onondaga counties - which includes, of course, the Waterville Historical Society on White Street, which will be open from 10: 00 A.M. until 4: 00 P.M. on Saturday and noon until 4:00 on Sunday. On Saturday there will also be a FFHW bus tour starting from WHS at 9:00 A.M. going to 5 historical sites including Madison County Historical Society, Mansion House and Brookfield Historical Society and others ending at WHS.

And - in re: another article in the Waterville Times ........ Do you know where "Barton Avenue" is? (You won't find it on a street sign, yet!) I think that Madison Street is the only road NOT named for a person or family of some importance and, so, perhaps we should contrive a way to collect and write down the histories of the Sangers, Putnams, Osborns, Babbotts, Bacons, Buells, Congers, et al, especially for the residents of those streets and avenues.

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Tuesday afternoon

Between the new traffic signal - with lights facing both East and West Main Street AND Buell Avenue and White Street - and the new Rotary Centennial Clock, motorists and pedestrians alike are proceeding through the intersection with extraordinarily alert and observant caution!

Motorists driving either up or down the Buell Avenue Hill are slowing, too, to admire the L-O-N-G, gracefully sweeping curve of the new concrete sidewalk which now reaches from the Berrill Avenue corner to Mrs. Leigh's.

Although gray, this afternoon, it has not been as rainy as it might have been, and flowers everywhere seemed brighter.

Goldenrod and purple asters on Hanover Road.

(Blogger is going offline in a few minutes - scheduled updating - and is therefore running so slowly with a last-minute rush of postings from all over the world that I think I'd better hit "save," while I can, and post more pictures later.)

Have a nice evening!

The Clock is Up!!!

It doesn't seem to be running, yet, but it's truly elegant!

Thank You, ROTARY CLUB!!

Tuesday morning

63.3 degrees; blue sky, but it won't last long!

The Yankees will play Toronto, again, and the Sox will open a home series against the Twins this evening at 7:05.

Until I have some feedback from last night's Village Board Meeting, there's only one BIG story, this morning:

"Heads Up!" - the new traffic signal in the middle of the village became operational yesterday afternoon. Not everybody - infact, not very many! - people noticed it!!

The "Sidewalk Crew" arrived on Buell Avenue at 6:30. I'll be out and around to see what's going on elsewhere in Waterville.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Morning Up-date

Oh, Wow! The Buell Avenue "Sidewalk Crew" arrived at 6:30 - when it was barely light enough to see! - and now, at 9:00, they've moved down the hill removing old pavement as far as across the road from the Brown residence. I gather that the sidewalk will be relocated a few feet AWAY from the road: GOOD!

We're being amused (and gratified) that some of the workmen have been using "strong language" to describe the excessive speed with which motorists come around the curve at Mrs. Leigh's and presume to launch themselves up the hill to the village! We'd been noticing that sort of thing, too, and recall the fact that a Mrs. Decker, who lived toward the top of the hill, complained sufficiently - about twenty years ago - to have "the State" come out and measure speeds and determine a safe speed limit. Since then, the posted speed has been 40 MPH (ten MPH faster than the Village speed limit!) because 40 was the average speed recorded!

But getting back uptown ------ nearly as early as the sidewalk crew arrived, a truck from Madison delivered the granite base for the "town clock" - a gift from the Waterville Rotary Club - which will be put in place, soon.

Out toward Sangerfield, the stone masons are working on the retaining wall in front of the Harrington residence. I places where the walls have been completed, enough soil has been added to bring lawns to wall-top level. Mr. Evans, D.O.T. Landscaper, said that some types of shrubbery will be planted in wall-top borders.

Monday Morning!

Don't forget to put the garbage out!!

56 degrees and it's going to be another great day, but watch out!

A gentleman who lives on East Bacon Street is kind enough to write to say that his Humming Brids are still there --- usually they leave around the first of September. I asked if this was in any way an indication of Weather-to-Come and he has - equally kindly! - promised to let me know: next April!

The next cold front arrives Tuesday with bands of showers and thunderstorms producing locally heavy rainfall. Behind the front it turns blustery and cooler with highs ranging from the upper 40s over the higher terrain to only near 70 in the coastal cities.

It'll be nice and warm in Boston ............ and pretty darned chilly in New York!

Village Board Meeting at 7:00 P.M.
in the Municipal Hall.

Sandy Martin of Sangerfield wrote that she had spent some time, yesterday morning, making decorative swags from hops grown by her mother, Mrs. Furness, and that she'd developed an itchy rash on her hands and arms.

They don't show in this photograph, but I think that's exactly why Hop Pickers wore long-sleeved "HOP GLOVES!!"

All of the old photographs that I use in this blog are from the
Archives of the Waterville Historical Society as are Historic Writings

- like this one:

The Waterville Times
September 16, 1875

How They Enjoy Themselves
(From the Hamilton Republican)

At four o'clock A.M., or as soon as the first streaks of light flow from the east, the clatter of the hop wagons are heard. Every street of the town is visited, and clatter, clatter, bang sharp and anxious, sound the wagons, one following another through every street, seemingly on purpose to wake all sleepers, and warn everybody of the passing hop harvest. Pickers have to crawl out, very many of them, no doubt, yet wearied from the past day's work, and more still, by the past night's revelries, and they begin to "load up". All manner of vehicles are used, from the heavy lumber wagon, with boards across the box for seats, or perhaps a rack seat around the vehicle, to the many seated spring wagons, made expressly for the purpose, which carries from ten to thirty, perhaps, and the elegant platform spring wagon, which carries from five to ten pickers with so much ease and comfort. Then back they go through the streets, the clatter reduced to a rumble by the load obtained, with occasionally a shrill voice heard as some boy more than usually wide-awake calls to a mate, or a loud "Hollow" to call some belated picker to their work. The teams all passed and away, silence settles for an hour or so upon the village before those left at home resume their usual avocation, and those somewhat broken in upon by the encroachments of the hop-raisers who take not only all the available women and children, but often draw largely upon laborers of all classes to aid in securing the crop. With so many gone, the village seems half deserted until the return at night.
The various wagons, well freighted with pickers, hie away countryward one, two or three miles, arriving at the hop yards by the time it is light enough to see clearly, and the work begins. Hops picked in the dew lay up higher in the boxes, and fill up faster than those picked in the heat of the day. Those who go out this early, long before breakfast, "mean business." They work with a will, and many a picker, when hops are choice and the circumstances favorable, picks the larger part of a seven bushel box before breakfast, which usually comes about seven o'clock. Up to this time the yards have been rather quiet, but after the morning meal, and all hands have commenced the day's work , it is no uncommon thing for the song and jest to go round, for shrill voice to answer voice, and screams of laughter answer the cutting joke, the well told story or the pleasant song, and still the nimble fingers keep on, and pluck by ones, twos, threes, and handfuls, the aromatic, good-fornothing produce of the vine. What though the pestiferous insects abound, "hop merchants" are plentiful, or bugs, spiders, worms and such are thick was spotters. The delicate young lady, who in her parlor at home feels in duty bound to scream at one of them, now recklessly dashes them aside by scores, and covered to the elbows in "hop gloves" handles insects and worms with impunity, or with only a sudden quiver of disgust and fear. By high twelve, not one in the yard but welcomes the sensation caused by the summons to dinner. In the long dining room, constituted perhaps with due reference to such an occasion, the tables are elaborately spread. All the substantials and luxuries of the season are prepared. The one who sets a meager or poor table one year, finds it hard work to get pickers the next one, therefore if the housewife has skill and ingenuity, they are in full exercise now. the groceries have yielded their choicest stores, the fields and orchards have been put under contribution, and such a dinner, to be thanked on one side by a splendid tea and on the other by a sumptuous breakfast. Roasts and boils, beef, fish, land and fowls, with such gravies, beautiful, mealy potatoes, and light, snow-white bread, rolls, or bisquits form the substantials, while mountains of cake, oceans of pie, pudding, custards, and often creams and ices, all in the nicest, choicest style serve to whet and appetite which needs no stimulation further than the work in the open air, and the aroma of the hops so freely given. Dinner over, to the yards again, and the afternoon passes like the forenoon, each one trying to gather from the company the greatest amount of enjoyment. Supper over, and hour or two in the yards and encroaching dusk winds up the labor, but in many cases only opens anew the enjoyments of the season. The hop-wagons return to the village those they gathered up in the morning, and as they come in we often hear such roars of laughter which betoken free hilarity and boisterous enjoyment, and at other times it seems as if the throat of each individual in the load was about to burst with the streams of song and chorus with which they "drive dull care away."
With those who stay at the hop grower's over night, is now told the story of those trunks and marvelous large satchels and bags which we see with every party of hop-pickers which comes from abroad. Work over, and hour is given to dress and fixings. The metamorphose of the disagreeable looking caterpillar into the gorgeous butterfly is not astonishing. Silks and satins or more light and airy wardrobes take the place of calicos, bright jewels glisten, and of times gathered in a convenient place, from far and near, to strains of choice music, merry dancers glide, and "Soft eyes Look love to eyes which speak again And all goes merry as a marriage bell."
In the small hours of morning the dancers return to their temporary homes and with the advent of the morning sun, again attired in working garb, they pick, friend discussing with friend, and boxmate with boxmate, the scenes and incidents of the day and night just spent; and thus the days go over and over again.

(Click to enlarge Snapz and Photographs.)

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Sunday, September 17, 2006

"Hop Picking" 1902 by C.G. Brainard

The online ARCHIVES contain Amos O. Osborn's 1886 History of Sangerfield and also a small excerpt regarding the history of the Hop Industry.

This writing, however, is not not available on-line. I certainly don't think you should stop what you're doing to read it right this minute, but you might want to copy and paste it into a document to save for the Wintertime!

The writer indicates that the year is 1902. Could it be that "C. G. Brainard" was Charles Greene Brainard? If so, the paper must have been written when he was a fairly young man - perhaps in college. He and his wife, Marion, lived on Putnam Street and both were delightful and generous people. They were great friends with Dan and Mary Conger and Hilda and Edward Barton and all were prominent citizens and leaders in the community.

"Hop Picking," by Thompkins Matteson, was painted in the Conger Hop Yards in Hanover and is in the permanent collection of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute.


By C. G. Brainard

The picturesque season of hop-growing is picking-time. This begins about September first. That district of Oneida county, New York, lying near the village of Waterville furnishes probably the most typical condition. Here in the early history of the industry was the principal market. A record of the fortunes made and lost by the hop-dealers and speculators would make a story by itself.
September is a beautiful month in central New York, but if you have friends living in the hop-growing section, don’t write to say that you would like to visit them then, for you will most likely receive a polite note to the effect that it will be very inconvenient to see you at that time. Everybody goes hop-picking, servant girls and all. “Where are you picking?” is the common salutation. The wagons start out for the home pickers, as they are called (those from the village, who pick in near-by yards and return every night), at five o’clock in the morning. In nearly every home a light is burning, for some one or more members of the family are “picking” and have been up for an hour preparing and eating breakfast. All the pickers are at their boxes before seven o’clock. Few return home for dinner, but at the noon hour scatter among the hop-stacks to eat the lunch they have brought.
During the day the yard is filled with the shouts and cries of the pickers. First from one part of the yard, then another, comes the cry, “Hop-sack! Hop-sack!” - the impatient picker continuing her calls till the “yard-boss” finds her box. Her neighbor helps her hold the sack while the “boss” bends over the end of the box and, with a few well-filled armfuls, empties the contents into the sack. After tying the mouth of the sack tightly, he throws it to one side, to be later carried to the hop-kilns. If the picker happens to be a good-looking young woman she needs to be on the lookout, or, while the “boss” is punching her ticket, she will be taken unawares, caught up by the young men of her acquaintance, and put into the empty box, in spite of all her struggles.
The air of a hop-yard seems to be permeated with vigor, and a day spent among the hops will produce a most ravenous appetite. The quantity of vermin is about the only disagreeable feature of hop-picking. Luckily, none of the insects and worms are poisonous; they are merely annoying. There is one peculiar and rare insect commonly called the “hop-merchant.” Some seasons his scales are tipped with silver trimmings and others with golden. When the silver trimmings predominate, the saying is that prices will be low; when the golden predominate, prices will be high. This is a lucky year, and it bids fair for high prices, for the “hop-merchant” has golden trimmings.
Before the law restricting the import of labor under contract went into effect, some growers brought Indians from Canada into the hop-fields. They made excellent pickers. The work was not hard, and they kept steadily at during the week; then on Sunday gave up the day to lacrosse and other sports. The pickings done now by home pickers, foreign pickers, Italians and tramps, according to how a farmer is situated. If he is near the village he uses home pickers, going after them early every morning and taking them back at night. If his farm is two or three miles or more out from the village, and he has no accommodations for boarding help, he gets Italians. He furnishes them with milk and potatoes, and they do their own cooking. Bunks for them to sleep in are put up in almost any place. A shelter of some sort is all they require. The cow-barn, horse-barn or hop-house, whichever is most available is made use of.
The larger growers have “boarding-houses”, and employ either foreign pickers or tramps, as the case may be. “Foreign pickers,” as their name night imply, are not necessarily foreigners, but the term is used to distinguish them from the home pickers. The foreign pickers are men, women, boys and girls from near-by cities, who take this way to get an outing in the country, and are brought into the hop-districts by the car-load and even train-load. The middle of august sees the first of the tramp nuisance. Tramps generally reach the hop country two weeks or more before picking begins. As a rule, they have no money and subsist by begging from house to house in small groups, or gangs of twenty to forty encamp near convenient corn and potato fields.
In Germany, the hops are cured in the sun; in this country they are cured by artificial heat in hop-kilns. The filled sacks are carried by teams from the yard to the kilns. The kilns - one or more in number, according to the size of the farm - are attached to and form part of the hop-house. The hop-house is a store-room for the loose and baled hops. The kilns attached to them are circular or square in shape, according to the notion of the builder. The kiln is in two parts, the furnace-room and the kiln proper above it. The floor of the kiln is made of strong slats laid parallel, about an inch apart. The slats are covered with “kiln cloth,” a sort of jute sacking. The hop-sacks just taken from the yard are dumped on to this flooring about a foot thick on the level. An average-sized kiln will hold eighty boxes or sackfuls. A hot fire is started in the furnace below. The heat dries out the hops in about sixteen hours. Sulphur is placed in pans in the furnace-room and set fire to, which bleaches the hop and helps to yellow it. The steam and fumes sift up through the hops and out through and aperture at the apex of the inverted cone-shaped roof above the kiln. After the drying and sulphuring process, the hops are pushed off the kiln into the shore-house and allowed to cool, in piles. After picking is ended, a rainy day is selected in which to bale the hops; otherwise they would be so dry and brittle that they would become chaffy when pressed. During wet weather, however, they gather enough moisture to prevent this, so that they can be safely trodden into the press, out of which they come in bales ready for shipment.
A crop of hops is one of the most speculative products a farmer can raise. If he does not want to sell his hay or corn at the prevailing prices, he can feed them to his cattle. Hops he can neither feed to his stock nor eat himself. He must sell them to somebody at some price. Until this year for several years past, there have been such large crops the world over, especially in England and on the Pacific coast, that prices have often ruled below the actual cost of production. Previous to the big crop of 1885 there had been a period of short crops and a using up of available supplies, which forced prices in 1882 to the highest on record, - a dollar and a quarter a pound, - the “dollar year,” as it is called. That year the farmers found themselves suddenly rich.
A story is told of one woman, who kept hanging on to her hops and always wanting a cent or two a pound above the market. She figured that if she sold for fifty cents a pound, the proceeds from her crop would be just enough to pay off the mortgage on her farm. She wanted to repair and paint her buildings and five cents a pound more would allow her to do it, but when the market advanced to fifty-five cents, there was something else she wanted and decided not to sell for less than sixty cents a pound. At each advance her wants increased. She was finally offered one dollar and twenty-five cents a pound, which would have netted her on the eighty bales she had raised about twenty thousand dollars. The market had advanced so rapidly and steadily that even this price would not satisfy her. It is hard to imagine the excitement that prevailed. “Two dollars a pound,” was the cry. “Give us two dollars a pound and we’ll all sell, but not for less.” Many and many a farmer argued this way. This misguided woman was one of them. At one dollar and twenty-five cents the market took a sudden turn. Prices crumbled away and she finally sold at eighteen cents a pound.
There is, however, a legitimate side to hop-raising; and if the farmer will sell his crop when it is ready for market, rather than hold on to if for a possible better price, he can make his hops yield him very much more per acre than any other crop he can raise. The following balance-sheet is made up from the books of a successful hop-raiser and shows what profit can reasonably be expected from operating a hop farm.

Expense, Including Six Per Cent
Interest on Investment Receipts

From April 1, 1890, to 159 bales hops...........$11,469.75
April 1, 1891 ........$13, 448.12 Sundry items, including
Gain for year....... 354.37 dairy...............$ 2,332.74
................. ..................
$ 13,802.49 $ 13,802.49

From April 1, 1891, to 273 bales hops............$11,898.86
April, 1, 1892.........$12,417.00 Sundry items, including
Gain for year.......................$ 1613.18 dairy................$ 2.131.32
........................ ...................
$14,030.18 $14,030.18

From April 1, 1892, to 351 bales of hops $ 14,654.05
April, 1 1893 $ 14,089.71 Sundry items, including
Gain for year $ 3.326.90 dairy $ 2,762.56
........................... .......................
$17,416.61 $ 17,416.61

From April 1, 1893, to 358 bales of hops $ 16,631.05
April 1, 1894 $ 14,608.91 Sundry items, including
Gain for year $ 4,280.17 dairy $ 2.258.03
.......................... .......................
$ 18,889.08 $ 18,889.08

Total Net Gain for Four Years

1890 - 1891........................................................................$ 354.17
1891 - 1892...................................................................... $ 1,613.18
1892 - 1893........................................................................$ 3,326.90
1893 - 1894........................................................................$ 4,280.17
$ 9,574.62

In studying these figures, it should be kept in mind that the gentleman operating these farms had plenty of capital. this enabled him to fertilize and care for his crops during the one or two years of low prices, so that when a high-priced year came around, his land being constantly kept up to the highest point of cultivation, he was sure of a good yield. There is, of course, one danger a hop-grower has to face, - that of a total failure caused by blight and mold, but this calamity is so remote that it need be scarcely thought of. Everything considered, the figures presented above are very fair. They cover a range of four years, and none with prices above twenty-three cents, which is not very high. In fact, the present crop harvested in the fall of 1902 sold as high as thirty-five cents; therefore, considering all these facts, hop-growing as shown by the earnings of this gentleman is proved a highly remunerative branch of farming.

Sunny Sunday!

50 degrees on the nose, and it's going to be a beautiful Autumn day - perfect for whatever it is that you like to do outdoors!

Pull weeds in your garden, hike, paddle, just sit in a chair and read or lie in the hammock; drive around enjoying the scenery, go out to the Oneida County Airport and watch the Air Show or - have you ever tried Geocaching? -
It's a great outdoor and family hobby that you can do almost anywhere in the world, starting right near Waterville!

Baseball fans will probably spend the morning resting up from yesterday's double-header! Yankees and Redsox meet again, today, at 1:05 and 8:05.

The Blogger will be collecting more photographs of HOP HOUSES. This cobble-stone kiln is on Route 8, a few miles N. of Bridgewater.

And here is the Reilly/Gordon Hop House on Sanger Hill Road "BEFORE!" Slow down and see what it looks like "AFTER" a barn grant helped the Gordons restore it, a few years ago!