This is a great memoir! Adele Crockett Robertson takes over the family farm after her father passes away. It is the early 1930's, during The Great Depression. Adele doesn't want the farm to be sold...she gets her brothers to agree to hold off on selling it until she tries to make a go of the Apple and Peach orchards. She works extremely hard, and gets a lot of help, and makes some friends too. Just she and her Great Dane Freya, live in the house and make do with what they have.
This is a heart-warming story...you find yourself cheering Adele on, as her apples sell and she is able to hold on to her family home.
What a wonderful book! My only complaint is that it ended too soon. I wanted to hear more of her story. This is a first-hand glimpse into the trials facing the people who lived through the Great Depression. We get to see the desperation, the continual hunger, the help neighbors gave even though their pockets were also empty. Ms. Robertson's writing style flows like a gentle stream, and welcomes us to wade with her.
What a great story. This is the story of Kitty - born Adele LeBourgeois Crockett Robertson in 1901 in Ipswich, MA. In the early 1930s, Ipswich was 33 square miles and had a population of about six thousand people. Before the Depression, Ipswich Mills (then the world's largest hosiery factory) was the town's chief employer. Almost half of the wage earners were employed by the Mills until the stock market crashed and the world changed. It was then, after Kitty's father's death, that Kitty returned to the Ipswich to save the Orchard that her father loved. In this book is her story, her struggles, and her defeats. After you read it, I wouldn't be surprised for you to think "gosh, I thought I had problems but they are nothing compared to the life that Kitty had".
I found her description of her beekeeping experiences to be really interesting. On one occassion she describes how she got a call from a neighbor who said he had "a few bees" in his atttic and he wanted her to get them out. She had to climb a ladder past the third floor windows and cut a hole in the side of the house to get access. More than 10 feet of space was "almost filled with monstrous combs, fastened to the ceiling, walls, and floor" . "There were a number of colonies living in the attic, each with its own queen and armies of workers, hundreds of thousands of insects". To remove the bees from the attic, Kitty had to find the Queens. Actually she had to find the correct queen for each colony. Kitty went to town and bought "a whole stack of twelve-gallon pails". She then proceeded to scoop up the honey comb, honey, and the bees into a bucket. She lowered the bucket down to the ground as the bees swarmed around their honey. "The pail hit the sill of the window on the second floor, tilted and the honey and combs poured down the side of the house". Kitty filled 20 buckets with, as she called it, "an unappetizing mess".
In her apple and peach growing business, Kitty at one point had 4500 boxes of apples in the cellar. But this was during the Depression and other people also had apples to sell. Life was not easy. In Kitty's last winter on the farm, the temperature went to 24 degrees BELOW zero. Could life can any harder?
Like I said, Kitty's story makes you appreciate your own story more. It was quite a book.
I enjoyed the book but was disappionted that it was not finished by the mother in which the memoir was written by. It seemed I was just getting drawn in when it was over. I admired the writer for her courage,strength and endurance. Had the Depressionnot been going on I have no doubt she would have been successful. I especially enjoyed all the explanations about caring for the bees,and all the work it took to run a large apple orchard. I would have liked to hear about her life after the orchard, and how she came to marry and the raising of her daughter. Maybe the daughter will write a book.We can only hope.