Dale and Helen’s farm north of Ottawa, 1933 or 1934.

1934 was a hard year in the Great Depression.  Dale and Helen were beginner farmers in their mid-twenties, struggling to make a go of it east of Osceola, in south-central Iowa.  They use a battery-powered radio, so they had no electricity and they must also have used kerosene lanterns for light.  Dale travels around Clarke County on foot, on horseback, with a horse-drawn wagon, and sometimes in someone’s car – he didn’t own one.  People trade goods; barter was a common way to buy/sell items.  Family ties are close; people would get together almost every day for “dinner” – the mid-day meal.  Supper was the evening meal.   The daily entries are terse, but they still convey little vignettes of what life was like every day for a lot of people.  I have dropped a number of entries that add little or nothing to his story.

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