Scope and Contents
The diary bears numerous handwriting styles, denoting more than one author. The farm documented in this volume featured truck farming, orchards, small grain crops, dairying, and hogs. A possible German or Amish influence is indicated, probably due to its proximity to Pennsylvania, with such products as cider, sauerkraut, wheat and hay being produced, as well as by products from hogs including sausages, lard, and pudding (scrapple). Curing and preservation of meat is documented as well.
All tasks of day-to-day life on the farm, by whom they were performed and with what equipment as well as the weather were recorded. The compiler recorded other such detail as which fertilizers were used for which crops, variety names, how much was paid to each hand who worked on the farm (in the case of tenant farmers, with firewood or cow pasture), names given to animals, and such things as laborers' travel to nearby towns to purchase goods and supplies. Especially descriptive are the parts of the diary relating to livestock, with entries for births, sales, and activities such as butchering, sausage making, curing and preservation of meat.
The farm was comprised of fields, orchards, meadows and gardens, in addition to a number of outbuildings, sheds, smokehouses, a barn, a stable, and a blacksmith shop. Maintenance of these buildings is described in detail in the diary.
This volume is rich in detail about the functioning of a typical American farm during this time period. It also includes an entry for the Fallston, Maryland earthquake of March 11, 1883 (page 95).