Almanack Contributor Reverend Daisy Mavis Dalaba Allen

Reverend Daisy Mavis Dalaba Allen

Reverend Daisy Mavis Dalaba Allen (1924-1999) wrote these essays as a part of her 1997 book Ranger Bowback: An Adirondack Farmer, about life on a farm in Baker's Mills in Johnsburg, NY in the middle decades of the 20th century. Selections from the book are published here with the permission of the Allen family and with the help of Daisy's daughter Kjerstia Allen, who supplied the family photos that accompany these essays. The original book was edited and produced by Ed Zahniser who, with Evelyn Schaefer Greene, raised the money for its publication. Ed has edited these essays lightly a second time for publication here, after digital versions were provided by Jan Reelitz. To order a copy of Ranger Bowback: An Adirondack Farmer, send $10 to Kjerstia Allen at PO Box 47, Bakers Mills, NY 12811.


Saturday, July 30, 2016

Ranger Bowback: Recycling Long Ago

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmHow fashions do change. Years ago we were thought to be the oddballs because of the togs we wore. We were taught to wear long sleeves. Many dresses coming into style in our younger days had short sleeves, so we wore shirts or blouses with long sleeves under our dresses. Maybe we were not in style then, but with today’s layered look many women are wearing similar outfits. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 23, 2016

Ranger Bowback: An Old Fashioned Johnsburg Kitchen

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmI recall my mother Hester Dalaba walking back and forth in our old-fashioned kitchen with her hands holding her stomach as she sang, “Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full into His wonderful face, the things of earth will look strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.” She was in pains now for the birth of her ninth child. None of her children had been born in a hospital. With her first, Violet, she had been living in a log house next to the house at Hillmount Farms that she and my father built. My sister Blossom was born in the home of Hester’s sister Lillian Morehouse, across Edwards Hill Road. All the other children—Pansy, me, Rose, Fern, Lynden and Oliver—were born here. Now the ninth, Carnata saw the light of day here too.

Mama was a strong believer in prayer and praise, and she could sing in times of severe pain. The kitchen was her favorite place and it became a chapel that day. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, July 2, 2016

Life With Horses, And Hunting Parties

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmThe Ranger’s brother Charlie did most of the horseshoeing and set many a shoe. Uncle Charlie was a little harsh. He expected obedience and may not have believed in ”horse lib,” but he could make and train a horse.

Nellie and Topsy were young horses Papa bought from his brother Wilber, who had a mare name Mabel and had raised these colts, a beautiful pair. Prince was a lovely horse Papa liked very much. We were a large family, and many times cash was not plentiful. Papa would get his supplies on credit at the Frank Thissell store in the village of Bakers Mills. Papa wanted to get the bill paid and made some arrangement for paying them $100 and the horse Prince. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, June 25, 2016

Ranger Bowback: Stone Boats, Snowdrifts, and Church on Sundays

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmUncle Charlie Dalaba was one of the helpers many times for sugaring. He was a bachelor for years. Then he married a lady preacher, pastor of the Bakers Mills Pentecostal Holiness Church. Esther Thomas was a city girl from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and before her conversion and ministry she had played in theaters. One name she mentioned was Helen Hayes, who was a child. When the opportunity for a part in a movie came, she listened. The child must have curly hair, which she did not have. Her mother thought her daughter would make a good actress and carefully curled her hair. Esther got the part and a movie career.

In the country, Aunt Esther Thomas Dalaba decided to learn what she could about her new way of life. One of those experiences led her to go watch the making of maple syrup. Aunt Esther was so large that walking was impossible. The men helped her onto the lumber wagon box and gave her a joyride to the back roads. Over the bumpy roads and swaying on the seat as the wagon wheel hit a stone, she laughed with pleasure and some alarm. What a good sport. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Ranger Bowback: His Horses and Labors

Ranger Bowback Cover - Adirondack FarmHillmount Farms on Edwards Hill Road was made of many rolling hills. The Ranger’s team of horses was his companion for many days of labor. The team drew the plow over the hilly terrain. There were several kinds of plows used by the farmers, such as the side hill plow, flat land plow, and sulky plow. The Ranger used the side hill plow most, for plowing deep furrows, turning the sod to the right as he went up and around and down a field. The next furrow overlapped, falling into the path of the one just plowed.

Long wooden curved handles were fastened to the plow for the farmer to hold onto. It was difficult for the teamer to hold the lines, so he tied them together and threw them over his shoulder. They dropped to his waist, leaving him in control of the plowing. The horses were well trained with “gee” to turn to the right and “haw” to turn to the left. The horses understood these words. » Continue Reading.