19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today:
Wednesday, November 18, 1914: Today passed as other days. A few flakes flew this morning. Wish the snow would get down to business, for then I wouldn’t have to look after the cows. Today they went off to a neighbors and I had to walk after them.
Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:
Hmm—apparently the cows were still out in the pasture, but after it snows they will be confined to the barn. During past summers Grandma mentioned several times that she needed to watch the cows. For example, on August 26, 1911, she wrote:
Everything seemed to have gone wrong today. Hard to tell what the cause really is. I have to watch the cows, and I don’t like it but school will soon start and then that task will be ended.
And, on May 18, 1912 she wrote:
What a doleful calamity. I had to watch the cows this morning, I mean this afternoon. I’m afraid that this is only the beginning. They got into the wheat for me.
This is the first time Grandma mentioned watching cows in the Fall in the diary—and I think that it’s the first time that she mentioned it in 1914.
I remain clueless as to why the cows needed to be watched. It still seems like they should have been securely contained in a field fenced with barbed wire, but obviously they weren’t (or if there was a fence it wasn’t strong enough).