I hurried across the street, bought a cup of coffee, and carefully opened the first diary.

“Sun. Jan. 1. 1922” clearly written in delicate cursive script, a fountain pen with Kool-aid purple ink.  “10 degrees below.”  Brrr… typical for central Montana in winter.

“Did not get up as early as we should have,” continues our mystery lady, “but I did the upstairs work while Mama & Ruth were getting Breakfast.  We were very busy all morn fixing for our New Years dinner.  We had sweet & Irish potators, Fried Spring Chicken, squash, string beans, cucumber & Beet pickle, bread, Butter, gravy, Jello salad, cheese, Jelly, & mince pie.  Apples and Oranges.”

I could feel my own belly beginning to growl at this recitation.  Imagine the kitchen with stove fires roaring, women chatting and brushing past each other, the smell of chicken, taters, and pie, with 10-below weather just outside the window!

Below is a photo of the kitchen at Grant Kohrs Ranch, which was bigger, but gives you a feel for the magnificent stove that was the heart of any ranching kitchen.  Historic American Buildings Survey photo MT-39-A-19.