Frank Lillibridge, Adirondack Farmer

The Life and Times of an Adirondack Farmer

By Dr. Daniel Way 1933

Dr. Daniel Way, a Family Physician in the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, was of good fortune to cross paths with Frank A. Lillibridge. Frank wrote in a journal, documenting his life between 1933 and 1978 portraying a bucolic, wholesome, life-style.

In the winter he wrote of cutting huge quantities of wood, as well as trapping, and hunting rabbit, raccoon, fox, skunk, weasel, muskrat, porcupine, and woodchuck. In the early spring the family would tap 400-500 sugar maples and boil enough sap to produce 60-150 gallons of syrup each year. Frank wrote of boiling sap from 2 A.M. until 10 P.M., only to be relieved by his mother and father until his return early the next morning.

In late spring they grew tomatoes, apples, cabbage, parsnips, turnips, beets, onions, corn, string beans, cucumbers, squash, pumpkin, carrots, strawberries, and especially potatoes. They had dairy cows for milk and butter. They had cattle and chickens for meat and eggs. They had horses for hauling and plowing. In the summer, as the crops grew under their watchful eye, they would “poison” the potatoes to eliminate potato bugs and mow hay, which they would haul to town for sale or trade in Thurman.

In the fall they harvested, canned, and sold their crops and went back to cutting and selling wood. Sharpening blades, mending fences, taking the buggy to Warrensburg or Johnsburg for supplies, shoeing the horses, hauling manure, and feeding the livestock were year-round chores required to keep the farm in running order. The need for and use of money seemed of little importance. His meticulous bookkeeping reveals his 1934 expenses to be $40.78, while his income for the same period was all of $47.75. More often the time-honored practice of bartering was used to exchange wood for kerosene, potatoes for fruit, maple syrup for grain, etc.

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