Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Traces of Time -- About the book "We Sagebrush Folks" by Annie Pike Greenwood

The Greenwood School -- a land mark between Burley and Twin Falls (mileage markers 194-196).
We Sagebrush Folks - a book by Annie Pike Greenwood"
Farm life in the Magic Valley [1906-1924] near Hazelton, as evocatively described by Annie Greenwood in 'We Sagebrush Folks,' was cruel. Even with the new irrigation schemes, there was never enough water. After several wet years, 1919 saw a severe drought. The Twin Falls Canal Company supplied only 30% of its normal amount.
"Annie Pike Greenwood was the first school teacher in the Hazelton area. She was an educated woman who grew up in Provo, Utah, and wrote poignantly about early farm life in the Magic Valley. Her husband had dreamed of being a farmer, though he came from an upper class German family. They homesteaded in Hazelton in 1906, and soon after, the North Side (Milner-Jerome) canal was constructed.
"She said in retrospect 'The last thing in the world I wanted to do was to go on a farm.' It was never easy, and at times brutal, raising a family of four in beautiful, gentle yet harsh, rural Idaho. They lost the farm in 1924. 'We lost the farm, thank God!'
"She became a teacher and a writer who sold insurance and then worked for the Soil Conservation Service. The Greenwood home and the Greenwood Community School can be seen beside Interstate 84, east of Twin Falls. The Albion Mountains (her Minidokas) rise to the south.
Annie Pike Greenwood on farming near Hazleton (1934):
" 'Never were nights so sweet as those in Idaho. The air seemed to caress you; millions and millions of stars glowed in such a depth of the heavens as I have never seen elsewhere. Every sense was awakened, and soothed. Such was my first Idaho night.... Such was the last night I ever spent there. Such were nearly all the nights I saw and heard and breathed there.' (p. 23).
" 'All my senses resounded to that sagebrush farm. Never a day passed that I was not thrilled with the changing beauty of the vast cloud-filled skies, the purple and gold sunsets, the blue and white mountains, our gray and green valley, our own lovely, undulating farm, with its ivory wheat-fields, its green beet-fields, its purple-blooming alfalfa. I loved to go to sleep to the chorus of the crickets in the grass just outside my window, with its thorough-bass of the frogs down along the canal. The cool, delightful summer nights; the limitless stretches of clean, white winter snow.' (p. 170-171)
" 'The sweet November rain in Idaho, fragrant, musical, soaking the ground in preparation for winter, running in streams from eaves - intoxicating delight of calm, delicately gray November days.' (p. 136-137).
" 'I could see the road below, and the sight I saw will never again be duplicated-- a river of rabbits, running from west to east, the closely packed little animals moving like rippling water, on their way somewhere. And near at hand, because we were the invaders of the wilderness and not they, the sharp, staccato barks of the desert dogs, coyotes, and their long, maniacal wails. The sight, the sound, they struck a chill to my heart.' (p. 94).
" 'As I sat forcing myself to study after school, when I was already tired beyond my strength, I often lifted my eyes from my books, and there through the window, across the dazzling, alabaster snow, the cold, white Minidokas stood, monumental, veined with blue, a faint pinkish light illuminating them from the setting sun. 1 forgot the page I had been studying, and a chill struck to my heart.' (p. 94)..

For Connie. But other Magic Valley residents might be interested. Many of you have driven by the old "Greenwood School" which was also used as a Church, and a Community Center back in the day... (the building is on Interstate 84, between mileage markers 194 and 196).

I thought they were putting up a wrecker ball when we drove by Wednesday, February 17, so I called Connie, whose Dad, who lived in Rupert, had told her he used to go to dances there.  She drove over and found out the man who had bought it was having a well dug.  He and his wife bought it a few years back with the idea to fix it up to live in it.  But his wife passed away before they got it finished, and he's not done too much since then.  He showed Connie through it (lucky gal!).

I bought the book 20 years ago or so, and loved it. Kathleen Hedberg had recommended it to Walt and me.  I can't find my paperback copy now. But used ones are available online at several sites...starting at $3.81, and at there are 4 new hardback copies for $59.99.  It's a great read about life in Southern Idaho _______ (need to look up years).


We Sagebrush Folks Paperback – 

Published: January 1, 1988 [Reprint edition] First Edition 1934 D.AppletonCentury Co. 
by Annie Pike Greenwood  (Author), Susan H Swetnam (Introduction), Jo Ann Ruckman (Foreword)

·         Hardcover  from $21.39  7 Used from $21.39

We Sagebrush Folks

Greenwood, Annie Pike

Published by Caxton Press (1988-01-01)  First edition 1934
[Also re-printed by the University of Idaho Press]
ISBN 10: 0893011223 / ISBN 13: 9780893011222
New / PAPERBACK / Quantity Available: 1
From Cloud 9 Books (West Palm Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Available From More Booksellers
4 NewfromUS$ 59.9914 UsedfromUS$ 3.81

[Eileen’s note: The $59.99 one must be a “collector’s edition” or something.]

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