Sunday, September 27, 2009

Murder Most Foul and Unnatural

Early in Bovina's history, in fact, in 1818, before there officially was a Bovina, an old man was found dead in his home. There were some suspicions whispered at the time about how he died. Neighbors noted the family's 'brutal conduct' toward him and his own apprehensions that his life was in danger. During the lying in, comments were made about the unnatural way the dead man's head lay on his shoulder. But nothing was voiced officially at the time. In April 1821, a coroner's inquest was held in Bovina. The inquest was triggered by quarrels within the family of the dead man in which the mother and her son and daughter traded charges of having done away with the old man. The body was dug up, testimony was taken, and the coroner's jury determined that the old man's son had broken his father's neck, with help from the old man's daughter. The son and daughter were arrested for the murder and jailed in Delhi.

So who were these people? And did they really do it? If you want to learn more, come to the Bovina Public Library at 10 am on October 24 to hear the whole story. And if you can't get to Bovina, stay tuned to this blog, where I will, once the official story 'premieres' at the library, fill in all the details (or as many as I've been able to track down....)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bovina Farm Day video

I put together several of the clips I took during the very successful Bovina Farm Day on September 6 and created a short video for YouTube. You'll see the setting on Crescent Valley Road, some of the livestock, the exhibitors and the people who came, all with my rather inane commentary. The person I'm speaking to at the start of the video about the goats on her truck is Evelyn Stewart, one of the organizers. She shows up later on a video of the hay rides. Enjoy.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Bovina Farm Day

It's a cloudy morning in Bovina as I sit in Russell's Store. Bea is getting things up and running and I'm catching up on a day and a half worth of Internet stuff.

So Bovina Farm Day. What a major success it was. At least 700 people headed up Crescent Valley Road for the day's festivities. The absolutely gorgeous weather (not like today's clouds) certainly helped, but so did the advertising. My role was to have a display about Bovina farming and to scan any pictures people cared to bring. No one brought any pictures, but I got a good amount of traffic from people with questions. And I had some aerial pictures taken in 1946 by Bob Wyer to share. People enjoyed those and were very helpful in identifying a couple of my mystery photos. And a classmate of mine, Marie Menke, noted that one of my pictures in the Cape Horn area was printed backwards!

Here are my semi-raw notes I took yesterday as the day unfolded:

10:45 am. It started out a bit chilly - 45 degrees at the house. I headed up Crescent Valley at 8:30, stopping at the Maynard School to leave off with Jan Bray a notebook of tidbits about the school. Evelyn Stewart, one of the organizers, got me set up in the big tent while others arrived with maple syrup, flowers and herbs (the dill smell is great), corn, onions, eggs, beef, and holiday trimmings. People came with pigs, rabbits, chickens (with some baby chicks), horses, cows and goats.

12:02 pm. The crowds so far have been very healthy. Donna Weber, another of the organizers, is thrilled and somewhat surprised at the numbers. She noted that yesterday, crowds started coming in response to a notice with the incorrect date. So there was some clue that there would be interest, but would they come a second day all the way up Crescent Valley? Yes they did.

1:09 pm. The crowds keep coming. It certainly appears that this has been a runaway success. No two ways about it. I’m not getting heavy traffic, but a fair amount of interest. The scanner so far is inactive, but this isn’t really a problem. There’s plenty to see, do and eat!

1:45 pm. Just had a debate over whether or not the 1946 picture of what was mislabeled the John Burns farm is actually the Draffen farm. We’ve confirmed it’s not the John Burns farm but no agreement has been reached as to whether it is the Draffen farm or where the heck it is. And the crowds continue to come. I’m just totally thrilled for the folks who worked so hard to organize this event.

3:30 pm. It’s actually starting to wind down a bit though folks are still visiting the vendors and I continue to get some traffic. It’s clouded up some, but still is lovely. I’m going to be really tired, but happily so.

3:51 pm. Speculation starts about how many came. It was $5 a car, so the car count is key. The official word from the folks collecting the money was 140 cars but likely more. That means over 500 people. All I know is that the hay wagon taking people down to see the Maynard School has been running almost continuously.

5:00pm Breakdown time. Everyone agrees that this was wildly successful. A final count of the money collected per car indicates that it is likely that over 700 people came. Vendors did a brisk business (including some from yours truly). I made a number of contacts and have already asked to be invited again if they do this next year. Today’s success likely will lead them to give it a try again in 2010.

So now it's on to Columbus Day weekend and the celebration of the Bovina UP Church's Bicentennial. But I'm also already thinking about what I might bring to share for the Second Annual Bovina Farm Day!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Bovina Farm Day is Coming!

Just a quick entry to remind everyone one more time about Bovina Farm Day this Sunday up Crescent Valley Road - once you get to Crescent Valley, just drive until you see all the activity! I'll be there with a display about Bovina agriculture and my scanner. If you have pictures of old Bovina Farms (or not so old Bovina Farms) please bring them to share. More information is at