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Week 12: August 30, 2001
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At School
  Logan and Connor in school.

Update from the field:
Connie Anderson, Researcher

It's a smoldering ninety-five degrees in Frontier Valley and snow seems far away, but winter is the pioneer's worst enemy and the Glenns have begun planning their defenses. Karen Glenn has ordered extra food at each store visit; now, supplies peek out from under her bed, and plump sacks crowd the corners of her small one-room home.

A few days ago, Mark began digging a root cellar in an old river bank behind their cabin. The cellar will be six feet deep and six feet wide when he's done shifting away the twenty-pound boulders and tons of compact gravel. He digs at night after he's finished haying, he says, "because it is the only free time I have left in the day." He began excavating three days ago, and hopes to begin framing a secure structure with rough-cut lumber in a week.

Once built, the cellar will be filled with root crops from their garden: potatoes, onions, beets, turnips, and their carefully hoarded supply of flour, oats, salt, honey, and a few cans of fruits. Mark also cut about three cords of wood --

"It is the only free time I have left in the day."
-- Mark Glenn on why he has to dig at night.

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Aine Clune sewing a dress for herself.
Aine's thoughts on frontier school. Read her profile.

School's Open

before breaking the handle of his saw -- and says he needs to cut eight more cords before the first snowfall. He's also cut about three tons of hay, he says, and plans to slaughter several sheep before the end of September.

Winter snows in this mountainous valley can begin as early as Labor Day, and the freezing chill often lasts deep into May. Seven months of freezing cold and deep snow can strain even the most prudent housekeeper's plans. In the brutal winter of 1880-81, for example, blizzards began in December and continued nearly unbroken until May. Temperatures were seldom warmer than 20 degrees below zero (Fahrenheit), and for weeks at a time the mercury stayed fixed at 40 below.

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