Farm hands fill an oxen cart with apples in the late fall
Dec 6th Saturday Mr Scott & Holbrook have finished
the first coat of paint in the storeroom &
stairway and porch. They commenced yesterday P.M.
Have been mending stocking pants &c &c
all day and waiting upon the painters they have
varnished the graining in the dining room
and painted the inside windows for the sitting room
Yesterday Evelina had sought Mr. Scott to do some painting for her. He and another workman, Randall Holbrook, had responded quickly, arriving at the Ames’s house by the afternoon. They continued their work today, painting and varnishing various areas inside the house. The day being “fair” if “cold,”* the men were also able to paint a porch outside. One might have thought that Evelina had already gotten everything painted; this kind of work had been going on for months.
Old Oliver noted in his journal that “the ground is frozen hard + carting is good” The unpaved roads in the village and beyond had hardened, enabling carriages, carts and wagons to move steadily around. There was no sinking into half-thawed, muddy ruts. As modern historian Jack Larkin has noted, “[W]henever it was cold enough to freeze hard, ‘winter was the time…for making journeys.’ The hazards of cold and storm were outweighed by leisure from farm work and greater speed.” **Pulled by teams of oxen, carts full of finished shovels could get moved to market to be shipped out, and raw material for the factory could be shipped in.
*Oliver Ames, Journal, Stonehill College Archives, Tofias Collection
** Jack Larkin, The Reshaping of Everyday Life,” New York, 1988, p. 221.