Mary Beekman is a four-year-old ghost who resides in The Beekman Mansion, and considers Brent and Josh her “imaginary friends.” Follow Mary Beekman’s Diary each week to learn what it’s like to be a young child in early 19th century America
The wind has turned and it is much colder than it was earlier in the day. Mother is very relieved she had given direction to bank the cellar. The cool air is coming in though the window sills, under doors and blowing on our feet. She claims that when your feet are chilled, the whole rest of you is cold also.
We all helped to gather large piles of cornstalks and leaves…as many as we could. Sometimes we even used sawdust. The boys and men who help on the farm stack these against the foundation on the outside of the house. They place the most on the windiest, most northern side. Then they place planks on the top to keep the leaves from blowing away. Banking the house keeps the food in our cellar from freezing during the winter and keeps our first floor rooms warmer. The cranberries are kept in a firkin of water in the cellar. If they should freeze, it does them no harm. Father likes cranberry tarts. I know we will have one on Thanksgiving. When the temperature turns cold, the flies disappear. Mother likes that.
I help Mother and the older girls to stuff the cracks around the windows and door with strips of old batting. I use a dull knife to poke the cloth down into the gap tightly. I am not tall enough to go all the way around the window. The bottom sill is my chore. There are some mornings that if there is a fine, dry snow that falls during the night, it seeks its way inside my window sill. That is the kind of snow that sparkles in the morning sun and looks like gems spread over the yard.
We sometimes have to fill long narrow bags made of cloth with sand to place at the bottom of a door. Mother rolls a thick piece of paper into a cone and we pour the sand very slowly into the sack. Josh said his hand was too wiggly to do it without spilling. I did it for him. Brent told us he could pour without using the paper cone. I wonder if I shall have to sweep up after him?