I lived in Montana for the first 30 years of my life and never really noticed certain areas. I had been away for the last 28 years, before retiring and moving back home. I never had interest in discovering my area. All my time was spent working and taking care of children. Well those children are grown and now I have the time to experience the scenes and history with my mom. Since I’ve moved back home I take my mom out birding every week to see what we can see. Mom has been showing me areas close to our hometown and for the first time I am really seeing them. She looks for birds and I find interesting pictures to take. It’s been educational and learning the history of our area. I’ve gotten a few good pictures and have them framed and mounted them on the walls of my home.
Two weeks ago we ventured east and she kept talking to me about “beet houses” and the correlation to my dad and his family. They were migrant workers in the late 40’s and 50’s. My grandfather was a minister and because he had such a large family, they worked the fields to supplement their income. My dad and his siblings helped. The most prevalent crop grown here are beets. Billings has a factory but before the beets are harvested, my dad, his family and many families had many duties caring for the beets.
When a family was employed by a farmer, most of the time they provided a place for them to live. Mom calls these places now, Beet Shacks. The have all been deserted now, some having fallen to ruin but some are still standing. Vacant but provide a great history of our area.
Once we have a little more time for a drive she has promised to take me to the actual place my dad and his family lived. I can’t wait.