My barn is fairly well "decorated" with the basic old-fashioned farm tools so when I go to an auction I am usually looking for something a little out of the ordinary to help round out my collection. Two of my finds this year, in the "unusual" category are pictured below.
Seems like a lot of work to cut a whole field of corn this way! I'm sure it was but keep in mind a couple of things. First, the fields were a lot smaller back then than they are today. (A farmer was harvesting corn to feed his own livestock not to "feed the world" as he is told to do today). Secondly, in those days it was common for people to work together to accomplish big jobs, wether that meant the whole family working together or neighbors getting together to help one another. Not only did this make the work "lighter" for the primary farm owner but it also made the work more enjoyable for all, as the work was done amid pleasant conversation, laughing, joking, story-telling and yes even singing! ! The genius of modern American farming is that the joking, story-telling and singing in America's fields has been replaced by a lone and lonely farmer commanding a 500 HP diesel-fume-belching-beast in an ocean of corn as far as the eye can see.
I will probably never put up "loose hay" but I've thought about seeing if it would work on today's "big round bales". The hay in big round bales is like toilet paper - a big roll that just keeps going and going. When I've fed from big round bales in the past I've always had a hard time cutting the hay at the end of what I need for that individual feeding. Maybe this will help - we'll see. If not it will just have a home on the barn wall along with all the other tools from days of yore.
Modern American culture would "schbutt" (thats a PA Dutch word for "to make fun of") Paul for trying to teach his grandson such an "outdated" trade. But I tip my cap to him. I suppose they could just play video games together but Paul is interested in building more into his grandsons than just thumb and finger dexterity. He is trying to teach them the value of working hard, and learning a trade that may one day be of some value to them even if they don't become full-time blacksmiths. (What wife would not want a houseful of useful items that are hand-made with love by her husband?)
And so ended my most looked forward to "agrarian shopping" day of the year. I realized this year that I like going to these events (that are attended primarily by "plain people") not just for the fact of adding a few more pieces of "junk" to my collection but I enjoy being surrounded by people whose everyday lives are imbedded in agrarian culture. I like observing the older folks - those who have been married 50 years or more, whose faces and hands bear the time-honored marks of living an agrarian life. The men, strong and broad shouldered; and their wives, dark and tan, not from lying by the pool but from working in the garden to provide sustenance for the little ones they've borne. The children, happy and healthy mirror their Moms and Dads. Little boys wearing little suspenders and little hats; barefooted little girls wearing matching dresses made by their mother. There is something solid, good and wholesome about families and communities that are "rooted" in the agrarian way.
Thanks again for stopping by. Happy Gardening - tis the season! !