“Ploughed in with the bull tongue or shovel plow, brushed over by a crab brush or thorn sapling, and in many instances simply laboriously dug in with a hoe, it was a precarious crop, owing to freezing out, blight or rust.”
“We plowed for next year's wheat crop, and when the ground was ready for sowing we hauled all the manure from the barn yard and the hog pen ...We would take a bag and tie the string to one corner so we could hang it about the neck...and carry...about a bushel of wheat in it. We would catch up handfuls and sow them broadcast having first marked out the field into ‘lands’ of a proper width. A little practice enabled one to sow very evenly. We then dragged a heavy harrow over it.”
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“We would take the sheaves into the barn, take off or loosed the bands, and lay a ring of sheaves four feet or four sheaves wide all around the floor. We laid the first one flat on the floor, the next one with the heads upon the butts of the first and so on all around the floor. We thus had a ring of sheaves about four feet wide, with the heads of the wheat only showing, and a vacant space in the middle of the floor, of about twenty feet in diameter.
“We then put four horses, two abreast, walking around on the wheat, against the way the wheat pointed. After the horses had walked around sufficiently, two of us would each take a pitchfork, one on each side of the wheat, and turn it over. This we would repeat until the grain was all out of the straw, which was then raked off and stored as feed for the cows and steers during the winter.”Now the wheat needed to be separated from the chaff. It would be tossed into the air and clean in a coarse sieve. Then the wheat would be placed into the wheat fan. It would be run through twice. Here is an image of a machine made in the 1850's. It was run by a hand crank that created the fan to separate the wheat from the chaff.
|From American Farmer, 1854, p 225|
Robert’s wheat would also be used in the making of the whiskey he had on his premises. In all, I imagined it was hard work and most likely his slaves performed this work. Four men and two boys were listed in the inventory.
For a photo of an old wheat fan, check out this blog post with photos.
Copyright © 2016 by Lisa Suzanne Gorrell, Mam-ma's Southern Family