Monday, November 15, 2010

Draft Power: Fall work for the oxen.

Fall is a busy season for the farmers at The Farmers’ Museum. The last of the late summer crops are cleaned up and cleared from the fields. Our draft animals get used for a wide variety of work. Cutting corn stalks and hauling crops to the barn for the winter is one large job.

Oxen hauling corn:

Our oxen have also been busy hauling other crops. They have hauled the fall pumpkin and mangle wetzel (fodder beets) to the barn for winter cattle feed. The oxen also played a major part in our Tractor Festival in October to haul oats from the barn to the threshing machine, and then take the straw and cleaned oats back to the barn.

Oxen hauling oats:
Another essential task is to clean up the fields, plant fall crops, and prepare for the future. The ground in the fields needs to be plowed and harrowed to prepare for the next spring’s growing season. These activities plow under and composts crop stubble and prepare the soil for the next crop. Jigs and Buckwheat (the oxen) have pulled the plow and the harrow to condition the soil and make a smooth seedbed.
This fall our main field is planted to winter wheat. This hardy crop sprouts quickly in the fall and develops strong roots before the arrival of winter snow. It stays alive but dormant through the winter.

In the spring ,when the snow melts, these winter cover crops grow quickly. They can be grown to full harvest before any other crop is ready. The oxen will be used then to haul shocks of wheat in from the field, and to again plow the field for the next crop.

Jigs and Buckwheat at Field's Blacksmith Shop:
Jigs and Buckwheat have been put to hard work this fall.  They are now fully grown, and are learning to do real work.  They have plowed, harrowed, and rolled the fields and have done their duty hauling crops to the barn.  You could say they have been pulling their own weight around the farm!  Our next blog will look at the repairs we have done to the farm equipment at The Farmers' Museum in Field's Blacksmith Shop!

1 comment:

  1. Hey Steve,
    It is a pretty cool web-blog. You seem to really love your work.

    Drop me an email, it has been a really long time.



Blog Widget by LinkWithin