Sunday, May 25, 2008

Old Farm Resources

Back in November, I visited the Barnesville Antique Mall and cleaned them out of old agriculture books. I got a chance to go back today. The box of Jersey cattle registries was still there, but I was far less tempted to buy it this time. There were only a few new agriculture books.

The New Agriculture, by Henry Jackson Waters. 1924. A textbook covering crops, livestock, soil management and bookkeeping, complete with questions at the end of each chapter.

Horticulture Enterprises, edited by Kary C. Davis. 1929. Another textbook, discussing various crops: fruit trees, strawberries, grapes, onions, beets, asparagus, rhubarb, horseradish, celery, and mustard, as well as woodland management. Not only does this one have questions at the end of each chapter, but it also has field and laboratory exercises to complete. The book also came with a USDA Farmer's Bulletin tucked into its pages, titled "The Farm Garden in the North" (1922).

After picking through the book room, I wandered downstairs to the farm implements closet. There were some interesting old tools there, but nothing really caught my eye. I had hoped to find something useful in there, at the very least as a model.

The last section I looked in was the basement, where a lot of the things that weren't nice enough to go upstairs were stored. Boy, what a treasure trove down there. I found a sickle that was only $5. It was a bit rusty, but otherwise in pretty good condition. I didn't think to take a picture of it before I started cleaning it up, but here it is after sanding most of the rust off and applying a few layers of linseed oil. It still needs to be sharpened, although it's already sharp enough to decapitate a burdock plant.

I also found an ox yoke, but it was $65 so I didn't buy it. It was nice to be able to hold one in my hands and really inspect it; I now have more confidence that I can carve one based on instructions I found online. It was very small, so I guess it was for training young cattle. I don't know, if it's still there next time I visit I might go ahead and buy it, now that I've seen some of the prices for yokes and yoke components online. It would cost $200 dollars just to buy the curved bows that hold the yoke onto the oxen's necks! I guess $65 is a steal for a yoke in reasonably good condition.

There was also a hay rake leaning up against one wall. It had been broken and repaired with electrical tape, and there wasn't a price tag on it. I don't know how well it would stand up to actual use, but again, it was nice to be able to see how a hay rake is put together. That's something else I intend to try to make at some point.

All in all, it was a great trip to Barnesville.

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