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Old 11-10-2007, 09:12 PM   #11
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Thanks, Bob. We have resident rat snakes and chicken snakes both. I've seen those chicken snakes pretty darned big!
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:38 PM   #12
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connie, my dad was raised on a farm in ireland in the 20's and 30's, so i'll ask about the potatoes.

i know they used livestock to pull a plow for planting and harvesting potatoes, and the harvesting was done in combination of a plow and workers hand harvesting with forks. supposedly, you didn't want it to rain for a few days up to and including the harvest because the ground was 10 times heavier when wet, which made gathering the spuds all that more difficult.
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Old 11-10-2007, 09:41 PM   #13
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Miss Connie....

On small family farms potato digging methods were determined by the size of the crop and the means of the family. Some had tractors, others had mules. The plow of choice was a Middle Buster or either a Turning Plow. The object being to get the plow underneath the potatoes and turn them to the top. There was always some damage, but on an acre of potaoes the object was to get them out of the ground and into storage. With 4-6-8 Kids in a family being the norm, on smaller plots they were dug by hand using shovels/potato forks etc.
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Old 11-10-2007, 10:19 PM   #14
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BT... Digging potatoes out of wet ground will also add to the decay rate of the potatoes. The old farmers wanted dry fall weather to dig in for that reason as well as the one you mention.

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Old 11-10-2007, 10:24 PM   #15
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My grandfather was born in 1910 and farmed all his life, here in Iowa! He passed a few years ago but I can ask my mom a bunch of questions for her to ask Grandma!

Where in Iowa???
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Old 11-11-2007, 09:02 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance
I'm also wondering if anyone has an idea of how many bushels per acre they could get during a good year back then. Iowa wasn't in the dust bowl.
Miss Connie....

During the period of time (1930ish) you are refering too, based on some gerneral information I have I would say corn production per acre was in the 25-35, maybe 40 bushels, (56 lbs/bushel shelled) per acre range. Ouite a contrast to the 166 bushels Avg. per acre for Iowa in 2006. This is due to improved genetics, and production technology. Fertilizers, weed & insect control, etc.
Hope this helps.
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:23 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angie View Post
My grandfather was born in 1910 and farmed all his life, here in Iowa! He passed a few years ago but I can ask my mom a bunch of questions for her to ask Grandma!

Where in Iowa???
Angie, that would be great! Grandpa's farm was near Bondurant, which, when I was a child was a wide spot in the road with a grain elevator, post office, general store and garage. Now it still only has a small population, but it is part of the greater Des Moines metro area.

One thing you might ask your grandma is about canning methods she used and what sorts of things they grew in their vegetable gardens. What did they eat in the summer, when there was no refrigeration to keep meat? Dad said other than chicken or meat their mother had canned the previous fall, they didn't eat meat in the summer. I've talked about fried green tomatoes, potato cakes, bean sandwiches, meat-spread from canned beef chunks, etc, but I'm running out of ideas.

I also wonder:
Did they dry any beef or sausages?
What kind of lady's magazines they may have gotten through the mail.
Did your g'ma make her own starch for ironing, or did she buy it in a box?
How did she hang her washing to dry in the winter when it was really cold?
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Old 11-11-2007, 10:58 AM   #18
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BT, how interesting! I'll bet he had lots of good stories!

Uncle Bob, you are a lot of help! Now that you mention it, I think I remember my dad saying something about 40 bushels per acre being a good yield back then.
I also appreciate the info about the turning plow.

Another question...would they have followed one root crop with another, or did they plant rye or something else to replenish the soil instead. I've got to get turnips and fall beets into the ground someplace.
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:26 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
Angie, that would be great! Grandpa's farm was near Bondurant, which, when I was a child was a wide spot in the road with a grain elevator, post office, general store and garage. Now it still only has a small population, but it is part of the greater Des Moines metro area.

One thing you might ask your grandma is about canning methods she used and what sorts of things they grew in their vegetable gardens. What did they eat in the summer, when there was no refrigeration to keep meat? Dad said other than chicken or meat their mother had canned the previous fall, they didn't eat meat in the summer. I've talked about fried green tomatoes, potato cakes, bean sandwiches, meat-spread from canned beef chunks, etc, but I'm running out of ideas.

I also wonder:
Did they dry any beef or sausages?
What kind of lady's magazines they may have gotten through the mail.
Did your g'ma make her own starch for ironing, or did she buy it in a box?
How did she hang her washing to dry in the winter when it was really cold?
Sure thing!
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Old 11-11-2007, 11:38 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Constance View Post
BT, how interesting! I'll bet he had lots of good stories!

Uncle Bob, you are a lot of help! Now that you mention it, I think I remember my dad saying something about 40 bushels per acre being a good yield back then.
I also appreciate the info about the turning plow.

Another question...would they have followed one root crop with another, or did they plant rye or something else to replenish the soil instead. I've got to get turnips and fall beets into the ground someplace.

Miss Connie,,,

I'm sure that Agronomist/Horticulturist of the day were suggesting Crop rotation practices much as they do today! To increase yields and to control some types of diseases. Whether or not this was done depended on each individual farmer. Cover crops of rye, or maybe hairy vetch, which both have good cold tolerance for that area may have been used to reduce erosion and provide a "green manure" when turned into the soil in spring. Planting the same crop on the same ground year after year will work, but sooner or later it will catch up with you with reduced yields and an increase of diseases. Sometimes however they had no choice. They were trying to make a living, and feed 6 children!
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