Saturday, August 28, 2010

Farming in the Colonies

The Englaish colonists during the 1600's and most of the 1700's were mostly farmers.  Daily subsitence came from what was grown or raised on the land, not the store in town.  Trips to town were made on an as needed basis, mostly once or twice per year.  In town, the things purchased were the staples that could not be grown.  Materials for clothes, shoe and sugar for baking.  Very little money was needed, most didn't have much, for the yearly trip.  All else was produced by themselves.

Some farmers were innovators, bringing from England grass species that didn't exist in the colonies like Timothy and Red Clover.  These two species alone revolutionized farming at that time, providing better nutrition to livestock.

They also brought with them the potato.  This was an excellent crop for the small farm due to the high yield and good profit. 

Families increased their productivity by exchanging labor, materials and goods with each other.  They even loaned livestock and grazing land to others and worked together to spin yarn, sew quilts and shck the corn.  Barn raising gatherings were common. 

Their life style was more than agriculture, it was survival.  They knew each other and listened to, then met, each other's needs.  This begs the questions, do we know our neighbors, their farms and their needs?  Do we work together, not in a communal effort, but in a neighborly way?  Do we see the strengths of others to draw from and do we see the weaknesses to help with, or are we bent on making a profit?  Is providing good, local food to others a business, or a ministry?  Is there something to be gained from the past to apply to our farms today?

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