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"On Settlement Night, Harry always Had Fireworks."


Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Monday, July 30, 2001

The Art of Farming is a project of the Collaborative for Watershed Sustainability to gather stories about farm life in southeastern Minnesota before World War II. Stories have been gathered from individuals near Harmony, Lake City and Wells Creek near Red Wing.

"On Settlement Night, Harry always Had Fireworks."

Crops were different then. We had mostly grain, less corn, no soybeans probably. There was a big demand for wheat and barley (barley for mulching) and oats to feed the cattle. Dairies were nearby.

Once the cash crops were flax and wheat and rye. Farmers would take a crop to town and get money for them that same day. I know one of my uncles had oats, barley, wheat, rye and flax. He raised all of those crops. Very little corn.

There wasn’t much corn because it would have to be harvested almost all by hand, picked by hand. (yep) And the cobs were thrown into a wagon pulled by a team of horses. My dad said that when he went out to pick corn in the morning, he picked a triple wagon box which was 36 bushels in the morning, and then came home and shoveled it off at noon and went back and picked another load in the afternoon. That was a day’s work (72 bushels.) The animals ate it off the cob, and you usually had a little hand sheller you turned by hand for loose corn to feed the chickens.

My father owned the threshing machine and also the silo filler, for the whole neighborhood. They’d thresh all day and when they got done they’d have a meeting and settle up as to how many hours each had worked and then they’d pay my dad for the use of the machinery, so much per bushel.

But the help was exchanged. A lot of farms had a hired man so there were two men for that account-- this farm would have two, then the next would have one. Course then the single man farm would likely have to pay some cash. But it would generally come out pretty even.

On the settlement night, Harry always had fireworks-- eats and beer and cards, and there was always one guy that could never pay the bill but somehow he could play poker all night long. And sometimes we’d call the local bar ahead of time and they’d bring in a case of beer. The place would just give it to us. I wasn’t a patron of the bar, but most of those guys were. When we thrashed, the first thing we did each noon was have a bottle of beer. (Well a few farmers were dry and wouldn’t allow it, but... )

When I was 15, I started cookin .....
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A Big Woods Wedding

Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Monday, July 9, 2001

A medieval scene greets guests as they walk down green paths through open woods and across hilly fields to a small white tent with open walls. The groom could be Robin Hood, complete with his Merry Men, anxiously waiting f ..... 
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The Run Has Begun

Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Weaver Dunes Field Report Early Summer 2001By John LevellMonday, July 23, 2001

As Spring 2001 draws to a close, the season's exceedingly wet and cool weather is still cause for concern to those of us working on the Blandi ..... 
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Carrots do Love Tomatoes

Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, July 23, 2001

This week I would like to share some excerpts from the darling of companion planting, Louise Riotte's great book Carrots Love Tomatoes. This is the sequel to her very popular Roses Love Onions.

On ..... 
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Antiques and Classics

Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Monday, July 16, 2001

There was an antique and classic tractor pull in town last Sunday. As I drove into the field where it was being held, I thought there must be some mistake. These tractors are like the ones my father made his living with a ..... 
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Olympic Games With Chinese Tendencies

Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Monday, July 23, 2001

If you haven’t heard by now, China will host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. The country has been working for the last 10 years to get the games believing that the international spectacle will give China the prestige ..... 
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Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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Fri, Jul 27th, 2001
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