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Home Grown: German-Russian Farm Kids Remember "All By Hand"


Home Grown: German-Russian Farm Kids Remember

"All by Hand"

Joseph John Black

Interviewed: Knox, ND, 06 July 2006

Born: Berwick, ND, 06 August 1924

It was always so hot, and then during haying time we’d go two miles away where there was low lying areas and that had grass, we’d cut that with the horses and my mother would take the rake and bring what we cut and when the rake got full she’d bring it over to the spot where the hay pile had to be, then they’d rake all the hay and she would go out with two horses, bring in a dump rake full of hay and dump it, then my dad could settle it, make a nice brown area and she would bring in some more, dump it right beside that and he would pitch it onto that part until the stack got so high.

I would be in the middle of it tromping it down; sometimes my brother would be in there, Fabian. Then they would stack it like that and in the winter time when it got cold they would haul it all home with the horses and pitch it all. There was never any loaders or tractors or anything, it was just all done by hand. Hot days like today or windy days, when it was real windy they couldn’t stack it. Then my dad would just go ahead and cut the hay. And then they’d cut so much and then they’d wait and now today the wind isn’t so bad so we’ll stack it.

And that was all done by hand, but then later on as the years kept going, they had these buck rakes, it was a wide machine with teeth (motioning) this far apart, and had steel points on it. One horse over here and one horse over here (motioning) then I’d have to rake it and ma would take the two horses and the buck rake and bring in the hay. Then we had an overhead stacker. She’d bring in the hay, the stacker had a fork like this on the ground (motions) then when she’d come with that buck rake, and she’d push it in and back up, and I was the stacker driver. I had to always make sure that when she backed up there was always some loose that you had to take the fork and pitch it on nice, and then two horses would pull the stacker up and throw it on the pile. Dad would always be on the pile, when he got tired my brother Fabian would be on the pile to set it and make it nice so that the rain wouldn’t sit in the middle. You always had to have the middle full cause if you didn’t have the middle full it would take on too much water and you would have rotten hay.