Boating in a plowed field

by kfrego

My Uncle Earl owned a family dairy farm on the road between Norfolk and Madrid. The house was across the road from the barn. Most of the dairy farms of the late 40’s and early 50’s had pastures for feeding their cows, fields for row crops and hay, and some sort of wood lot to provide firewood and possibly some maple trees for syrup and sugar.

Uncle Earl had been busy plowing fields in preparation for planting the years crops. This was late spring as the ground started to dry, but was still moist enough to provide easy plowing.

We went to visit and he was delighted to have my company while he tended the farm. He harnessed the team and headed for an area of mostly old discarded equipment. He backed the team up to what looked like a flat bottom sled with a curved up front and no runners. It was about 8 feet long and 4 feet wide. No telling what we were going to do with it.

Uncle Earl jumped on and motioned me to stand beside him. Off we went across the pastures. He explained that this was a “stone boat” and we were going to pick up stones in the freshly plowed fields. Each time the fields were plowed the plow furrows would turn up stones which might damage the harrows and seeding equipment while preparing to plant the crops.

As the team walked slowly we picked rocks, or in my case little rocks, until we had a load. The stone boat was pulled to the nearest stone wall between the fields and the stones were added to the existing walls. What a great adventure with my uncle.

Have you ever wondered how those stone walls got there? They were hauled on a stone boat and stacked by hand.

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