Monday, October 25, 2010

Peanut Stacks: Old School Farming at its Best

Brad called me one day not too long ago and told me that I needed to go take pictures for him. So I went. (Because I do everything he tells me to do. Um…yeah.) But I’m so glad I went because I learned a whole lot about old school farming. And Blair had fun. That’s always a plus!
So I drove to the location to which I was directed and immediately was in awe. In a small field next to a small house and repair shop on a highway, was an antique tractor and some huge brown piles. I’d never seen anything like it in my life.

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Blair and I pulled over to take the pictures and out came the farmer to chat. We got the whole scoop. These are stacks of peanuts.

This farmer is in the process of a project he is doing for fun – growing peanuts like they did way back when. He is using antique equipment, including Brad’s grandfathers peanut hay baler, and the farming practices to go along with them.

He planted a small dry land plot of peanuts next to his house and dug them them with this tractor and plow around the end of September.

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Under the engine of the tractor the digging blades are attached. Then the plow pulls the peanuts from the ground and sets them back down.

peanut stacks 100410 (43)peanut stacks 100410 (14)
peanut stacks 100410 (45)peanut stacks 100410 (42) Using the old plow, the peanuts look like this after digging – almost like they are still planted.
peanut stacks 100410 (58) Peanuts dug with modern equipment are flipped over so that the leaves are on the bottom and the peanuts on top. (These are pretty dry already, but you can see the peanuts on top!)

After digging the peanuts, he and some helpers used pitch forks to pick them up and stack them to let them dry. Each pole has two boards attached to it at the bottom. The boards form a + at the bottom of the pole, and it’s the + on which the peanuts rest.
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Nowadays, farmers let the peanuts dry in the field exactly as they were after they were dug.
peanut stacks 100410 (53)  These peanuts were dug with modern equipment. They have dried and are almost ready to be “picked” (by a machine of course).

Whereas peanuts don’t take very long to dry laying out in the field, the peanut stacks take almost two months to dry!
peanut stacks 100410 (9)The outside of the stack looks dry, but look at the green leaves you find if you dig in it a little!
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And the stacks are massive – taller than I am. And look at sweet Blair. She pulled off peanut after peanut and brought them to me to open.
The farmer showed me how the big boys played with him when he was little – by giving him a peanut earring!
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He plans on picking the peanuts just before Thanksgiving. It is then that he will use Brad’s grandfather’s peanut hay baler to bale the peanut hay. If I’m able I’ll be there to take pictures!
peanut stacks 100410 (46) Farming has come so far, but life is not much easier for them! There are now fewer farmers than ever feeding more people than ever.


Joe said...

This is a neat post. I love seeing the old equipment in operation. Thanks for sharing.

Steph said...

I'm so glad we don't have to stack all 150 acres of our peanuts! We have a neighbor who stacks his peanuts, of course, he only has a large garden full. I never really understood the point of stacking them, why not just leave them in the rows? Guess I should ask my neighbor!

Lynn @whispersfromwildwood said...

I ride by that field every morning when I come to work. Every time I see it, I think about my daddy. About 6-7 years ago, we did a family float for the Christmas parade in downtown was Daddy's idea. He had an antique tractor that he restored and wanted to put it in the parade with a float. So we did! Our float that year was themed, "A South Ga Family Christmas", and guess what he insisted we have on there? A peanut stack! I'd never seen one looked like a peanut Christmas tree - lol! We made a little red bard and all acted like we were sitting around a camp fire. What great memories!

Lynn @whispersfromwildwood said...

a little red "barn", I mean!

CHERI said...

Never have seen this before...very interesting!

mountain mama said...

wow. that is super cool. so glad ya'll got to see that!

btw, we are moving to idaho on sunday! :)