Farming

 

Agriculture moved in as the lumber business moved out.  Thousands of acres of cut-over land were now available to those willing to make the physical effort necessary to prepare the land for farming.  Not all of the land in Otsego County was used for agriculture.  Forest fires which inevitably followed most logging operations destroyed much of the land by burning off the valuable nutrients in the top soil.  Burned, stump-filled fields were a common sight in Otsego County and visible evidence of those costly and tragic fires of many years ago.

 

For some reason or another, we were unable to obtain very many pictures that related to early farming.  The few we do have are woefully inadequate to properly tell the story.

 

Slides 180 185

 

1.  This is a picture of what one of the early pioneer farms must have looked like. 

2.  The horse or ox was the only source of power on the first farms.

3.  A reaper or harvester like this was perhaps one of the first machines used to harvest grain.  A team of horses provided the necessary power.  The first threshing machine was brought into Elmira in 1878.

4.  Hay loaders eliminated some of the back breaking labor involved in harvesting the hay crop.  The first mowing machines were used in 1886 and the self-binder in 1889.

5.  Stationary gasoline engines and sometimes steam were later used as a source of power.

6.  One of the sweetest things about Otsego County is its annual spring harvest of maple syrup.  This is an early picture of the Pettifor family gathering the sap to be refined into maple syrup.