Reading your post, I have new respect for my ancestors doing this work.
Many of them lived into their 80's who were born in 1805 for example. They
worked hard and had basic foods.
On the outskirts of Belfast, I went to an outdoor museum I would recommend.
You walk along in a village like setting to see different buildings such as
a schoolhouse, a printing business, and a Royal Irish Constabulary barrack.
There is a home there which is from Fermanagh.
There is also a display building telling about all the different kinds of
shovels used for different jobs. Your posting reminded me of this
particular building. I think there were over 40 kinds of shovels
On Fri, Oct 18, 2019, 8:11 AM Viola Wiggins, <vmaw3434(a)gmail.com> wrote:
Debbie and Jim,
One aspect of using non-mechanical hand tools to till the soil, cut the
grass for Hay, Corn for Bedding and animal feed, or to grow Potatoes for
the family, was that at the base of the fingers on the palm side, and at
the base of the Thumbs, the person using those tools developed 'blisters'
which healed over time into patches of thick hard skin over time.
The 'Two Handed Scythe' was a cutting blade, set at right angles on a wavy
shaped shaft, with Two adjustable handles which was adjusted so that the
blade was flat to the ground as the operator swung it from side to side.
There was a small hole at the shaft end of that blade. And when cutting
Corn, a wire or rope was attached between it and the nearest handle. That
kept the straws of cut corn upright and each sweep of the Scythe cut enough
to form a Sheaf, which was bound together by a second person, with about 5
straws wrapped around and twisted together tightly, before tucking the ends
under that wrap.
6 Sheaves were stood upright together, 3 each side, and again Bound with a
few straws put around near the top to form a Stook. They would stay in the
field before being brought for Threshing. Which in the olden times was done
by hand with Flails.
They were lengths of straight wood about 2 inches thick with a rope in
each end. Two persons wound it around like a Skipping rope, while a 3rd
person positioned the Sheaf, grain end, on a material or concrete base, so
the grain head was removed without damaging the straws. Only straight
undamaged straws could be used for Thatching!
That was all back breaking, labour intensive work, so it was no wonder
that many Farmers and Farm Labourers, men and women, developed back and
shoulder problems in their mature years.
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