Monday, May 15, 2017

Prairie Farming

Many stories today are set in the prairie states and many of our ancestors were farmers. I stumbled upon this book, "Prairie Farming in America" by Sir James Caird ©1859 A large portion of the material covered centers around Illinois. In the book he talks about the various soils and the crops that can be grown in the area. One of the problems in Illinois was that it was difficult to grow wheat. The author states "The open prairie country is so windswept in winter that snow seldom lies long to any depth, and the young wheat is thus left unprotected to the frost. Should it escape that, it is liable to be thrown out by the rapid changes of weather in spring,--and if it fortunate enough to escape both, it is sometimes destroyed, as it was last year, by its enormously rapid growth in forcing summer weather, growing as it does almost on a muck-heap. ... The growth is too rapid, the vesicles of the stem burst, and the ear does not fill."

This passage tells me two things. One is the obvious wheat doesn't grow well in Illinois. Two, in 1858 there was a problem with the wheat crop. Which if I was setting a story in Illinois in 1858 that tidbit would have me scrambling for what happened? Did the event affect other crops? etc.

Here's a

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I'm a novelist writing contemporary and historical settings. During my research for historical novels, I've come across various historical tidbits. What you see on this blog are some of those interesting facts from the 19th century. My hobbies are genealogy, photography, camping and building small travel trailers with hubby.

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