Interest in educational agricultural events at the Farm Museum in Northumberland County is growing. The agricultural machinery at the museum is kept in working order from the saw mill to the threshing machines.
Threshing Day at the museum was postponed due to rain on July 11, but on Saturday, July 18, the machines were out of the barn and doing what they do best. Visitors to the Northern Neck and local citizens were on hand to appreciate the efforts of the volunteers of the museum on Threshing Day.
Threshing is the process of loosening the edible part of the grain from the inedible chaff that surrounds it. Before machinery was invented for this labor intensive task, hand-threshing a bushel of wheat took about an hour.
A McCormick Deere Threshing machine, along with an International McCormick Binder and a 1930 stationary baler made quick work of the acres of soft winter wheat grown at the museum. In modern day farming, a single combine farm machine can do the work of the team of machines and workers in much less time.
Andrew Jenkins, a young farmer, started driving tractors two years ago and was on hand to give free wagon rides out to the wheat fields for visitors to have an up close look at the machines threshing the wheat.
“I’m still learning about these old machines,” Jenkins said. “I’ll probably get to drive one of them in a few years and thresh the wheat. Those old tractors are cool.”
The Northern Neck Farm Museum’s mission of telling the story of the region’s agricultural heritage is demonstrated throughout the year with events that invite the public to step back in time to witness farm life from another era.
The next fundraising event for the museum will feature a local chef, fresh farm food and live music. It will be held on Saturday, July 25. The museum is hosting “Barbeque, Brew and the Southern Bred Band.” The Southern Bred Band is a group of talented local musicians and singers who specialize in southern rock and country music. Visit www.thefarmmuseum.org for more information.