Peanut Harvest in the Wiregrass Area
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After about one month, the peanuts were processed with a stationery picker. Not every farmer had a peanut picker. Working in a cooperative manner, neighbors joined together to purchase a picker and provide manpower, moving from farm to farm. Seed peanuts were shelled by hand.
Stacks were pulled to the picker by mules using ground slides. A tractor with a flat belt on the belt pulley ran the stationery picker. Stack poles were pulled out of the stacks and vines were hand-fed with pitchforks into the throat at the front of the picker. The machine separated peanuts from hay, tearing the hay and catching the peanuts in washtubs. The peanuts were put into sacks or dumped on wagons. As hay accumulated at the back of the machine, it was fed into a hay baler powered by a gas engine.
“Moving hay from the picker to the baler was the most hated job,” Sid says. “A fan blew dust and dirt, and no matter how the operation was set up, the man working in this position was covered from head to toe in dirt. The man doing this job was called the hay doodler.”
From breaking the land to doodling the hay, peanut crops stay on Wiregrass farmers’ minds all year long. FC
For more information: Landmark Park, 430 Landmark Drive, Dothan, AL 36303; phone (334) 794-3452; online at www.landmarkpark.com. The park is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday; closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day.
Laura V. Stakelum is the public relations director for Landmark Park, Alabama’s Official Museum of Agriculture. Contact her at email@example.com.
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