In 1900, warmbloods were called chunks.To grow a crop, the sod had to be plowed.  Farming sod was time consuming, hard work for the people and horses.  A one-bottom plow was used to break out the sod and without workhorses it took three or four riding horses in a hitch. They traveled about two miles an hour to cut a few-inch ditch with the sod flopped to the side. The horses wore harness which had a collar they pushed into.  The hames around the collar kept the collar in place and the leather tugs, or traces as they were called, came along the sides of the horses to hook to the double trees behind that joined a team.  It was always best that a horse had its own collar. Like a pair of shoes to a human, the collar fit the topography of the horses shoulders and chest.  This was the first of many operations before seeding was performed.

Discing and harrowing was hard work. Sometimes rock removal was necessary.  Some farming operations took many head of horses in a hitch.  There were various seeding techniques and eventually a drill became the general practice and is still used today behind a tractor.  Farmers packed the ground after seeding with home made log rollers.  In those early years, mowing and binding hay was common.

Oats were a main crop for hay early on because of its short cycle.  In addition to oats, rye later became popular for hay as it grew fast and tall.  Oats and barley were also used as grain when the threshers were available.  Winter wheat came into production too.

Markets for butter and eggs were strong in 1900 due to the mining.  There was a ready demand for dressed beef.  Markets for grain were bad until the railroad came in.  There was a flour mill at Havillah that took some wheat in those early years.

Fences were needed where there was livestock.  Some homesteaders made wood fences out of poles as they had no money for wire.  Others imported wire in and cattle ranching took hold.

In the late 1910's, some ranches went together and brought in workhorse stallions to breed the saddle stock for "chunks".  Chunks, now known as warmbloods, could do 3/4 the work of full blood draft horses, took less feed and were easier for all around use including riding.  They generally weighed between 1,400 and 1,700 pounds where as a riding horse is around 1,100 pounds.  Workhorse mares can be about a ton and a stallion 2,400 pounds.

The early farms were very diverse.  Over the years, more technology was available and more homesteaders sold out.  Farms became twice the size by 1910.  With the onset of World War I, wheat was in demand.  It was very labor intensive with binding, shocking and threshing.  Grain was stored in graineries and then sacked.  Usually, it was hauled on sleds to the warehouses along the railroad.  Farms became more specialized.  The history for these years is fascinating and we have many books available at Molson Schoolhouse in summer or year round at Appleway Video and Oroville Pharmacy in Oroville, WA.

The winters are long and work is hard.  Some people stayed and grew their farms and other sold out.  The trend continued into the late 1970's and farms and ranches were an average of 4000 or more acres.  In the late 1970's the trend reversed.  Farmers were living and working longer, well into their 70's or even 80's.  Their children, wanting lives of their own, turned to college and trade schools for education and careers.  Once off the farms with established lives, it became impossible to give up high paying jobs with week ends off, benefits and more to go back to farming when elderly parents finally decided to quit.  Farmers may work every day, sometimes in sub-zero weather, with ornery critters, machinery to fix, state licenses to maintain, government reports to do, classes on new science and technology to take, fences to mend, animals to feed and doctor, and the long list of farming operations to perform to grow and put up hay or grain.  We now have a shortage of experienced farmers.  It has been estimated that if trends continue, farming as we know it, will end within 20 years.  Food will be produced in other countries or by conglomerate farms, not family farms in the USA.

As the older generations left farming the younger generation became very educated.  The stereotypes of the grass chewing simple farmer in overalls is very wrong.  There is no such thing outside of Hollywood.  Science in farming has always been important and as more research has been performed in soil health, genetics, weeds, chemicals, climate change, machinery, the human element, and a myriad of other subjects, farmers' resumes cover many pages.  Many farmers still have to also be welders, electricians, plumbers, bookkeepers, cooks, truck and equipment drivers, and more.  Currently variable rate technology (VRT) and use of electronic control systems, GPS, computers, weather monitors, and other technical aspects require farmers to not only know more, but do more.  We at Eden Valley Guest Ranch and Dry Gulch Farms deal with all of the above.  We can provide workshops to groups interested in learning more out side of our busy seasons.