As summer blends into autumn, farmers’ thoughts turn to the harvest and that is true of Bill Edwards at Cottonwood House.
This weekend he will be harvesting the crops he’s planted on the historic farm just 20 minutes from Quesnel out the Barkerville Highway and the public is invited to witness the tried and true, Victorian and Edwardian harvesting techniques which Edwards employs.
Together with his team of horses and period-correct implements, visitors can witness the cutting, mowing and raking of the field crops including oats, fall rye, fescue, timothy and mixed grasses along with field peas.
Edwards will also be plowing, discing, harrowing and preparing seed beds for next year’s crops.
Visitors can also experience, first hand, the cutting of the oat crop. They can try their hand at bundling the sheaves and creating a stook, the traditional preparation of the crop for threshing.
“This is the first time in 33 years crops have been harvested at Cottonwood House,” Edwards said.
“In the three years I’ve been heirloom farming, this year
we produced two and half tons of hay per acre.”
One of his goals is to teach people how to farm with horses, a lost trade in many places but still alive at Cottonwood House. With his wealth of experience and expertise in working with horses, Edwards is perfectly suited to such a endeavour.
Heirloom field crop seeds will also be available for sale.
However, the two-day event will include much more than the harvest.
On Saturday, a barbecue lunch will be available 12 – 1 p.m. and tours of the main house as well as the museum are regularly scheduled all day long.
In the evening, for $25 a person, there will be a barbecue steak dinner and western music from 6 – 7 p.m.
On Sunday, begin the day with a Sunday breakfast from 8 – 9 a.m. and an antique yard sale, again with house and museum tours throughout the day.
With summer winding down Cottonwood House will close its doors for the season, Aug. 31 with approximately 10,000 visitors having passed through the gate this year.
So for the final event of the season, take in the harvest and plan a visit to Cottonwood House where history comes to life.