by Judy Ann Davis
If you’ve ever planted a garden or dug in a flower bed or walked on a plowed farm field, you know how those pesky stones poke up unexpectedly from the earth.
When the last glacier came down from the Arctic region, it kneaded stones into the soil at varying depths. And when the mile-high ice sheet eventually melted away, it deposited rocks which had been embedded in the ice. When the fields are plowed for planting, the frost action often lifts these rocks to the surface.
For many farmers, this meant the back-breaking work of picking these stones before planting could begin. How did they do it? With stone boats, also called a drag or skid boat.
In the early days, stone boats were pulled by horses. Later, they were dragged over the fields by tractors. Our stone boat was hooked to our Farmall tractor with chains, probably the same hitch that was used when my father farmed as a boy.
I remember picking stone with Dad on a field where we usually planted corn. The back-breaking technique of the job has not changed over the years. You pick up the larger stones and place them around the outside of the boat and throw the smaller ones inside.
Is there any joy in picking rocks? Only one. Once the boat is loaded, you get to hop on and ride the boat to the stone pile where you unload it.Judy's Amazon Author Page Link