Grinding Cornmeal

Hal Rosenquist demonstrates the grinding and sifting of cornmeal using antique engines to drive the equipment.  The two engines shown in this video are a Stover KE 1-1/2 hit and miss engine and a McCormick Deering Model M 1-1/2 hp throttle governed engine.

Wood Carving

The Triad Woodcarvers is based in Winston Salem and members carve throughout the Triad/Yadkin Valley region of North Carolina.

When not in a pandemic, the club provides free carving lessons at their weekly Carve-Ins.  Visit the Triad Woodcarvers website for more information and updates on when Carve-Ins will resume.

Surry County Extension Master Gardeners

As a program of the NC Extension Service, the Surry County Master Gardeners provide non-biased, sound horticultural information to individuals and the community. They take their free publications and advice on the road all over the county in the form of plant clinics and public seminars throughout the year, as well as advisory help with community gardens and other horticultural efforts.  

Visit the Surry County Extension Master Gardeners on Facebook.

Making Sorghum Molasses

Description excerpted from Salisbury Post article "Making Sorghum Molasses the Old-Fashioned Way" by Wayne Hinshaw, originally published 12/5/2017.  Videos courtesy of Sharon Robinson.

In the deep South where sugarcane grew, the molasses was called Blackstrap molasses and was a product made from sugarcane or sugar beets by boiling the juice for hours to remove the water. In the upper regions of the South like North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and West Virginia, sugarcane will not grow because of the climate. Around 1853, the sorghum plant was introduced from Africa to the Southern states. It would grow in poor soils. Sorghum is considered a grass. Following the process of making blackstrap molasses, but using the sorghum plant juice, farmers could make sorghum syrup that was most often called sorghum molasses. It could be used as a sweetener for foods like baked apples, cakes, in coffee, baked beans and barbecue sauces or just on breakfast biscuits.

[Jerry Newby of Sophia] explains, "It takes three trailer loads (of sorghum) to make a batch of molasses." After cutting the sorghum and a night's rest, the sorghum crew gathered to start the juicing process. All stalks of cane must be fed, one stalk at a time, into the...mill to crush the juice from the cane.  The usual formula is 10 gallons of juice makes one gallon of molasses after cooking.  On day three of labor, the molasses was cooked starting at 8:30 a.m. and finishing around 2 p.m. 

The cooking of the juice is where the ancient art and craft of making molasses becomes important. If you cook molasses too long, it will taste strong and be thick. If you cook it too short, it will not be done and remains runny. As the greenish juice bubbles and boils, the impurities float to the top and must be skimmed off the juice. If you don’t skim the impurities off, they will cook into the molasses and make a bitter taste. 

Mule Drawn Plowing

The following is excerpted from Rural Heritage Magazine, "How to Plow with Draft Horses" by Ralph Rice. Originally published Spring 2004.

The horses you use for plowing must be a quiet, well-behaved team. They must stop when told, turn when asked, and walk slowly while pulling steadily. Plowing is a process requiring the plow to slice through soil, roots, and vegetation while gently turning the soil sod-side down. 

Hitch your horses to the plow. Step them ahead until the traces are tight, and stop them. Tie your lines in a knot. Slip the lines over your left shoulder, against your neck, and under your right arm. Wearing the lines in this manner will help keep you from being dragged if you get into trouble.

Don't fight the plow. Raise the handles slightly to get the point to suck in or go deep; pushing down will cause the plow to come up out of the ground. To steer the plow to the right, raise the right handle; turn left by raising the left handle. Controlling your plow requires only a gentle touch.

Video courtesy of Sharon Robinson

Pressing Apple Cider

This description is excerpted from The Old Farmer's Almanac, "How to Make Apple Cider with an Apple Press: Making Homemade Apple Cider" by Catherine Boeckmann. Originally published September 27, 2020.

In colonial days, it was common for farmers and families to own a barreled cider press (and in those days, the cider was often left to ferment and become an alcoholic “hard” cider). Today, the “old-fashioned” cider press is becoming more popular again, perhaps because more people are planting fruit trees.

An apple press makes the whole process fun and simple. The press essentially grinds up the apples into pulp and then presses the juices out. Once you get going, the liquid gold keeps flowing. You go from press to glass in 30 seconds!

Start with a wheelbarrow of apples. Approximately 30 to 40 apples will yield one gallon of cider. Now you need to grind up the apples. Feed the apples into the hopper. Turn a cast iron wheel to grind the apples. The wheel is attached to the grinding shaft which quickly and easily chops up the apples. The apples fall into the tub below. A big press screw is flowered onto a wooden pressing plate. Turn the pressing plate down on the pulp to free up the apple juices which flow into a container below the press.

Video courtesy of Sharon Robinson

Spinning Wheel and Handspinning

Join demonstrator Jackie Ligtenberg as she explains and demonstrates the process of spinning yarn with a spinning wheel.