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Traditional agriculture--25

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  • Fedor, Helen
    Threshing with flails was tiring and time-consuming. Groups of threshers, who came to the more productive Slovak areas mainly from Orava
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 22, 2010
      Threshing with flails was tiring and time-consuming. Groups of threshers, who came to the more productive Slovak areas mainly from Orava < http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a9/Slovakia_Orava.gif > and Liptov < http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/96/Slovakia_Liptov.gif >, were often hired. They worked for in-kind payment (one-seventh to one-tenth of the threshed grain), and later also for an agreed-on wage. Historical sources tell of groups of threshers traveling from Slovakia to the Hungarian country estates as early as the 18th century.

      The first threshing machines appeared in southwestern Slovakia before the year 1900. The dividing line in the Slovak regions was mainly between the southwestern area and the northern and northeastern parts, where threshing by machine became common only as late as during the first Czechoslovak Republic [1918-38]. Threshing grain with flails died out in Slovakia sometime between 1890 and 1930, when at least hand-operated threshers < http://www.ikisan.com/Images/sun_hs_hoperated.jpg > were in use everywhere.

      The second method of threshing, using animals to tread out the grain, survived in southern Slovakia into the 1930s. This was probably an imported technique, one that was well-known to the Balkan Slavs, in the western Ukraine, and in western Russia. There is almost no historical evidence for its use in Slovakia in the more distant past. This method of threshing is sporadically mentioned in the 18th century.

      The grain was usually treaded in an open space, mostly in front of the barn, but in the northern parts of this usage area, it also took place inside barns. A "bed" (posa'd, nasa'd, postat') was made of four to six sheaves, with the position and number of sheaves varying. Horses were usually used for treading. The bed was stirred up two or three times, for maximum threshing. After shaking out the straw, the grain was cleaned further.

      H
      All opinions my own


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