Minnesota's history is littered with tales of hardship and struggles for survival. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But where do the tough live
in the great hay-making state of Minnesota. Weather, sorrow, and physical labor all contribute to the struggle of life on the farm. Each account of life on the farm is blanketed with pride, without ever mentioning the word. "Make hay while the sun shines." (pg.9) Dark clouds are always just beyond the horizon.
Every family moved to Minnesota with one common goal in mind. This goal was to have a home, a family, and a farm. Life on the farm was not easy; if Andrew Peterson was still living, he would attest to that. Peterson was a man of religion and land. He emigrated to the United States of America from Sweden; who came here with nothing but a dream and a prayer. After five years of life as a hired hand in Iowa, Peterson was given the opportunity to purchase land in Carver County, Minnesota. The land he purchased was nothing but Mother Nature's most beautiful green. Unbeknownst to Peterson, it would take him 20 years to carve out the farm land he desired. How daunting this seems, as his tools were elbow grease, an axe, and a scythe.
Peterson had a lot of work to do and a small time frame to do it in. Haying was not his cash crop but he needed it to feed the team of oxen, which in time was replaced by horses, then by modern day tractor. Most of his labor was expended on haying rather than his wheat and apple crops.
War was on the horizon, in more than one direction. On one end of the spectrum civil war had broken out between the north and the south over the issue of slavery. Not having a strong opinion and wanting to continue to farm his land had Peterson indifferent to the situation. On the other end of the spectrum, Dakota Indians where outraged by how the American government was treating them. This issue was concerning to Peterson because it was on his back door and not going away. Peterson and the...
References: Hoffbeck, Steven R. The Haymakers; A Chronicle of Five Farm Familes. St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society, 2000.
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