There is a geek population for virtually every possible thing on the planet. Geekery, after all, is not just limited to video games, prog rock, or… My Little Pony?
Around these parts — these parts being the Peterborough culinary scene in general and the Farm to Table living room in particular — there are no shortage of “farm geeks.” These enthusiastic folks are usually either farmers, hobby farmers, wannabe farmers, or people who roam the countryside wistfully sighing at barns before returning to their downtown homes to dream of not-so-far-off lives with chickens, goats, and (just probably) bees. Speaking of bees, these are people for whom local history is totally the bees knees.
Well farm geeks, this one is for you.
Silos Stories and Sketches of Otonabee and South Monaghan Township, written by Marie Adamcryck and Val Crowley, is an attractive 80 page book that features art work by Adamcryck, and photos of various silos across the township. It was produced by Scriven52 Press of Baillieboro and is available at Trent Valley Archives for $25.
From Elwood H. Jones’ column in the Peterborough Examiner:
“For Silos, the authors traveled every roadway in the township looking for silos, and dropped in and interviewed some 66 local farmers about the history of more than 100 silos on these properties. By definition, a silo is “a trench, pit, or especially a tall cylinder (as of wood or concrete) usually sealed to exclude air and used for making and storing silage.” The authors note that “Corn silage consists of chopped up stalks, leaves and cobs. Under its own pressure within a silo, the corn ferments for a week or so and becomes a sweet, moist feed, used mostly for cattle.” (preface) Most farmers had hay silage in the summer and corn silage in the autumn. Some silos were converted to storage silos when farmer interest changed from dairying to beef. When farmers retired, the silos stood unused.
It appears from the book that wooden silos were apparently built from about 1900 to 1940. The book focuses on concrete stave silos and older poured concrete silos; these appear to have been built from the 1930s to the 1970s. There are some samples of more recent silos built of sealed concrete and of blue steel. I never noticed any bunker silos, although these were of interest to the authors. The early wooden silos were about 12 to 14 feet in diameter but by 1940 reached 20 feet in diameter. Early silos varied in height between 20 and 40 feet; some were given extra height by being topped with one or two rows of chicken wire.”
I’ll be picking up my copy soon.
Because there is no shame in being a geek.