Haying, Irrigation, and Branding: Tradition and Innovation

  • Old and New

    The folklorists, historians, and archeologists who carried out field research during the Paradise Valley Folklife Project documented a wide range of cultural phenomena, old and new. For example, one project researcher carried out an in-depth study of the valley's vernacular architecture, documenting not only turn-of-the-century stone, frame, and adobe buildings, but also newer tract houses, mobile homes, and metal pole barns. Activities on the ...

  • Haying

    All of the ranches the team visited from 1978 to 1982 made hay in very similar ways. First, the alfalfa or native grasses were cut and laid in windrows by a swather. Depending on how well the cut plants were curing in the sun, the crop might also be turned and windrowed again by a rake. Once cured, a baler bundled the hay into ...

  • Irrigating

    The team learned that the irrigation of hayfields in the valley was carried out in a far less uniform manner than haying, representing every stage in technology from the mid-nineteenth to the late twentieth century. Hayfields were irrigated on the Ninety-Six by flooding, with the water directed through a system of ditches by wooden and metal headgates. This older approach was also seen on ...

  • Branding

    Branding, like haymaking, was conducted in much the same way throughout the valley. Unlike haymaking, however, it was largely unmechanized. The work involved roping the calves from horseback and dragging them to a position where buckaroos on the ground held the animals and branded them. In addition to branding, the calves were earmarked and medicated, while the male calves were castrated. There were small ...