A Glimpse at Farm Life
Posted November 10, 1997
RALEIGH — It's the time of year for harvesting cotton in North Carolina. Massive combines are rolling through rows of cotton while their drivers sit comfortably in heated cabs.
But in Wake County there are still some who pick cotton the old way. Historic Oakview lets visitors see how farming used to be.
Kurt Smith, one of Oakview's guides says, "We work real hard to give Wake County school kids a look at what farm life was like. Because farm land is becoming virtually non-existent in Wake County."
Historic Oakview is no longer a commercial farm. It's a county-owned historic home and "farm museum." Hillburn Elementary students are one group that literally took a "field trip."
Cotton still grows on this property. Ag extension agents test different planting methods and try out various pesticides and herbicides on this small plot. Come harvest time, students do all the work. The experience answers one question right away.
"What is cotton?" some of the children ask. A lot of them don't have any idea what it is or what it's used for.
In an old cotton mill house the students watch a cotton gin separate the seed from the fiber. Then they learn what holds their cotton clothing together. They learn they can't break the fiber and see for themselves how strong it is.
Teacher Patrice Ramsbottom loves to see her students eager to learn more, especially for those children who might not have the opportunity to visit museums.
Historic Oakview is open to the public yearround seven days a week. It's in the County Office Park at Poole Rood, off I-440.