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A Glimpse at Farm Life

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Kids see cotton move from field to gin to thread.
RALEIGH — It's the time of year for harvesting cotton inNorth Carolina. Massive combines are rolling through rows of cottonwhile 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 giveWake Countyschool kids a look at what farmlife was like. Because farm land is becoming virtually non-existent inWake County."

Historic Oakview is no longer a commercial farm. It's a county-ownedhistoric home and "farm museum." Hillburn Elementary students are onegroup that literally took a "field trip."

Cotton still grows on this property. Ag extension agents test differentplanting methods and try out various pesticides and herbicides on thissmall plot. Come harvest time, students do all the work. The experienceanswers one question right away.

"What is cotton?" some of the children ask. A lot of them don't haveany idea what it is or what it's used for.

In an old cotton mill house the students watch a cotton ginseparate the seed from the fiber. Then they learn what holds their cottonclothing together. They learn they can't break the fiber and see forthemselves how strong it is.

Teacher Patrice Ramsbottom loves to see her students eager to learnmore, especially for those children who might not have the opportunity tovisit 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.

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