While I didn’t grow up on a farm, Virginia was a lot less developed when I was born and I had a lot more exposure to agriculture and farm animals than kids growing up in the suburbs today. A few blocks away from our house there was an old barn and a creek down at the end of the street that we played in.
As a child we took school and family trips to George Washington’s house at Mount Vernon along the Potomac River. It was a chance to see what early Virginia looked like and explore a farm from the 18th century. While my mom loved the house and furniture, one of my brothers who grew up to be an engineer loved the gristmill. My dad loved all the old maps and the history and my favorite thing was all the animals. People had to raise the food and crops they ate. They also made soap and candles from tallow and harvested wheat and corn that they ground into flours in the grist mill. In late 18th century America there were no grocery stores with carton of eggs, bags of flower, or steaks in cellophane packages.
The early land owners in Virginia were wealthy educated men like George Washington who used their land to experiment with farming techniques and equipment brought from the old world, but modified to the climate and soil of the new world.
According to the website for Mount Vernon, by 1785 George Washington was using a crop rotation system by the late 1700s and his records about his farm practices serve as journals for agricultural science. While many farming practices have changed, they come from the foundation of early farming in the original 13 colonies.