Medieval Monday: The Labors of March

Allison D. Reid

plowingWarmer March weather meant it was time to finally put most indoor tasks aside and get out into the fields. There weren’t a great variety of tasks associated with March, mainly because preparing the fields for plowing and planting was such an onerous chore that began at dawn and ended at dusk.  Getting the spring grain into the ground was one of the most important tasks of the season.

Medieval farmers generally had a three field system, where each season one of the fields was left unplanted. But leaving it fallow didn’t mean there wasn’t any work involved. The fallow field would have to be plowed several times during the year to keep the weeds under control and at the same time enrich the earth with organic matter. Every time the field was plowed, new weeds would grow, and livestock would be sent out to graze on it, with the…

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12 thoughts on “Medieval Monday: The Labors of March

  1. Here is the comment I left on the original site.

    I love the video. I learned so much. If given the choice I would have lasted until the first meal. Everything else ( except maybe the heavy field work ) I could give a shot to. My love of food, and certain foods would disqualify me from being in this. I disliked the preparing of it, much less to try to eat it. Thanks. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, we had a nice little conversation going–thank you! Talking about disliking the way food was prepared, one thing I wondered as I was watching was how they didn’t all end up with food poisoning. I know in the real era things weren’t particularly sanitary, but your body gets used to fighting off certain types of bacteria when you’re exposed to it daily. These historians wouldn’t have that type of immunity built up, but they’re preparing food on wooden surfaces, and in cookware that they are presumably washing afterward with well or creek water, and no modern day dish soaps. Maybe they have behind the scenes safeguards for sanitizing hands and kitchenware that just doesn’t make it on film? If they’re really doing it all the old fashioned way, I am impressed by their intestinal bravery. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • Oh yes. I did not even think of that. There is so much of daily life in even modern times we simply take for granted. The little things we all do without thought. Like Toilet paper? So many daily functions and actions we just do. Now you have my mind going on it and I won’t be able to do anything without think it through and getting all mixed up. 🙂 Hugs

        Liked by 2 people

        • Sorry! 🙂 I think medieval toilet paper was typically grass, hay, straw (can’t imagine that was comfortable),leaves, hands (as a last resort) and something called a gompf stick. I’ll leave that one to your imagination.

          Liked by 2 people

          • Yuck… infections must have been murder back then. Well that could explain the lower life expectancy. Who wants to wipe your bottom in an out house with frozen hay and leaves. I know both items has sudden pointy things that can bite or scratch hands…Nope don’t want to think on that……… 🙂 Be well. Hugs

            Liked by 2 people

      • Wood is a natural bacteria killer Allison, plus, cooks would have washed their hands (albeit in cold water or smoke from the fires) before preparing food.
        Even though they were mistaken about body ‘humours’, Medieval people were aware of diseases and the need for a certain level of cleanliness.

        Liked by 2 people

        • Agreed! They just didn’t have any concept of sterilization, so surfaces would have been washed and wiped clean, but were not necessarily free of bacteria. Their level of cleanliness would probably still make a modern day person sick.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Very likely Allison – in fact, we’d probably be hard pressed to eat their food without adverse reactions – in the Middle East, when I lived and worked there, I knew Arabs who couldn’t drink camel or goats milk because it made them sick, but their parents had no such reaction – so diet intolerance can strike in one generation!
            BTW, because it was normal practice when I was growing up, I drank untreated cows milk straight from the milking pail and my Arab friends were surprised when I could drink camel and goats milk without reactions.
            Camel milk is more nutritious and rich in vitamins, minerals and healthy bacteria than cows milk 😃

            Liked by 1 person


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