Mr. Ed’s Farm: A farm boy’s dream come true

Welcome to Mr. Ed's Farm.

Welcome to Mr. Ed’s Farm.

Mr. Ed’s Farm is a farm boy’s dream come true.

Located east of Hibbing, Minnesota, Mr. Ed’s Farm is a working farm powered by draft horses. The farm includes a flock of sheep, a coop full of chickens, a couple of pigs, two jersey calves, a trio of goats, a few rabbits, a pair of ducks and a llama named Otis. Resident border collie dogs Winston and Rosie and their puppies roam the yards and pastures. Occasionally the family of barn cats makes an appearance from their hideouts in the hay bales.

Visitors can expect to meet the animals up close and personal. Kids can ask questions about their care and feeding, learn about the habits of the animals and what they provide for humans.

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About Mr. Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson grew up on a dairy farm in central Minnesota.

Mr. Ed is shown here with several of his brothers and sisters at age 3. He is in the lower left corner, showing off his new straw hat and belly button

Mr. Ed is shown here with several of his brothers and sisters at age 3. He is in the lower left corner, showing off his new straw hat and belly button.

As a young boy in a family of eight children, Eddie played farm with his brothers and sisters.

In addition to a barnful of holstein milk cows, the farm was home to chickens, pigs, sheep, rabbits, ducks, geese, an occasional turkey and a team of Percheron draft horses.

The kids on the Nelson farm learned to do chores at an early age.

The cows needed to be milked twice a day. The calves were fed milk from a bucket, eggs were picked from the chicken coop and corn was tossed in for the pigs. Newborn lambs often needed a little help on cold winter nights.

While farm work can be hard and difficult at times, Ed’s parents Bill and Rita Nelson made it fun. Spring rock picking on the 320-acre farm, a miserable job by any stretch of the imagination, was made interesting by using Chub and Tony, the draft horses, to pull the rock wagon. A span of oxen trained to pull as baby calves grew up to work on the farm and to be in local parades.

Seasons on the farm were filled with special activities and events.

Chub and Tony were the last team on the family farm.

Chub and Tony were the last team on the family farm.

Spring brought new lambs, baby chicks, garden planting and yes, lots of rock picking.

The end of school signaled the beginning of summer and barefoot season. The smell of fresh cut hay, cool dips in the Daggett Brook, the creek running through the cow pasture and evenings fishing for bullheads off the old bridge are life-long memories.

Sundays meant picnics and a game of softball with cousins from town.

Oat threshing season began in late July. Cut with a grain binder, the oats needed to be shocked by hand so it could dry properly. With the county fair just around the corner, everyone big enough to handle the bundles pitched in. Dad always said we couldn’t go to the fair until all the oats were shocked. It was a big day when the threshing machine, owned jointly by the Nelson and Rudolph families, rumbled up the driveway and onto the field. Teams of Percherons and Belgian horses brought load after load of golden oats bundles into the shaking and rattling machine blowing an angry looking stream of straw onto and ever-growing straw pile.

The family oxen, John and Thor, began their training at an early age.

The family oxen, John and Thor, began their training at an early age.

Fall brought silo filling, corn picking, a lot of new born calves.

Saturdays during the winter were spent cutting fire wood for the coming season. The horses pulled the old bobsled to and from the woods with kids on little sleds hanging on behind.

Many of these childhood memories are being recreated on Mr. Ed’s Farm.

The bundle team, two horses that brought bundles of oats, stands next to the threshing machine.

The bundle team, two horses that brought bundles of oats, stands next to the threshing machine.

 

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