Agricultural infrastructure

Imic

Street Preacher
I have noticed for a long time, for as long as I have known about this server's existence, that there is a distinct lack of agricultural infrastructure in the unspeakably vast majority of rural settlements constructed in Westeroscraft. Farms need a lot of stuff to exist, agricultural life isn't "simple" even in the slightest.

They need enough ploughs to till the fields before it's too late to sow seeds, they need enough pack animals to pull the ploughs, they need enough sheep to put clothing on their backs, enough pigs to put meat on their plates even just once a year, they need sheds and barns to store the hay to feed their pack animals, and most of all, the grain and vegetables to feed their family, which will usually be enormous. Most households would hold three generations or more under their rooves, with grandparents, parents, children, and adult children living and working on the farm to produce enough food to feed 10 or more people. These villages, once again, will usually have a hundred people on average, and yet many of them don't even have a communal barn. This is a world where winter lasts for years, how can they have enough food to last through such a winter if they don't even have anywhere to store it? If they give all of their produce to the lord of the manor, then where does the lord of the manor store it? The usual process was for the family to farm the land, store their produce on the land they rent from the lord, and pay a portion of that produce to the lord in exchange for not being kicked off their land or being punished as a criminal for disobeying their lord. What about House Barns? They've existed for as long as agriculture in one way or another, often without even a separate room for the livestock to stay, but it's something. In our villages and cottages, we usually don't even give them space in their homes to keep their vegetables, nevermind their grain, nevermind their animals. It is my opinion that the construction of sheds, workshops, and outbuildings for farmers to use in the weaving of clothes, the storage of ploughs and carts, the mending of the both, the storage of hay, grain, vegetables, animals, and other agricultural produce, the washing of clothing, the storage and processing of milk into dairy products, the drying and smoking of food, and so many other things besides is something which is not nearly normal enough on this server, and I will not stop fighting until it has been even slightly normalized, even if that just means we get a million more house barns and cottages with straw beds for the animals. Thank you, for listening to my TED talk.

tl;dr: I think we don't build enough farm buildings. Even if we assume everyone stores their animals and crops in their actual home, I still don't think that the homes we build are anywhere near big enough to store animals, hay, vegetables, farm tools, workstations, ploughs, etc. etc.

Sources and citations: The Irish cottage by Marion McGarry, The Forgotten Arts & Crafts by John Seymour, Stephen Biesty's Cross-section Castle (Which I may have stolen from my Brother, although it doesn't have many details on the subject.), The Year 1000 by Robert Lacy & Danny Danziger, and perhaps most of all, The French Farmhouse by Elsie Burch Donald, which I have ordered from the library because it's the only one I don't personally own, and I really am that dedicated to dying on this hill.
 
I've searched through the online version of the royal library here, and as far as I can tell, the norm here was that peasants would live in small village communities. Each household was responsible for a section of the land that was designated for the village. This was only for actual crop raising. All animal husbandry would be shared by the entire village, and no single household would actually own any livestock.
 

Imic

Street Preacher
I've searched through the online version of the royal library here, and as far as I can tell, the norm here was that peasants would live in small village communities. Each household was responsible for a section of the land that was designated for the village. This was only for actual crop raising. All animal husbandry would be shared by the entire village, and no single household would actually own any livestock.
Most of my sources are from Britain and Ireland, with a scattering of French, German, and Swiss in the mix as well due to the language barriers involved, so I apologise for not knowing about that. Regardless, if that is what is considered the norm on this server, then A: I would appreciate a Mod clarifying that B: The vast majority of settlements don't even have a single barn to share between all the Villagers, and C: To assume that such a system is the universal norm over the entire continent of Westeros (Implied to be possibly as big as Africa) Is, without wanting to be rude, a cop out when so much Worldbuilding work has been put into the individual cultures, architectures, settlement plans, farm designs, and so much more in every single Kingdom, Lordship, region, sub-region, and even the smallest village, and I'd like to send a very strongly worded letter to whomsoever had that idea. Spike, please know that this isn't aimed at you, sorry if this comes across as rude.
 

Imic

Street Preacher
Im just relaying what the royal library says it was like in Denmark. I realise that there have been maybe hundreds of countries in Europe, and many of them used different systems. :)
I’m aware, like I said I wasn’t aiming that at you, I’m just hyper paranoid that someone (Probably just in my imagination) will provide all the above arguments, so I threw out a bunch of counter arguments in advance. Once again, sorry for being a dick, that was’t my intention.
 

DutchGuard

Bloodmage
Pronouns
he/him
Great post Imic. I am always fascinated by the particular details our builders obsess over that I've never really considered myself. While I am very much against prescribing a set of rules for how agricultural infrastructure should be planned or built, having an open discussion encouraging builders to consider it is a step in the right direction.

Westeros is a massive continent and us building at a smaller scale necessarily compacts and distorts certain things that otherwise wouldn't be. Agriculture, being a sprawling part of many projects, is usually the first sacrifice. There is no rule for how builders tackle this challenge, I don't expect builders to work out in real numbers how much cultivated land needs to be available to support a certain population. For me personally, I just like to see agriculture being represented in a token way, as a representation or implication of a much larger scale operation, like resource tiles in Settlers of Catan.
 

AerioOndos

Spellsinger
Most of my response is focused on northern builds.

This is a brilliant point Imic makes about barns and granaries. Honestly, I regretted not putting in more granaries as soon as I finished Norrey. I only had meagre grain stores and most of them I left in drying racks in lofts (most likely the biggest issue for the snowy north would be damp ungrindable grain at this point).

Also, housebarns are definitely something we need more of! And wool processing facilities, even if there's just a bale or two. Looms etc for self sufficient communities. Sheep are food, clothing, milk and horn products.

However, I do agree with Spike that it makes more sense to house most of the animals and have large segments of the community involved in herding. Without a sheepdog, it usually takes about 2 people per 15 sheep to do it well and, that's maybe 5 shirts a year just with that 15 head (estimate based on northern european short tailed sheep). Also, its more heat efficient, the body heat and larger amounts of animals huddled together will be far better than trying to have a shepherd monitoring a fire in every shed when the temperature dips below obscenely freezing.
 

Nomorefun_

Herald
I did not consider any other source of meat such as fowl or mutton so it will be little more distributed at all sources and number of needed pigs will reduce
 
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