Drive around rural Pennsylvania, and you’ll see the rambling stone walls that farmers built in the last century (or two) to mark the borders of their property. The walls served two purposes: marking their property and keeping their neighbors’ cows from eating the crops. The farmers would pick up the stones from the soil as they cleared the land to be tilled. Legend has it that a group of farmers would get together to help build their neighbors’ walls, much like they’d get together for a barn raising. They would make a fun afternoon of it, and place a jug of hard cider every 25 feet or so. They would build the wall, stone by stone, until they reached the jug. Then they’d take a break for a libation. A long wall might take two or three or even four jugs, depending on the number of men and how good the cider was. This might explain why some walls are straighter than others.
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