Life in a Medieval Village
And that's not what is in dispute anyways. Hoeing fields is. Farmer does not equal hoeing fields. Tillage was done as little as necessary, and was done mainly using horses or oxen pulling plows and cultivators. A hoe was used seldom, and mainly in the vegetable garden. As I said, we have actual period texts on how to farm. All the way back to Rome, Greece and ancient China. None of them describe the modern hollywood portrayal of mentally handicapped peasants spending their lives hitting the ground with sticks.
We also have records of actual farm manors and how much labor each farmer was required to provide for the lord every year. They worked less than us, and had 8 weeks a year without work which they spent playing sports and games in the village green. We have skeletons that show they were taller than us, which indicates better nutrition. But because the late 1700s and early 1800s saw massive numbers of people move to cities and suffer terrible malnutrition and poverty, everyone just assumes things were even worse before that. All available evidence says otherwise. Things have always been bad in cities, especially due to disease, but rural life appears to have been pretty decent and was the majority of the population. Localized famines were rare enough to be major historical events mentioned all across Europe.
If you are interested in the subject, I highly recommend https://www.amazon.ca/Life-Medieval-Village-Frances-Gies/dp/...