Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Harvest




































This lovely harvest loaf, complete with harvest mouse, graces the window of the reconstructed baker's shop that will soon be opening at Beamish Museum in County Durham.
















The museum recently had a weekend devoted to various forms of agricultural machinery, includedan  old threshing machine. I'm old enough to just about be able to remember one small farm in Sussex , where I grew up, which harvested oats with a reaper and binder and then  stacked the sheaves in stooks like this one, in the late 1950s .......
















.... ready for loading onto a cart with pitch forks and an elevator, ready for threshing - although even then it was really an exercise in nostalgia on the part of the farmer rather than commercial farming. He used a tractor as a power source, not a traction engine. He also still kept a couple of heavy horses that my dad looked after (reluctantly) during a short period when he worked on the farm as tractor driver.

















And this is me aged about two (with my maternal grandfather), helping with the harvest on that farm (note the dinky little woven basket), just after the harvest had been cut.

















These days it's all so much more efficient..........







6 comments:

  1. It's impossible to stand in the way of 'efficient' progress. (And inadvisable in the case of the Dominator!)

    But so much else was lost with that change.

    I'm from the rectangular bale generation, but still recall Grey Partridge, Curlew and Lapwing, all breeding on the surrounding farmland.

    However, I'm still learning of wild flowers that had all but disappeared by the time I came along.

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    1. I know what you mean, Graeme. Intensive agriculture has devastated much of the wildlife on farms that was around when I was a kid in Sussex. Still plenty of rabbits though. When I was a kid one of the perks for farmworkers was to have first pop at all the rabbits that made a run for it when the reaper or combine made the last cut - the last rectangle of wheat that was left in the centre of the fields. My grandmother had a wicked little rabbit-skinning knife that she sharpened on the step and she could skin a rabbit with a few deft cuts, as though she was helping it off with its coat - then she used to give me the tail.

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  2. Harvest time is still not efficiently mechanised in India. In most places farmers harvest the hard way.

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    1. Must be very hard work lotusleaf.. When I was in the Philippines in the late 1980s I often saw people harvesting rice by hand.

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  3. Not so much a harvest, but I well remember riding on the hay cart in Buttermere in the Lake District in the early 1960s. At that time my elder brother, still then in his teens used a plough with the horse taking the lead. Do schools still have harvest festival celebrations I wonder? We used to take our basket of fruit and veg each year which was taken off to the local church. I have my doubts that some of the fruit and veg you buy from supermarkets these days would last long enough for that process to be worthwhile! Cheers.
    PS Like the hat.:-)

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    1. I guess it's one of the benefits of advancing years that we lived to experience such things, which now just exist in faded photographs.

      I can remember my primary school class all walking to church for harvest festival - we all had to take something that was a harvested crop, even if it was only tin peas! Don't suppose there's space in the National Curriculum for that today..........

      That's one of my less embarrassing childhood photos - I think my mum was into dressing up dollies.....;-)

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