Places, — January 10, 2009 15:01 — 0 Comments

Harvest

August and September were the harvest months, extending into October for the potatoes. The main cereals were corn and barley. Hay and flax were extensively grown. Until I was accepted for employment in the civil service in 1957 I worked during the summers on local farms.  I tied corn into sheaves, set up stooks and assisted at the threshing later on. 

I loved working with the hay and corn.  There were no combine harvesters in the early days and the corn was cut by a mechanical reaper drawn behind horses or occasionally a tractor. The reaper had a saddle seat from which it was operated. The reaper had a cutting edge that penetrated into the stand to a depth of about 5 ft, depositing the corn on a rack held at a 45 degree angle by the right foot. This left the hands free to wield a long paddle which was pressed the cut corn, when there was judged to be enough for a sheaf, and released when the right foot was raised to allow the rack to fall to the ground, thus depositing the sheaf to be gathered and tied.

 

I always remember the weather as sunny and warm, the corn golden and aromatic, cheerful companions sharing a midday meal of ham and cheese sandwiches and buttermilk among the stooks, and long, calm and singing twilights. I earned 10s 0d a day and after I had given my mother

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