Sunday, 4 January 2009

Gleaning


What a difference a day makes. From yesterdays sun and warmth to today’s gloom and cold and the temperature hovering around 1 or 2 °C. The plan had been to continue with the trees but yesterday evening I got a telephone call from Regis saying that if I wanted to go and collect some maize (corn), then today was the day.

So 10 am saw me outside Regis’s along with harvest baskets and my trailer and Regis piloted me to his friend’s field. The combine had left a single row of plants standing along one edge of the field plus it quite often pushes the plant down rather than cutting it and harvesting the cob.


Two hours later, I’m cold but I’d got about halfway down the field and had a really good haul of cobs, the bag is about a metre square and the cobs are about 4 or 5 deep I think.


Had it not been so cold I think my back would have lasted longer and I might have picked a few more but I’m really happy with what I’ve got. Tomorrow (probably), I’ll extract the cob-stripping machine that’s at the back of the barn and see if it works. The mechanical parts probably will but the wooden seat has a high chance of being totally rotten.


The actual picking of the cobs was quite easy once I got into the swing of it but it was the half stoop that strained my back. It has made me realise though that I could grow a small area of maize and be able to harvest it by hand. I’m not going to grow maize commercially as it requires irrigation and I don’t have either the water supply or the irrigation equipment but a small area left to it’s own devices is I think practical especially if I plant it at the bottom of one of the slopes to where water drains.


Continuing in the gleaning vein, Regis also gave me some empty egg boxes as the chickens are beginning to lay again plus all the oyster shells from over the holiday period - oysters are a tradition dish for Christmas and New Year here. I'm going to soak the oyster shells in a few changes of water to leach out the salt and then I'll smash them up for the chickens too - I'm nearly out of the commercially prepared oyster grit I'd bought so this is rather good timing.

4 comments:

Barbara Martin said...

I love your blog on farm life. It makes me miss the farm I had in western Canada. The work never ends but it provides a feeling of satisfaction when one task is complete.

dND said...

It's the completing bit that's difficult - the jobs can look so large to start with but I do plod on chipping away at them and they do get done. It's just I get a bit impatient :-D and you're so right, when they do get done it feels lovely. I also find a days physical work very therapeutic too especially if it's outside.

Mickle in NZ said...

Smashing up oyster shells - sounds like a brilliant stress and/or frustration relief.

Snowy's ear is looking fine, she is a good healer.

Zebby-cat comes home on Tuesday - I got home Monday afternoon, have given myself an afternoon and night to unpack in peace.

Care and huggles, xxx

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