Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Bringing in the sheaves

It was with some relief that we saw the start of our cereal harvest today. Using Paul Walsh's vintage binding machine on the back of our modern tractor, we managed to bind the first field of thatching wheat. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we will gather the crop into upright stooks comprised of eight or ten sheaves to keep them dry until we can build a proper rick. The idea is to keep the wheat on the stalks rather than thresh it to remove the grain, then we will feed it back to the birds throughout the winter. We saw several yellowhammers in the crop today and we hope for at least a hundred of them in the fields this winter. If we are lucky we might attract other rare farmland birds like tree-sparrows or corn buntings. We know that we have harvest mice in the fields but we have not seen any yet this year.