Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Harvest time

Things are happening in the village, its grass harvesting time.
Everyone is talking about it making plans, working out schedules,
watching the weather, and harvesting their weeds. There are pretty
much three things here, animals (cows in particular), potatoes
(harvested in September), and grass (straw, weeds, flowers, what ever
you want to call it). Most people that have animals have grass, and
the ratio is about a hectare (2 acres or 2 football fields) for 5
cows. This year the grass is tall about 2 feet almost three, there
are combines that cut the straw and there are bailing machines, but
there is an exceptional amount of harvesting that is done the old
fashion way with a sickle, rake and pitch fork.
In the morning men go out walking a couple of kilometers (little over
a mile) to their fields with long sickles slung over their shoulders,
a small cellophane bag of food, and a small bench in their hand. At
first I thought the bench was to sit on for lunch or a rest, and I
have seen this, but a closer look and an explanation revealed that
there is actually a small anvil attached to the bench. The cutting
edge of the sickle is hammered out to remove dents from rocks and to
be made thiner for easy sharpening with the stone they carry in their
pockets. If you are going to swing a sickle around all day it better
be sharp to be most effective. Then there is the raking with over
sized wooden tooth rakes (usually women help out with this) and then
their is the pitch forking on to trucks or carts pulled by tractors,
horses, donkeys, or even people. All day long trucks bring bails
back to the village, to be stored with this loose straw for the
animals to eat for the winter.
There is so much work gathering straw that there are hardly any
interruptions to our work, and I have taken the time to finish up some
of the lingering projects on the house we are living in. Wether there
or one of the other houses, the work days are long and like the guys
cutting straw all day I look forward to a good nights rest at the end
of a long day.

1 comment:

Mick Fuller said...

Therein lies the problem with the straw bale house concept. The local "straw" is actually feed, and who wants to build a house out of your animals winter time din-din. Trucking real straw from actual grain fields is probably not feasible either. Do potato vines bale up well? Or are those used for feed also?