The farmer and I sat over breakfast this morning talking about this year's harvest. The hay and silage has been very good indeed - not necessarily because of the size of the crop but certainly in terms of getting it all in in hot weather.
As for the arable crops - the farmer described these as 'patchy'. We had such wet weather last year that many of the crops (particularly Winter wheat) had to be re-sown in the Spring. But there is no doubt that this wonderful weather has improved things greatly - particularly as we had almost half an inch of torrential, thundery rain yesterday. That really had a chance to get into the ground before it was burnt off by a hot sun.
But, unusually for him, the farmer continued and talked about harvesting when he was a lad. Threshing in particular - and it was so interesting to hear him talk.
All the farmers in the surrounding area got together and discussed an optimum period for threshing the corn and then booked the threshing machine and the man who came with it. The farmers then got together again and allotted days to each farm.
On the allotted day all the men would congregate on that farm and would work flat out to get all the corn threshed during the one day.
David told me who would come here (most of them are still alive - some into their late eighties), how the machinery was set up and where (this was after the days of a steam-powered engine to drive it and just into the age of a tractor).
The big table (which still sits in our kitchen) would be extended to its full length and dinner time would be set by David's mother - who was a very good cook - and at that time exactly the machinery would stop and all the men would troop in for their lunch. It was always the same - a huge joint of roast beef, Yorkshire puddings (of course), unlimited vegetables and good gravy. For pudding it would always be four or five huge apple pies with custard for pouring (and sometimes cream from the dairy if it wasn't needed for making the butter).
The lunch would be only a quarter of an hour in length and then all the men would be back at work. Tea would be provided - cold - in bottles, so that the men could drink it as and when they felt like a drink.
Sometimes the dust would be so bad, said the farmer, that occasionally somebody would be in bed the next day with a bad chest! Yet they are still all alive (no masks in those days!)
When I think how one machine works thousands of acres today and does the whole job, driven by one man. Like all other industries, no wonder workers have disappeared from the countryside and no wonder there are so many out of work.
It's not often I can get him to talk about the old times - it was fascinating to hear him talk - so I thought I would pass it on.