13 September 2009

Wheat Harvest in Amish Country

Driving the back roads of LaGrange County Indiana recently, I came upon a field of standing wheat shocks which were harvested in the labor intensive ancient way. The ripe golden wheat is first cut using cast iron farm implements drawn by a team of sturdy draft horses driven by the farmer. In this particular field the crop was raked into small bundles, hand tied with green twine, and then the small bundles stacked into the larger shocks shown in this photo. You can see a closeup of the individually tied bundles in the previous post. The raking, tying, and stacking is often the work of the women and children. The women work in a long polyester dress, apron, and bonnet. This is only a portion of the field.

The beauty of the scene is breathtaking.
And so is the work behind it.


Dedalus1947 said...

An amazing picture.

California, despite its agricultural diversity, doesn't farm "the old fashion way". Our fields are fertile and productive, but they lack the picturesque quality of the midwest. I've traveled up and down the state, through the bountiful San Joaquin Valley, but I've never seen a picture like the one you showed.

The West is the new land - but the old is so satisfying.

el poquito said...

great photo, SW.

dragon said...

I wish I knew exactly how one is supposed to do this.
I believe there is a specific way one leans the shocks together and then puts wheat (loose?) across the top, (for moisture protection?).
I've always wanted to get a good scythe and hand cut a field (hay, oats, etc.) and understand how to stack it properly (wind,rain protection etc.).
How satisfying this would be!