Rye and potatoe harvest and rye planting. Old harrow is back to work.

In august my rye is ready. I cut it with a sickle in a slow and fast ways. Fast way is to grab it low. Slow way is to grab it at the top to allign ears and to take black grain out right away. It was necessary to locate all ears in one place so that I could do the threshing inside a bag. I don’t have a threshing floor so I just put rye in a bag and beat it. Threshing in a bag is time consuming. It took me about 4 hours to get 10 kg of grain. Maybe it could be faster if I would not try to beat out every single grain. Most of the grain comes out with the first blows. The rest takes several minutes.


In September my peas, beans and potatoes are ready, so I collect, what is not yet collected by uncountable mice and wild pigs. One of neighbours died last year and her cat, that always loved to hang out at my rye field, is not here anymore, too.

Snails damaged potatoe leaves a lot during summer so there was not much to harvest, but still I keep the habit to dig it all and prepare my potatoe field to become a rye field. I have a winter rye, that is, it is planted in august – october.

One day in childhood (1994 maybe) me and my brother were diging out soviet trash from the bushes, which remains one of my main activities up to nowadays. We found two units of harrow. One part was bent making you think a kolhoz guy was drunk and forgot he had something behind his tractor when he switched reverse. And of course they just left stuff at the side of the field. We took them out and kept them in the shed. Back then I did not even know what that thing does. And who would have thought that some ten years later it will become a full value tool in my garden. My father attached chains to it and now after digging I could drag it over the ground to make it softer and to beat soil out of weed roots.

I drag it twice, then I sow rye grain and drag harrow over it again, to hide it from birds and mice. Later in november rye will already have 5 cm sprouts and birds will love it. It makes me think, that when I finally get some chicken, I might feed them the same way as wild birds feed themselves from my field.


About Pavels Melnis

Independent ecology activist, family farmer, gardener and forestkeeper. Musician: violin, guitar, singing. Hobbies: traveling by bicycle, learning to play different music instruments - accordion, piano, recorder flute, harmonica, drums; languages, theology, prehistory, logbuilding, repairing and recycling. Religious. Ecological. Love all things ethnic and traditional.
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