We harvested a small wheat bed this past weekend. It took Larry most of the day to cut it by hand. He was using a small hand held scythe. He took his wheel barrel loads down to the barn. I set up some sheets and he showed the kids how to thresh it.
The first day they worked on it for an hour at a time. They took a few breaks but were eager to head back out. By the second day they worked for about a half hour and then took a long break. Only heading back out when they were told. It no longer seemed fun to process our own wheat that we would grind into flour to use for our bread loaves, muffins, and biscuits. This was work!
I am sure that many would feel it is too much work to ask a ten and nine year old to do. I disagree. They need to do jobs that are within their capabilities to help out on the farm. This didn’t seem like too much of a stretch. They are capable just not all that willing anymore.
At one point Larry made the mistake of mentioning a threshing party. We could play music and the kids could “dance” on the wheat. This is a great idea and one we may employ on other patches of wheat we harvest, but the problem is now we have this wheat sitting in the barn and no music. Mac just doesn’t want to accept that the dance party comes with the second batch of wheat.
It is challenging to convince the children that these are the jobs we need them to do. Those jobs just aren’t exciting or over with quickly. We have to focus on teaching them how to do what is within their means of physical capability. Sometimes, however, the teaching is more work than just doing it ourselves. Days go by when I think – how did people do this 150 years ago. Then I remember – they had less distractions. It was normal to do many of the things we are doing. The process didn’t need to be explained and reasoned out. Facts were obvious.
Those “facts” have been obscured for many generations. I am sure that if my parents were still alive they would be scratching their heads in disbelief at all we are doing. I think they would be proud of us though. I know that my dad was amazed to watch me care for hens and goats while we stayed with them for their last summer.
He shook his head one day and told me, “I can’t believe my little girl is dealing with chickens and milking goats.” Apparently when I was little, we had bantam hens ~ I didn’t like them.
I have gone out and threshed some wheat to see what all the complaining was about. It does seem tedious but it isn’t difficult. As I sat there I pictured us sitting around the sheet telling stories. That is what is needed another lost art – storytelling. The whole once upon a time variety. Easy to see how those fairy tales came into being.
We just need to create some of our own. I’ll check back in with you later and let you know how that project is fairing. For now enjoy both the sunshine and the rain – they are what make summer smell so sweet.