Described as Haymaking at Miller’s Farm, she has actually depicted a threshing scene which preceded the arrival of the robotic combine harvester which finished the old now almost romantic years with the arrival of the threshing team which would tour the districts, and all hands were on full alert locally.
The artist has caught the final period with the threshing drum driven from a belt attached to a standing strong tractor, and the canvas had to be greased to prevent burn-up and maintain the correct drum speed, within the great wooden framed vehicle.
The great stack of straw bales confirms the corn harvest.
Beside it she includes a red baling machine, probably a Jones or Massey Ferguson, both at competitive prices with the former well regarded.
My school days were short in the ‘earlier’ late war years, as the straw would be made into a rick by hand, while the boys’ job was to change the sacks at the far side for the ‘cavings’ with best for the chickens and roughest for the pigs.
Apart from the awesome din and dense dust, the rats and mice ran amok, so the older locals would tie cord to their old rough corduroy trousers to stop them seeking cover within!
Sheila Fell with her fine eye has given a late season sky, which would be very unwelcome in the June days of summer, when laughter was frequent and cider cooled in the stream awaiting the arrival of my mother and her maid with the homemade bread and ham.
Nostalgia, but good memories of the times that once were.
David Evans, Aquitaine, France