As a schoolgirl in the Thirties, I lived at Cold Harbour Farm, where my Father was the farm foreman. Harvest usually began around August Bank Holiday, which was then the first Monday of the month.

The standing corn was reaped by a binder drawn by a team of Shire horses with two men; one in charge of the horses, and the other riding on the reaper. The sheaves were then placed in stooks of 10 or 12, and allowed to dry for around three weeks before being brought by horses and wagon to the stackyard, where they were built into huge stacks. We youngsters were allowed to ride to the harvest fields in the empty wagons and, whilst the wagoner built his load, we rode the lead horse from stook to stook and returned to the farm riding the other horse. What fun it was! The earwigs, harvest bugs and other creepy crawlies were all ignored for the joy of the experience.

I remember the super rabbit pies and brambling around the hedges; the allowance (lunches) 9 am and 3 pm when each man received substantial eats, and tea; all prepared by the foreman's wife. It was hard work and long hours for all concerned; especially for my Mum, who prepared all the food for lunches and meals. The evening meal was usually after 8 pm with washing up for eight or ten farm men after 9 o'clock and no labour-saving devices.

You can imagine the relief of everyone when the last load came in. I remember one really bad harvest when corn was still out in House-field in late October.

Farmers and gardeners are so dependent on the weather - one thing that, despite the elapse of time, has not changed.

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