Dateline: 29 July 2014
|My wheat field in July|
I bought the heritage seed from Sustainable Seed Company. They have an impressive selection of old wheat varieties, and other grains too (I also planted a field of sorghum).
This is my first year growing wheat. I wanted to observe how the plants grow. It turns out they grow easily.
When I was around 17 years old (1972), I harvested a section of wheat field that a local farmer was growing on my parent's land.
I used a rusty old scythe that I had bought at a yard sale for a few dollars. I sharpened the blade to the best of my ability and mowed down a fairly large patch of the grain.
I tied the grain into bundles to dry, then hauled them to my parent's barn. The barn had tall rolling doors on the back with a sturdy drive floor just inside. I laid a tarp out on the floor, put the wheat in the middle and used a homemade flail to beat the seeds out of the stalks. It was a lot of work but I had a lot of energy and enthusiasm back then.
I ended up with a couple pails of seeds and chaff. I winnowed the chaff by pouring the wheat from pail to pail repeatedly. There wasn't much wind the day I winnowed so I hooked up a fan.
I ended up with some clean, beautiful wheat berries, and it was a good feeling.
My mother was a bread baker and we had a Marathon Uni-Mill electric grain grinder. I milled the wheat into flour and my mother used it to make some really good bread.
By the way, we inherited that Marathon Uni-Mill, and Marlene has used it over the years to grind a lot of wheat for her homemade breads.
One of these years I'd like to grow a larger plot of heirloom wheat, harvest it by hand, and process it….. just like I did in the "old days" when I was a kid.