Wednesday, July 12, 2017

It's the Time of the Season

This painting, Harvest Time, by Algernon Mayon Talmage was one of the online jigsaw puzzles I worked yesterday. Of course it took me back to my childhood and the July days of threshing our oats. It is that time of the season....

July 13, 1957: "Cut oats and shocked." I remember so clearly Dad showing me how to set up a shock and then letting me do it by myself. He checked my shocks and said I had done a good job. Praise from my father was hard to come by. It is still remembered now, sixty years later.

July 14 & 15: "Cut oats up by Dean's. Hot and humid." "Merlin D. helped shock."

July 25: "Started threshing at Harvey's." We were part of the neighborhood threshing ring. Once the oats were cut, bound and shocked by everyone in the neighborhood, the owner of the threshing machine would start at one farm and work his way through the neighborhood. 

July 26: "Started threshing at Reichardt's."

At our Reichardt neighbors' is where a reporter from the Villisca Review caught up with the threshing crew for pictures and a story about a dying farm practice. He took this photo of me, my sister Betty and our horse Queenie, Water girls for threshing crew, one of us had inscribed on the picture. Maurice Reichardt is atop the filled hay rack with his team of horses behind us.

July 30: "Had threshers for dinner (17). Got over east and up by Dean's done." 
In addition to serving as 'water girls' Betty and I also had to help in the kitchen. The day before we had dressed six chickens in preparation for cooking enough food for the men on the threshing crew. Both of our grandmothers were often also there to help.

July 31: "Had men again. Finished our oats and Ron's (Wayne's)." My older brother, Ronald, had rented the farm ground of another of our neighbors that year. He was 17 years old and would be a high school senior in the fall. Dad was helping him get a start toward his own farming career. (Or earning money for college - or a car.)

August 1: "Threshed at Chester Reichardt's today." The threshing ring moved on down the road, literally and figuratively. 1957 was the last year we threshed our oats.
The following year, 1958, July 28: "They finished combining this evening." We had joined the modern world of farming, our oats fields were combined instead of threshed. It took a few days because of rain every other day and even some tornadoes in the area. (Not near us, though we had driven over north of Prescott and around Lenox to view the damage there.)

I am so glad I grew up when and where I did - to be a part of the old ways of doing things and not just read about them.

Working the Harvest Time puzzle made me aware of a painter I had not heard of before. Algernon Talmage (1871-1939) was a British impressionist. Here are a few more of his canvases that caught my eye:

The Harvest

Grazing Cattle

New Forest Ponies At Tyrells Ford

Not only the woods and the darker colors made me think of that picture of mine I am always trying to identify, so does the frame!

Landscapes and animals weren't his only subjects.
I really, really like this picture, The Mackerel Shawl, of a woman he painted in 1910. I think because of the various grey colors.

From harvest to fashion, it is the time of the season.

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