The short video above from the 2014 harvest adds more context/dimension/perspective to the pictures below from the 2015 harvest.
This is the einkorn field before harvesting started. In the background is the show barn for the Percherons (on the left) and the new barn that will be home for the Friesians.
Head Wrangler McKay Mann drives a hitch of 3 black Percherons to “bind” the einkorn. Binding involves cutting the stalks of grain near the ground, feeding the stalks via a conveyor into the binder where magic happens and the stalks are tied into bundles with twine. The bundles are then kicked out to the right side of the binder. All of this is powered by the forward motion of the horses.
Herbs Manager Jake Brinkerhoff and Conventional Fields Manager Sam Uri lend a hand by gathering and stacking the bundles of bound einkorn. These upright stacks will allow any rain to drain down and away from the heads of grain.
Animals Manager Steve Werkman brings a fresh team of gray Percherons to the field.
There is a delicate balance that has to be maintained…if there is too much tension on the twine, it will break. But too loose, and the stalks just fall apart.
The field crews put down their hoes for a while and joined Jake and Sam in stacking the bundles. Now that the einkorn in this field has been bound, the next step will be to feed each and every bundle into a thresher…by hand!
Source: Young Living Mona Farm, July 25, 2015
Between the show barn and the animal pens, rows of bound einkorn await threshing. The einkorn bundles have been stacked into “shocks” to allow any rain to run down the stalks and away from the heads of grain.
A crew of local students wanting part-time summer work was brought in to gather the shocks of einkorn. Due to the threat of bad weather, horses and wagons were traded for trucks and trailers so the grain could be gathered and threshed as quickly as possible. While a hard worker, this young lady didn’t load the trailer single-handedly…everyone
Each einkorn bundle is fed by hand into the thresher. A student is assisting Sam Uri, Conventional Fields Manager (on the left), with the threshing.
The thresher cuts the twine holding each einkorn bundle together, separates the grain from the stalks, blows the grain out one spout into the canvas bag (behind the fork lift in this photo), and blows the stalks out another spout and onto the ground.
To get antique farm machinery to work, and to keep it working, takes skill, knowledge, perseverance and dedication. Luckily, the farm has Gary Roberts from the Machine Shop. Gary can fix anything mechanical or electrical, but best of all, he never gives up. Here Gary watches a troublesome belt that kept wanting to slip off of the thresher.
So how do you lubricate a canvas belt on an antique thresher without making it slimy? Well, honey, of course! Just ask your grandfather!
A McCormick-Deering thresher (circa early 1900’s) is brought to the einkorn field and set up with a power source (see the long belt to the left, which goes to a vintage tractor) and with a forklift holding a large canvas bag to catch the grain. Last year the grain was blown directly into barrels, but the wind caused too much loss…thus the canvas bag and the funnel from the thresher into the bag.
As each bag was filled with einkorn, it was moved off to the side to allow threshing to continue.
At the end of each day, the bags of einkorn grain were moved from the field to temporary storage in the hay barn. At the Mona farm, fields are being plowed in preparation for planting some of the einkorn for next year’s crop. Some bags will be sent to other YL farms for planting, with the remainder being ground into flour for the YL einkorn products.
Nothing is wasted from the einkorn harvest! The einkorn straw that was blown out of the thresher into a pile was baled. Some will remain at the farm and be used as bedding next spring when the broodmares start foaling. The remainder has been sold.
In years past, the thresher was powered by this antique steam engine. However, it needs some boiler work and, due to its age (i.e. “the year it was riveted”), the work can only be performed by certain licensed boiler men, none of whom was available. That’s why a vintage tractor was used this year to power the thresher.
Source: Young Living Mona Farm, Aug 9, 2015
^ First einkorn harvest happened in 2005 at the farm in Mona, UT.
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