A Gleaning...


gleaning art.jpg

The other morning I replaced my morning run/meditation with gleaning- going through the harvested corn field to gather any corn left behind. My mental calculations were that I could feed the chickens for a few days, translating into less chicken feed to be purchased. It was an experiment too in response to a flurry of e-mails some months back about creating gleaning crews to gather in "leftover" organic vegetables. I thought I should try gleaning for myself.

I got the farm cart and a few 5 gallon buckets and headed out to the field. Three tractor passes happen with fall harvest:

1. Harvested with combine,
2. Stocks chopped with a chopper
3. A digger turning over the soil

I dragged my cart over the plowed field, into the chopped stock stubble, and over behind the combine (no one was out in the fields yet). I pulled the cart up and down the field-- looking every which way for corn. Let's just say the combine is pretty efficient. Some lessons:

- the edges of the field seem most fruitful
-this is darn hard work -- I only filled two 5 gallon bucket with chopped up corn chunks in about an hour
-I could only find the corn that was right under my feet (my plan to have my eyes sweep a 12 foot swath did not work). I walked up and down that field with my eyes glued to my feet.

All the time I was out there I had a song from Sesame Street playing in my brain.

"While looking at my feet at a crack in the sidewalk and finding a quarter and an old bus token

I nearly missed a rainbow

I nearly missed a sunset

I nearly missed a shooting star going by"


From what I've seen the best gleaners are Canadian Geese: having eyes on the side of the head give them an advantage. A friend told me the geese find out in a hurry where the corn borers have been. Geese seem to prefer chisel plowed corn: I think the stalks block their view of predators plus they don't like the sharp ends of the stalks against their wings.

I wouldn't be discouraged: I think you got more grain than Millet's Gleaners. I was in Eastern Europe this summer and was informed the Soviets criminalized gleaning and on top of that their leaky boxcars would lose half the grain on the way to Moscow (where all the good stuff would go).

Also, I think those 3 passes through the field were 4-5 passes a few decades ago. We're making progress every time we think differently.

That sounds like an awful lot of work, especially pulling that big cart over rough terrain. If some wildlife will eat it before the digger, I guess I would leave it for them.
Interesting choice of art for this message...we had "The Gleaners" hanging in our country school, (the only one I remember besides the portraits of Lincoln and Washington).
Love, Yo' Mama

Have you read the book of Ruth?
Our women of the church are studying this book in our current Bible study. The history in this biblical book is to leave the gleanings for the widows and the poor. In fact is this painting of Ruth and the women doing so?
Love you.. do have a wonderful blessed Thanksgiving,
"your favorite Aunt!"

I applaud you on your hard work. Even if it is just for a day, trying something new is always a good thing. If you end up learning something new along the way then that is even better.

I applaud you on your hard work. Even if it is just for a day, trying something new is always a good thing. If you end up learning something new along the way then that is even better.

What a breath of fresh air to bring a little sunshine after a stressful day. Very good prose that really gets the idea covered. Thank you for taking the time.

I am really thankful to the author of this post for making this lovely and informative article live here for us. We really appreciate ur effort. Keep up the good work. . . .

A good experience, good writing, and a lesson to be learned.
Living in the City, the closest i get to nature life and picking is the mango tree down the street, which yields rather nice sweet mangos in season. Only wish to one day Glean a bit in some field. mmm... country side...
anyway, thanks for the post Kathryn

All though I didn't read the whole thing, I actually think it should be a little moresimple to read, many people don't read that much and just leave the page to read something more simple.. I do, however have something simple to read, rosehip oil is a natural oil taken from rosehips and is very healthy for your skin, come and look.

I saw tractors when i used to live in southern missouri. Great post though!

Corn harvesting and Sesame Street go hand-in-hand don't they?? lol I recently came across your blog and am finding it quite inspirational (to this "city gardener") - but this post was quite funny! :)

The article is wonderfully written and the way
the points that were sent across is very understandable. I loved it.

I liked how the thoughts and the insights of this article is well put together and well-written.

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This page contains a single entry by Kathryn Draeger published on November 7, 2008 5:26 AM.

At the End of the Rainbow was the previous entry in this blog.

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