Before The Harvest

"Before the Harvest " I know you will enjoy this story of three generations of farmers During the outbreak of WW2. Janice Villeverde and her friend Miriam Nixon are sent to Wildacre Farm in the New York Estate. it is there that they are put to work along with many others to help the war effort. it is there that they meet up with young Thomas Hogg who introduces the girls to his friend George Barrett. After a brief courtship Janice finds herself in trouble and George Barrett sends her away when she tells him. Forced to bring up a child on her own Janice swears revenge on the man who wronged her. Before the Harvest gives you an insight of how a farm worked during the war years; a story of love hate and revenge.


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Over the next few months Janice went about her work, Cora and Miriam made her some larger clothes and made a dart in her trousers so she could still do some work on the farm.

Janice had not returned home to Ashington in Northumberland since she found out she was pregnant. She wrote to her father and brothers telling them that she was busy on the farm being it harvest time and that it would be unlikely that she would be home again this Christmas. Janice reckoned that her baby would be due in early January 1943 which was four months away.

Cora and Miriam sat in the chair of an evening knitting clothes for the new baby in various colours. They didn’t want to tempt fate by knitting in all pink or all blue.

They crocheted some blankets for the crib that Thomas had made out of scraps of oak that was lying around the garage and varnished it.

William spoke to a neighbouring farmer who told him that they had a pram and a wooden high chair that they no longer used and he could have it if he came to collect them. William cleaned it and polished up the chrome and it looked as good as new.

The baby bottle was improvised from the ones they used to feed the calves that wouldn’t suckle.


September proved to be one of the wettest on record and as a result the crops failed.

The wheat and barley crop was very poor this year and William thought that they wouldn’t make enough to see them through the coming year.

Cabbages and sprouts were doing well but the potatoes had to be lifted as soon as there was a dry spell or they would get blight and be ruined.

All the onions were brought into one of the barns to dry off before taking them to market. It was certainly not a good year for farmers who were being told what crops to plant and where to plant them; it proved a disaster.


The war in Europe continued with bitter fighting between Germany and the Soviet Union forces. Masses of refugees were fleeing the country. There were massacres, starvation and disease on a huge scale as Hitler’s Panza tank units bombarded the country. Russia had lost control over Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland. Hitler thought that Russia would be beaten before the onset of winter and his decision not to go into Moscow cost him dearly. He said that he wouldn’t make the same mistake as in 1919 when soldiers died of starvation but that is exactly what happened. His forces were ill equipped to fight in the bitter cold winter and thousands died of exposure and starvation. The Germans in 1943 were now using V1 rockets that were aimed at London and for a while they caused destruction of many homes in the London area; until they were shot down over the English Channel.


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