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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Thomas was busy collecting the eggs from the hens to sell on to the butcher in Whitley Bay town centre. He took 60 dozen of his eggs for which he gave him bacon, sausage, and a beef and pork joint. Thomas also supplied him with a dozen rabbits each week for which he got a pound each for. The rest of his eggs were taken by the Co-op. Hens were only good to lay eggs for three years; after that they were used for the table. To make sure that there was a good supply of chickens and a couple of cockerels; he raised his own. It was the same with his geese. He fattened them up for Christmas. Ducks were also a good source of money from both the eggs and the meat which Thomas supplied the Swallow hotel in Newcastle with.

Each week someone would come from the hotel where Thomas would painstakingly pluck and prepare the birds ready for collection. The feathers from both the ducks geese and chickens were used in mattresses and pillows so nothing was wasted.

After Thomas had taken the eggs and rabbits into town he bought flour and yeast to make his own bread. Thomas preferred home baked bread and scones.

When Thomas got back he changed into his wellingtons and his waterproof boiler suit and started mucking out the barns. All the manure from the cows and pigs and chickens were placed onto a heap with straw then it went back onto the land with a muck spreader. The urine was also used to repel insects from the crops instead of using insecticides. Brian had studied the effects of using high yield fertilisers and over time he had found that the soil hardened on the top and when it rained the water lay in pools on the top of the land and wasn’t absorbed by the soil. Now he was one of the few farmers who were exponents of organic farming.

The use of bio- chemicals increased soil fertility. The soil was tested by Brian who discovered that by using natural resources on his land; the PH balance was 7.5 which mean better crops and tastier ones too. The humus added to the soil improved soil structure; earth worms and friendly insects like bee’s ladybirds and other insects that fed on aphids and other pests now returned to restore the balance of nature.

Brian went back to using potash, bone meal, chicken manure, and fish meal which produced good pathogens


Today Thomas was spreading on a field that had been used by the land army during the Second World War. The field was a mass of tents the women drove tractors, cut down tree’s where the wood was used to make the stocks of rifles. Most of the men were away fighting for their country and Winston Churchill the Prime Minister called for every woman and child to lend a hand because the German U boats were sinking all of our merchant ships that imported food from Canada and the USA.

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