Thursday, 19 September 2019

Harvest Home

It is harvest time in Orkney and the fields are full of beautiful, golden bundles. Gardeners are gathering up their vegetables and children will soon be piling up cans of soup and beans for their Harvest assemblies.

In celebration, we bring you an excerpt from Ernest Walker Marwick's The Lore of the Harvest which discusses the straw 'bikko' dog made from the straw in the last field. Below is an example of said 'bikko'.

We also found a J. Omond photo of some Orphir schoolgirls gathering peas, the sadly ruined harvest of 1909 (another Omond image) and a lovely harvest tea-break or 'half yoke'.

For more Orcadian harvest lore, click here.

The dreaded straw bikko - ultimate insult to a harvesting farmer.
Click to enlarge

Picking peas in Orphir.

Snow ruined the Harvest of 1909.



A well-earned break.


  1. Dusty, do you know if the peas the girls are picking are like the sweet green garden peas we eat today? The men resting remind me of the stories my dad and aunt would tell about the days the threshers came to harvest the wheat on the farm. Well-deserved rest, for sure! Those guys worked like beavers.

  2. Hi Sue,

    The picture is quite dark, but when I zoom in to the original scan, the plants do look like garden peas. Would 'peas' refer to another plant where you are?


  3. Hi, Archiver--

    No, I think that green peas are the same as garden peas. There are also chickpeas, which are different, so I just wondered.

    Thanks for replying--when I zoomed in on the photo, it just pixelated, which is probably because our computer is old and is having difficulties.



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