As I’ve said before, the BOAZ mini-combine works great on our larger sections of grain, but a lot of the crop is harvested by hand. Some of the plots are just too small to justify the cleaning that would have to be done between varieties, and some like the demonstration plots at Maine Wood Heat in Skowhegan would be impractical to use it. These small plots are harvested by hand and bundled into sheaves and brought back to my place in Solon for processing . When I have all the sheaves here I can use the Boaz for a stationary thresher. I park the contraption on a large tarp so I can gather up and save all the seed; I remove the revolving paddle-wheel rake on the front of the machine and I disconnect the sicklebars that cut off the heads of the grain from the grain head. Once I done this I can fire up the thing and feed the sheaves slowly into the machine. This combine is not make to take in all the stalk when it’s out in the field. Too much material would overload it . However, when I use it as a stationary thresher I can feed in a little at a time and it seems to work fine.
I might have 10 sheaves of each variety from 2 or 3 different places so I process all those varieties together. Then when I’m done with each variety , I can sweep up all the seed that may have blown out onto the tarp, stop the machine, vacuum it out, and begin again with a new variety. I do my best to save as many seeds as I can. After all this work I want to feed the pigeons as little as I can. Some of the varieties I have are just too small an amount to use the machine. These varieties I process entirely by hand. I might have begun with just a hand full of seed that someone gave me to grow out. When I’ve harvested that very small plot, I clip off the heads with scissors into a paper grocery bag and then just reach in and thresh the heads with my hands. This doesn’t take very long and I end up with a bunch of seed in the bottom of the bag.
This is probably how you would do your backyard plot. Or if you had a larger amount you might have the neighborhood kids jump up and down on your grain heads. Now that I have all the seed separated from the grain heads I can begin cleaning. More fun to come.