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> Issue 18 > Page 8 - Sowing Oats and Hay

Page 8 - Sowing Oats and Hay

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1977/12/1 (1042 reads)
 

this until he saw hayseed afixed to nearly every seed of oats. Then it was ready to take to the field. We asked Dan Murdoch what he would have done if he did not want a crop of oats and still wanted to sow hay by hand and evenly. He told us he would use the same method, replacing the oats with sawdust. It is difficult to describe his every move. We hope the photographs help convey some idea of how it was done. Clearly, there is room for a wide range of personal variation • in this • but it was interesting to us that just as Dan Murdoch started, with his very first toss of seed, Roddie Hector said, "That's it there, boy" • and you could tell by the way he said it that it'd been a long time since he'd seen that done, and that it was being done exactly right. Dan Murdoch was out in the field alone. He started from a corner, working along an edge of the field. Throughout the sowing there was no? thing random or wild in his motions. He'd take a step, pause, and throw • working his way back and forth across the field. As he moved across, he picked out marks in front of him and behind • a rock behind, say, and a fencepost in front of him • so as not to go astray. The typical image of broadcasting • handfuls being thrown in a wide arc out to the side • was not the method Dan Murdoch used. The idea was to have the seed leave his hand in a spray • so that no two seeds would fall on the ground together. He worked from the el? bow, not the shoulder. His aim was toward a narrow swath in front of him. He'd take up a handful of seed and begin (usually) with an upward and outward cast • the seed going about 8 to 12 feet from him, the swath a- bout 6 feet wide. The shooting forward on a single finger on the first toss • the thumb and other three fingers still holding seed • was a basic technique, whether tossing over? hand or underhand. He might toss twice un? derarm and if any was left in his hand, throw it away overhand and reach in the bucket for more. He'd take a step and pause. He'd make (perhaps) a long first cast of seed, underarm • and then firing forward from the elbow would release another spray of seed overhand and at a shorter distance.
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