Harvesting Oats – Learning About Farming

My brother getting married in Australia has introduced us to a whole new level of family, recently, and in this case, farmers! Apart from the fact that they are all lovely and seem a perfect family to be ‘in-lawed’ to, they are also incredibly generous with their time, and invited us to spend the last day of a six week harvest with them this year.

The farm is out in the middle of nowhere – or Williams – about two hours from Perth.

Their home is beautiful, their farm is spectacular, and the time we’ve spent with them has been quite different to anything else we’ve experienced. We arrived on the last day of harvest, and the girls absolutely loved it. It was a fabulous learning experience for them too!

This particular field was full of oats, so once the oats were ready for harvest, the harvester is sent in. This no mess no fuss machine costs a fortune, but it’s brought farming into the technological age. Complete with airconditioned cabin and radio, it also has an impressive on board computer that tells the farmers at a click of a button how much harvest was gleaned from each individual field, the quality of the crop and loads of other information about the field and the crops. All this is kept and in the ‘down months’ when they’re not actually working the fields, but prepping the machines, and selling the harvest, they also spend time analyzing the data so that they know where to e.g. add more fertiliser or send the cattle in or whatever.


The oats are cut by these might rotating blades, and the whole blade contraption is controlled from within the cabin, lowered and raised based on the landscape of the field. From here it’s sucked up into the back of the machine, where the ‘wheat & chaff’ are separated, so that the oats fall through into the bin, but the stalks and everything else it picks up is chucked back out the back of the machine where it is left to become grazing or mulch.


Once the bin reaches an almost full state, an orange light atop the cab lights up so that the Chaser Bin driver knows to head in. Either the harvester stops and empties out into the Chaser Bin, or the tractor pulling it will just drive alongside and be filled up as it goes. I guess it depends on whether they feel like stopping for a chat and a snack or not! In this image they had stopped, so you can just see the blades in the back behind the blue tractor raised off the ground. 
chaserFrom here the harvester carries on again, and the Chaser Bin goes off to the silos which are then filled in a similar way before they are again emptied into a truck that will take them to the warehouse for sorting and preparing for market.

It was a really fascinating way to spend an afternoon, and Ameli was engrossed in it all.

I love that we had the opportunity to see first hand where the oats for our bliss balls (since we don’t really eat porridge!) comes from. 



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Lost Down Under

It may seem like we’ve fallen off the face of the earth, but actually, we’ve been spending a bit of time at the bottom of it. The last five or so months have been a roller coaster for our family as we decided we wanted to do some slow travelling around Europe so that we could keep working, but move our walls and explore some of our world.  A week after giving up our house, however, my husband was told that his job would be ending and then his contract was ended a month early too, so all our plans came to a disappointing and grinding halt. More so because we were set to visit Australia for my brother’s wedding, but with the loss of income we could no longer do it.

Fortunately my little brother has a big heart and he bought four tickets for our family to cross the oceans.  Aren’t I a lucky big sister ?

So, for the last 6 weeks we’ve been bumming around Perth, trying to spend as little as possible – no small feat in December, with Christmas and feeling a little bit holiday-ish.

Like many people around Christmas time, we’ve  spent a lot of time running around:

Perth beach

And a lot of time just trying to keep our heads above water:

Perth Head Above

We’ve been hiding in the shadows:

perth wedding

Watching movies late into the evening:

Perth Movies

Yep, this has been a rather more austere Christmas than we had imagined:

Perth Christmas

And we’re really looking forward to returning to the UK and leaving scenes like this behind us*

Perth beach

P.S. In case you weren’t sure, I’m trying reverse psychology on myself, psyching myself up to leaving Perth!

Going on holiday soon? 

Last Minute.com offers fantastic breaks, getaways and treats on your holiday.
Before your trip, sign up with Groupon.com to find discounted offers while you’re away. We found a dinner and a day trip for our stay in Perth.