A Way of Life

A Way of Life

Eric Duffy

We are here to talk about things gone by in Balerno and Currie, and to talk about the things that I did as a boy. I think I’ll start off by telling you where I was born. I came through from Airdrie when I was about five years of age. I spent all my youth on Balleny Farm; that’s the big dairy farm, just outside Balerno. Balleny was a big dairy farm. It took twenty-six people to run that farm. Now it can be run by two – the farmer and his son. There was no electricity; all the lighting was by paraffin lamp, in the stables and the byres. It was the only farm on the Water of Leith that had its own windmill, which was driven by the water from Bavelaw Burn and which bruised all the corn, cut up the hay and sawed up the logs and wood for the fires. The milk was delivered in Balerno, Currie, and to the big hotels in Edinburgh. There were seven horses, no tractors at that time. The tractors came during the war. I spent all the war years at Balleny farm.

I was the youngest of seven, so there were nine people in my family. My sisters and I went to Balerno School and my brothers went to Currie School. From Balleny Farm we had to walk; we had a good deal of enjoyment in walking, both summer and winter. Part of our education was in walking; we had no long trousers, we always wore short trousers. Boys didn’t wear long trousers until they were fourteen years of age and we had tackety boots.

My sister, May, was Dux of Balerno School and later married a Canadian soldier, and emigrated to Canada. The cleverest boy was Andrew Hogg, and he was named the Prince. They had a lovely ceremony in Balerno, when they had the crowning of the Queen and Prince. They’d done away with that when I was at the school. You stayed at Balerno School until you were about eleven or twelve years of age; then you went to the secondary school at Currie until you were about fourteen, and if you were really clever you could stay on until you were sixteen to eighteen. We loved our holidays and spent most of our Summer holidays on the farm. We used to go swimming in Thriepmuir reservoir and played in the woods. Nobody got drowned, and we loved our life on the farm.

I’ll get back to life on the farm; and I think it would be interesting for youngsters now to know how farms operated in those days. It was a dairy farm with sixty eight dairy cattle. We had our own bull. When the cows went dry they were more or less sold, and younger cows were brought in to replace them. The older cows were taken to Gorgie slaughterhouse.

Balleny was a more or less self sufficient farm, in that we grew almost everything. We were allowed to sell seed potatoes and corn, grown from seed. There were always lorries coming into Balleny to take away hay, to take away wheat, to take away corn, to take away straw, to take away turnips, to take away potatoes. To my knowledge, no artificial manure or fertilizer was used. A lot of the stuff was taken to Balerno station, and put in the heavy goods wagons, to feed the horses at King’s Stables Road. There was a lorry that delivered the milk and cream to the big hotels in Edinburgh. I was a milk boy when I was at the school; but I’ll tell you more about that later on. There were two milk deliveries; one in the morning and one in the afternoon. The milk was cooled and bottled, ready for delivery. There were no machines, it was all hand milking then. It was a highly organised day. Very old fashioned, but very highly organised. We grew mostly corn, because we had cattle to feed. Turnips, we grew turnips. Potatoes; barley. We grew barley; it wasn’t a big thing, because the after product of the barley; straw, isn’t much good for anything.

I think that the most contented thing I’ve ever heard was at night time, when all the cows had been fed, and my father and mother had made the meal, and the family were settling down round the fire, and doing their home work or whatever by the light of the paraffin lamps, and then every night without fail my father would put his hat on, and nobody ever asked him where he was going, because we knew where he was going; to the byre, and the most contented sound was to hear the cows chewing their cud, and when we walked in they would sit up and look at us, and give a little nod, as if to say Hello. They would be lying there, sixty eight cows in the one byre, and it really was a lovely contented sound. Then we would go back through the stable. Some of the horses would be lying down. We had huge Clydesdale horses.

We had a huge German horse. Some of the horses couldn’t lie down, because the iron shoes on their feet were so huge that if they’d lain down they wouldn’t have been able to get up again, so the ploughman made an iron bar for them, so they could sit on the bar. It was funny to see them sitting on the pole, with their heads hanging down, going to sleep. Then we’d go back into the house, because my Dad had to back at three in the morning to be ready for the milking. He started at three, and everything was all tidied up by six o’clock. We started milking again at three o’clock in the afternoon, and everything was tidied away by six, and that was it every day, seven days a week. That was done by quite a few people. It took eight people to milk all those cows. We hand milked them all; it was hard work, but highly organised.

I was the only member of our family, who never went into the byres. I went and served my time in Edinburgh, as a plumber. I left the school when I was fourteen. My sisters had to carry on until the war broke out. Then my brothers went into the Air Force, my sisters went into the Air Force, I went into the Air Force, so then there weren’t enough people on the farm to run the dairy. We then moved down into Malleny Mills, and my father had the little smallholding there.

Lord Roseberry owned the dairy farm, and we rented the smallholding from Mr. Bungton who owned the Bung Mill there. Mr. Sloan was a gentleman farmer. He didn’t work. My father and family ran the dairy. Then you had the ploughman, and the first, second and third man. They did all the ploughing work. Then there was the shepherd, and there were two or three hundred sheep at Balleny Farm. It was a very, very active farm. There was always something going on at Balleny. The big highlight was when the thrashing mill came in, and it was a big steam engine; an enormous contraption. It was driven by steam, the thrashing mill, and then the bailer. There were two men that did it. They lived in a caravan, and towed their own house all over the country. They went to different farms. They might be at Balleny for one or two days, depending on how much the farmer wanted and then they would carry on from there. They might be at the Kirkgate for a while, and then back again in a couple of months, depending on what the farmer wanted. They turned up for the thrashing, because we needed all the hands we could possibly get when the thrashing mill was there. The thrashing was when we cut the corn, and green tractors were loaned out to the farmers. We would plough up more ground, and sow more corn. There were high ponds at Thriepmuir and Harlaw, and the fields there had poles in them to stop the aircraft from landing. There were two reservoirs, not Thriepmuir or Harlaw, and the reservoirs had poles made like pyramids, and we used to swim out to them when we were boys. We used to play games in them until the anchors broke loose in the high winds and they all got smashed up in the causeways. That was to stop the seaplanes from landing at Thriepmuir, not at Harlaw, because you couldn’t land there at all. The whole of Currie, Juniper Green and Colinton was occupied with the paper mills. All the families had someone who worked in the paper mills. It was a very busy community. There was glass coming into Balerno station; there was straw going out of Balerno station, there was paper going out of Balerno station. There was coal brought in from Newtongrange, from the Lady Victoria pit. Between the farming and the paper mills it was a very active community; nobody had to go either from Balerno or Currie to look for work. All the work was in the village itself. It became a very close community. Currie had its own football team, Balerno had its own football team, and of course there was great competition between the two paper mills. There was always something going on. As boys and girls we got holidays from the school during the war, to collect the potatoes. That was in September. We were allowed to take so many potatoes home; it was what was known as the boiling of potatoes.

The harvesting would start at the end of August, and September providing the weather was good. Once the harvesting had started, that was half the battle. You had the hay, and singling of the turnips. You would turn the hay in the morning, and single the turnips, and then go and make hay in the afternoon. You would ruck the hay, and then bogey it in, and put it into the big souse sacks. It was really a highly organised system, as opposed to the combine harvester. You see, the harvester carried in the last sheaf. The wheat was the last to be cut. The wheat stacks would be in a different place altogether, because the wheat was very valuable. It took the longest to grow and ripen. It was a good cropper. It was all stooked and put into stacks, and nine times out of ten, if it was a good one it was taken to the church for the harvest thanksgiving from Harlaw or East Kinlieth, or whatever. Harvest was a great time. Everybody mucked in, and everybody volunteered to help. There was a community spirit. Now a field could be cut, and you would never know a combine harvester had been in. Farming’s so cold now.

During the war most of the men would be away, but quite a lot of soldiers were billeted up at Buteland farm. There were soldiers up at Youngers, Thriepmuir, and there were soldiers billeted down at Riccarton. That was a big army camp. One of the biggest army camps in Scotland was here, at the Riccarton Campus. They would have what you call surprise parties. They would have a surprise party, usually on a Saturday night.

In they would come with the fiddle and the accordion, and the bread and the baking was all done. My mother would always know there was going to be something on. She would make a big dumpling, and they would clear the tables. When I was a boy I would lie under the bed and watch them all. They would start the fiddle and the dancing, and they’d have a Ceilidh. I never saw any drink. They’d maybe have a bottle of beer. But, it was just to be happy. They’d dance, and they’d have a bottle of beer. They’d have a coal fire burning.

This was all done with Paraffin lamps. There was no electricity. There was a big range. Then I went into National Service. I think that I had the best childhood that anyone could ask for. There were all the different types of soldiers; they came from Canada, Australia and New Zealand and they were all stationed round about here. Although there was a war on, it didn’t affect us very much. Two bombs fell, just outside Balerno. An oil bomb fell, outside the Johnsburn Hotel. Then another bomb fell. This is a true story, by the way. There was a British spy, called Lord Haw Haw, and he’d speak like this. “This is Germany calling, Germany calling”. He’d say that Balerno Paper Mill was a gunpowder factory. It wasn’t of course. But, he’d say that we’d get it. So there must have been a German spy around the Balerno, Currie area. One night, when they were doing the milking at Cockburn Farm (they never bothered about blackout, or anything like that) they were going about with their lights and their paraffin lamps, and this bomber came over, and dropped incendiaries at Cockburn Farm, that’s out past the Johnsburn Hotel. It killed a calf, and set a barn on fire. As they were circling round by Bavelaw, the guns from the Forth got him, and the searchlights from the Harlaw end; they got him and he crashed into Harehill. The story goes that he crashed into Bellshill; he did not. He crashed into Harehill, and all the lads in the plane were killed. The reason I know this, is because the lads who sorted out the wreckage of the plane stayed with my Mum. The next bomb was a big oil bomb which landed beside the Johnsburn Hotel, and landed in a Kale field. The next one again he dropped a strip of bombs all along the Lang Wang; because we were lads; we cycled along and found them all. The plane had been hit, so it circled around and then crashed into Harehill. He had to get rid of the bombs, first. Those bombs were dropped right across the Lang Wang. There were about five people in the plane and they were all blown to bits.

There was a right of way, right through the Currie woods to Juniper Green. There were no houses there at all. It was a swampy woodland because a little Burn ran through there. Then it went into Baberton golf course, and took you out at Baberton golf course, with the stretch of wood there. There was no primary school the other side of Curriehill Road; just a ploughed field. They never ploughed the ground where the football field is, because there were Springs of water there all the time.

Malleny Mills was a community like Balerno. There were spinning mills in Malleny Mills. There were springs in the Harlaw area; black springs. The house at Lymphoy was fed with spring water; as was Lennox Tower. Saint Mungo’s well is down at Currie Brig. It was there before the railway embankment. There was a stream which ran down into the well, before it went into the water of Leith. There are a lot of springs in the Currie area. We never called the Red Moss area the Red Moss. It was known as the common, where people could take their animals for grazing, cut the peat for their fires, because it was free land. It belonged to the people.

We used to go up there with hessian bags, to make bandages during the war. We also collected the rosehips along the river, to make rose hip syrup. Everyone of us had to knit a strip of blanket. We had to strip down old jerseys, and my Mum would make the stuff into balls of wool, and we would knit a strip, a foot long, and it was all sewn together and sent to the navy. We collected old cast iron once a year, and took it down for the war effort. We collected all this in our wheelbarrows. These were all cut down and made into guns and tanks. We made this into a game. I didn’t like knitting blankets. The ship we sent our blanket to was sunk.

The Gypsies used to encamp up at Bavelaw Burn. The horses and caravans went to a lovely area, where they encamped beside some lovely fir trees. They’ve all been cut up now. It was a proper road that horses and caravans can go down, right down to the Water of Leith. They would go to the farms, and sell them hand-made baskets, they would repair any leaks in the milk cans. They would repair leaks in the pots and pans. They made clothes pegs. They were very useful people. When we left the caravan site, it was spotlessly clean. Then they would move to another area, and do the same again.

Another interesting thing is the change in the pace of life. Fifty years ago it was the pace of a horse walking. Now it is as fast as a car can go. Another thing about living on a farm. You had the farm smells of course, but I felt that the air was so sweet. You could smell a car nearly half a mile away. For instance when the steam engine came to do the thrashing, you could smell the oil and the smoke and the steam. This smell seemed to linger over the farm. After the thrashing mill had gone away, I thought it was a wonderful smell. The only smell of paraffin I was used to was the oil we used to fill the lamps with. It was a smell we weren’t used to on the farms. The farm had a smell of its own. The farms were clean. You never had to plough through mud. It was a spotlessly clean farm. I’ve seen my father brushing up and washing down. They loved their work. They were in bed by half past nine, ten o’clock at night, because they had to be up at three o’clock in the morning. My father would be down in the byres, clipping the cows in the byres.

Now we are going to hear about the binders; we were just boys, and what the binders would do, would be to help to stook the corn. Some farmers had three horses drawing the binders, and they would throw out the sheaves one at a time. They would always face the sheaves. The stooks all had to face the same way, to let the wind blow right through the centre of them to dry them before they were made into stacks. We would work in the harvest moon; we would work until eight o’clock at night as long as the weather was dry. Sometimes you couldn’t lead in first thing in the morning, because you had the dew on the corn, so you couldn’t stack it until it had dried. That was a lot of hard work for the horses. There would be sandwiches from the big house. The hardest time of the year for the horses was the harvesting and the ploughing. The ploughing was more steady; we would plough about an acre a day on good ground, and the harvest was heavy, and the pulling potatoes. It was all done by horses.

It was a wonderful time of the year. The government lent us tractors to plough land that hadn’t been ploughed for years and we needed extra oats for the horses and mules during the war. One time we were stooking the hay and Mr. Sloan called over to my father that he thought we had time to finish the stooking, because it was a fine evening, but my father said that we’d never get it finished in time and the dew would be coming in the morning, and then all our work would be of no use. So Mr. Sloan asked me to ask Mr. Grieve, who was the headmaster at Balerno school to send the Home Guard, who were stationed there, and to ask whether they would mind coming to do an hour’s work, to help us get the harvest finished.

I was watching the tractors cutting the corn. So Mr. Grieve marched all the lads over the Brig, and they had the whole forty acre field stooked by night time. The Gurkhas came over; they were at Bavelaw Barracks and they all came up to Bavelaw and they spent two nights sleeping on Bellshill. That’s where the shooting ranges are. On the side of that there is a little building where they stored the ammunition.

I was born and brought up on Balleny Farm. My father was a great lover of dogs, he was a lover of Collie dogs. During the war we had to leave Balleny Farm. After my brothers and sisters had joined the forces we moved down to Malleny Mills. My father used to still go to the market; he would go to Gorgie market and Lanark market, and he would meet them and chat away over old times. We had the little smallholding at Malleny Mills, the spinning mill we called it. One day I was speaking to my mother, and she said, “Lizzie, what have you got?” and she was holding a little three or for month old collie dog puppy, and the dog turned into a beautiful dog, and he really was a beautiful well bred dog. During that time my father was working for Harmeny House, which was owned by McEwan Younger, the brewer. He was also running the little smallholding which we had on a part time basis. My mum had hens, and I had hens, a pig and a cow and what have you. My mum and dad were sitting at the table one evening, and she said to my father, “Pat, can hens go off laying, just like that.” “No,” he said, “They wouldn’t go off laying just like that. They might start moulting, and then they would gradually stop laying”. “Because” she said, “I was getting an average of eighteen eggs a day, and now I’m only getting two or three”. “Wait a minute”, said my father, “Where’s that dog?” “I thought he was going to work with you,” said my mother. “No he isn’t,” said my father. “I’ll tell you what. Next time I go to work, you watch where that dog goes.” What the dog was doing was that he was following my father a little way, and then he was watching my mother going into the hen house. My mother would go into the hen house, and do what she had to do there, and then she would go and milk the cow. All her jobs would maybe take about an hour, and then she would go back into the house. The dog would follow a little way, and then he would round the hens up in a corner of the field, with the cockerel, and this is what he would be doing all day. He was only a young dog, about four or five months old. The hens couldn’t go into the hen house to lay their eggs there, so they were laying their eggs in the corner of the field. The cockerel kept flying at the dog to try to get him to move, but he wouldn’t. Nobody had taught that dog. That dog had an inner instinct, to guard those hens because he was a working dog. Nobody had taught that dog. We had to lock the dog up, to stop him guarding the hens.

Another dog we had was a bearded collie called Bobbie. We got him when he was just a young dog, coming up from six to nine months. The older bitch of the house was called Blot. She was a very clever dog, a wonderful dog; and then we had this dog called Bobbie. Maybe, the cows would be away, up at the Marchbank and we couldn’t see them from Balleny farm. My father wouldn’t even speak to the dog; he would just look up towards Marchbank, and wave his hand. He would wave his hand again, and the dog would take off. Then, there the dog would be coming, bringing in the cows, not running, but just walking slowly, and he would bring the cows into the byre. Once the cows got out, after being in the byre all winter, and they got out onto the grass, and they were very frisky after being in all winter, once they were coming back into the byre after being out they all knew exactly which stall to go to. Each cow would go into its own stall, and then just wait to be chained up, because there was food there for them. The dog would just lie outside the byre, until someone put a basin of milk out for him.

We were always late for school, especially Currie School, because we had to deliver the milk. We would always get the belt for being late. The teacher knew we were working, but felt that she had to give us the belt to maintain discipline. If she hadn’t done this, I don’t think we would have had the same respect. I, also, used to get the belt for not doing my homework, but the teacher understood, because it was mostly farming people and mill working people who lived in Currie. We all knew each other, and we all knew each others fathers and mothers, and we all went to the local whist drives. It was a fantastic atmosphere in Balerno and Currie, and the best years of my life were when I was a boy. The milking is usually at three o’clock in the morning and three in the afternoon. A Mrs. Whithers used to help with the milking. She had a big family too, and used to walk all the way up from the village to Balleny farm. When Mrs. Whithers was off ill, my sister Jean, who was twelve had to take a turn. Jean was a very fast milker, and could milk fifteen cows between three and six in the morning. Then she would go back to bed for a couple of hours. I used to make butter by hand, and another chore I used to do was cutting up turnips. That had to be done by hand. We would do these jobs by hand. Everybody had a little chore to do and we would do these jobs when we were eleven or twelve years of age, so by the time we went to bed at night we were too tired to do any homework. Balleny was all operated by horses. But we had a lorry which delivered the milk to the big hotels in Edinburgh. It also brought back drafts from the breweries. We also had a lorry driven by Tom Fletcher. Then we had the van which delivered the local milk. This was at Balerno and Currie. This was the farmer’s cart. Balleny had seven horses, sixty eight cows and hundreds of hens. People always had time to talk to you. Everybody was contented, everybody was busy.

Ella was born in a little place in the Bathgate Hills, in a little row of cottages known as the clinking stanes. That was the name of the row of little cottages. Ella had to go out into the fields when she was a little girl, and collect all the sheep casts of wool from the bushes and hedges. All this wool was carded and spun and washed, and made into jumpers, because the family were great knitters. The family had done this for generations. Nothing was ever wasted. It was busy all the time. There were huge beech trees, sheltering the houses where Ella lived, and the roofs of the cottages were thatched. When it thundered the family had to go out and play rounders, in case the cottages were struck by lightning.

There was another little village, between Currie and Balerno, called Duncan’s Belt. There were a few houses in this village. I also had three sisters, and all the local lads would come up to the farm to wench my sisters, which was good, but my father would capture them, and get them to help with some of the chores while my sisters were doing the milking. Then, when they’d finished their jobs my sisters would get changed and go off to the dancing. There was a little farm between Harlaw and West Kinleith. It’s completely gone too now. One day I was walking along Lymphoy, and the right of way takes you right past Balleny farm. The farmer didn’t know there was a right of way. The right of way goes right through the farm, through to Listonshiels and comes out at the other side. There are in fact three rights of way. The army used to walk them.

We used to single turnips, so we had a turnip every nine inches. My father put bags on his knees, and tied them with string. We had two Irishmen called John and Michael, who helped with the harvest. They lived in a bothy and they both smoked a pipe. I used to listen to those men telling stories and I never heard one swear word. I would listen to those men telling stories about the experiences of their lives, and I would listen to those men telling stories and sometimes it was like a competition to see who would tell the biggest lie. Yet they were just three nice men telling stories.

Michael and John were two Irishmen who always came over at the singling of the turnips. They would single the turnips in the morning, and make hay in the afternoon, and after that they would go back after tea, and after that they would carry on with singling the turnips. The ploughman and his man would make hay in the morning and then single the turnips in the afternoon, when the hay was damp, and then they would kyle and ruck the hay. My eldest brother Tommie was very, very fast at singling turnips and they singled them with the hoe, nine inches apart. He went on to “piece work”, to make some extra money. “Piece work” is when you are paid so much a yard, for the amount of turnips singled. My father said to my brother, Tommie, “Do you think you’re fast at singling turnips?” “Oh yes,” said Tommie, “I could beat you any time”. “Like to place a bet on it?” said my father. “Oh yes,” said Tommie. “Right,” said my father, “We’ll put ten shillings on it.” He said, “We’ll take a drill.” A drill is a row of turnips, maybe two or three hundreds yards long. This was going to be a little competition between father and son. Away they went after their tea, Tommie had his hoe; my father was following him and Tommie turned round and said, “Dad, have you not forgotten something?” “No,” said my father, “A good singler doesn’t need a hoe, son.” He had two bags under his arm, and away they went up the field. The Irishmen were still working away, further up the field. They picked up two rows; one for my father, and one for my brother. My father tied the bags round his knees with string, and he said, “Are you right then, Tommie?” and Tommie started off with the hoe, and my father got down on his knees with his two hands; one, two, three, and started singling the turnips with his bare hands. He was fifty yards ahead of my brother because he was using two hands, and my brother was only using the equivalent of one; the hoe. My brother had never seen anyone singling turnips with their bare hands before, but that was the way things had been done in Ireland when my father was a little boy.

The “right of way” actually goes through Balleny Farm. The “rights of way” were used during the war by the Gurkhas, and other soldiers. They used the old maps. I was living down in Currie by this time, and decided I’d use the “right of way” which went through Balleny Farm. This is just a track; you’ll see it marked by a hawthorn hedge. I walked right through the “right of way”, right into Balleny Ground, round down by the hollow, round by the duck pond and along the cow road which takes you through Balleny. I had the two Jack Russell’s with me, and I put them both on a lead because I knew that there would be collie dogs in the farm barking. I met the farmer, standing in the field and I said, “I used to live here”, and I explained how I’d come along the “right of way” which went past the cat and dog home. The “right of way,” said the farmer, “which right of way’s that? I didn’t know that there was a right of way.” I explained how there was a right of way which went along by the duck pond and along the cow road and through Balleny Farm. “Where are you going now?” said the farmer. “Along the horse road, towards the Marchbank Hotel,” said I. “There’s a right of way that comes out, and meets the Drover’s Road, by the Marchbank Hotel. Here’s another one for you. There’s another right of way that takes you out at Thriepmuir Farm.” “Well, I never,” he said, “I never knew that.” “I’ll tell you what,” he said, “You can walk the rights of way, but don’t tell anybody.”

Michael and John, the two Irishmen, used to come over every year for the singling of the turnips. They would start with the turnips and then help with the harvesting and the haymaking. They would stay on for the end of the haymaking, and by that time the back end of the year would have come. They would stay for the shoring of the turnips and after the shoring of the turnips, Michael and John would go home. They would live in a bothy in the farmyard, and because my father was an Irishman too, they would tell stories to each other during the evening and I never heard a swear word. They used to tell stories about their childhood and the dances they would go to, and so on. My father, as a young man used to travel to all the shows to earn extra money, wrestling, and this is what he did as a young man. My father used to wrestle with anyone, and there were specific rules to this. The last time my father did an Irish jig was at my wedding to Ella in Livingston, when we got married. There was specific dance called “The Corn Kisters”. A kist was a huge wooden box, and the farmer would sit there, and they would polish the harness on a wet day. To cheer things up they would do what they called “mouth music” and they would sit there and drum with their feet on the wooden box.

Years ago, the Highland lassies used to come down for the harvest in their hundreds. They would come down from the Highlands in droves, to help with the harvesting and the potatoes. They spoke nothing but Gaelic, and they had to cut the corn by shirks and tie it up; they were a sight to see. There’d be maybe fifty to a hundred of them in the field, and they’d bind the sheafs and stook it, and it was wonderful to hear those lassies singing, “The Lord’s my Shepherd”, or “The Old Wooden Cross”, as they worked in the fields. It would bring the tears to your eyes. It was the most wonderful sound you ever heard in your life. Another thing we used to do was to roll the corn, and while we were doing this the peewits or lapwings would be nesting. They weren’t to know that we would be coming with a huge Clydesdale horse, and a huge roller to roll down the corn. They were so brave that they would actually stop and face up a horse. We would see them swooping down, so we knew we were getting near the nest. Nine times out of ten we could spot the nest, so we would place too huge stones either side of the nest so that we wouldn’t roll over it when we were rolling the corn. We would bump over the stones and then pick them up until we got to the next nest. We would maybe do this fifteen or twenty times a day, and we didn’t mind doing this because we knew that we were saving those birds and their nests. We always had a great respect for those birds. They were so brave, to face up a horse.