THE FARM LIFE
In June it began the wheat harvest. At the dawn the farmers were already in the camps, and after tying the animals with long ropes to a tree to allow them to graze, they sharpened the scythes with the whetstone always wet placed in a horn on his belt with water on it. They putted on some homemade finger guards cutting appropriately some cane pieces of a diameter equal to that of their fingers. They marked his forehead and after pronouncing aloud "name of God", bowed their backs and doing good wishes about the goodness of the crop, they began cutting the wheat that was first laid on the floor, then tied into sheaves and finally, in the evening, piled in heaps. For the harvest they used the sickle. The wheat, cut to a height of 15-20 cm and collected in piles, was then brought together into sheaves of diameter of about 30 cm of the same wheat tied with the same one. The threshing took place on the farmyard (a large space in front of the farms).
The animals turned on the sheaves in order to crush the spikes and squeeze out the grain. Lots of people did the same operation with a flail (instrument consisting of two wooden sticks connected by a rope which was used to beat the grain). They followed the steps of the separation of the straw from the wheat, ventilation and screening.
Before the advent of the harvesters, the threshing was always a moment of collective celebration. The millstone served to grind the grain at home when they could not go to the mill. To thresh a large quantities of grain were resorted, as well as for plowing, the animal force. The animals were used to turn on the piled sheaves and the trampling of their hooves squeezed out the grains from the spikes, or a pair of oxen dragged over the spikes scattered circularly in the farmyard a large stone crossed by some grooves in the its lower part, or a heavy wooden board, built with large axes and equipped in the lower part with iron tracks toothed and protruding. Between the late 18th and the early 19th century began the overcoming of these traditional methods of harvesting and threshing when the capitalization of the agriculture facilitated the diffusion of the machines for harvesting in the countryside, for mowing and for threshing. They were equipped with mechanisms that replaced the manual skill of the farmer, while the steam engine provided the power needed to put them in motion when the animal motive force was not sufficient. The results were various: the increase of labor productivity, the improvement of grain quality, a better control of the owners over the production process. When the corn were ripe they reaped the fields with horse-drawn reapers; the threshing took place on the farmyard; to separate the grains the wheat was beaten with a rather long stick, the end of which was tied with a strip of leather, another stick, shorter and heavier, which was rotated in the air and fall on the pile of spikes . With the invention of the internal combustion engine this work was done with the help of the thresher. The end of the threshing was to put the wheat in sacks, while the straw was piled in great heaps.
THE VILLAGE LIFE
The country was originally lit by oil lamps that were switched on and off by a municipal clerk called lamplighter. All the houses had one or two floors above ground and the distance between them was no more than four meters, for that the women, being at home doing chores, could easily converse with each other or switch, with a cane, the objects from one balcony to another. The houses had one or, at most, two rooms. There was the indispensable to live: a large bed, a chest, a table, a few chairs and a few stools. In the kitchen there were pans, the ‘pignata’(traditional cooking pot), wooden or clay dishes, the jars for supplies of water and straw baskets hanging on the wall which completed the furnishings. The darkness were just illuminated by oil lamp, then by kerosene lamp and, for those who could afford it, by an electric bulb, with UNES forfait contract, with 15 watts. The time was punctuated by the bells. A silence broken by the voices of the women, from the children's games, from the passage of a cart or the lure of street vendors, from the knife grinder, the junk dealer. When winter came, people gathered around the brazier burning their legs, the old men told the stories of the past, the war of the bandits and the fantastic figures, witches, goblins and werewolves . When the fire was consumed they went to sleep, to warm up.
THE FOLK ART
The folk art, even in its simplicity, was the way that allowed the humble people to express themselves and had a strong sentimental and emotional connotations, the unexpected impulses and moods were translated into simple lines although not without a strong charge of lyricism.
This art was practiced by the shepherd and the farmer; by the craftsman and the housewife; as well as by the plebeian who loved, almost instinctively, beautify the objects that were used everyday in its life.
We should think to the sticks and the collars of some animals that the shepherd adorned with motifs that reminded his beliefs and his environment; the spoons, the ladles and the carved wooden stools which adorned the modest homes; and also the embroideries and the laces which were the main form of artistic expression of our grandmothers, the copper objects of pleasing shapes that were hung in the kitchen, the gratings, and finally, the iron railings which adorned the patriarchal houses.
A few examples to remember how in the past people were inclined to externalize their personality and their interior richness.
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