Volume 46 pages 259-264: Letter from James Atkinson to Alexander Berry, 4 June 18294 June 1829

by Berry, Alexander, 1781-1873

could knock out in a day. The stacks should also be built upon steddles, they stand now upon the bare ground which cannot fail in that low situation to breed weevils. The enclosed paper shows you the manner I build my steddles,  the posts are merely blocks cut from the body of a tree, of any height you please, but 10 ins is sufficient. At first I used to sink the posts in the ground, but of late I have only sat them on their ends first levelling the place for them to stand upon, this plan I prefer, as the post in the ground is liable to rot, and they can also be removed if required to any other place in a few minutes. The crop pieces are either limbs or bodies of young trees, or split wood, something stouter than rails. The ends you will perceive are points to fit them together, and the undersides are flattened with an axe or adze to make them lie firm together upon the posts. The centre post is cut shorter than the others which gives the whole a tendency to the centre, and the stacks are less likely to slip. Upon this frame we lay a few battens, palings, boughs or any other rubbish at hand, to prevent the sheaves slipping through. For the future I intend to have all my carts and drays made too shoot; and shall draw them up alongside the steddle  and immediately shoot the whole load upon the ground from whence it will be forked up to the stack without detaining the team. I have no doubt a man standing upon the ground where he can have firm footing and full use of his strength will throw up twice as much as one standing upon a load, and I think there would be less grain wasted as it would be easy to sweep up what fell upon the ground or to spread a cloth to receive it. 

If the stack was very high