Weekly Photo Challenge: Fall

Taking the term ‘Fall’ to mean literally the falling of the leaves from the trees after the long days of summer was a problem – In England our trees are still largely green as they take advantage of the often fine warm weather in the months of September and early October to store up food for the winter. We also don’t get as much glorious colour as residents of British Colombia do, for example. So, and perhaps prompted by a comment on one of my recent posts by Bob of Refrigerator Magnate fame, I thought I’d show some Autumn shots of a different nature.

In Zimbabwe the Autumn (Fall) is in the months of May to July. Summer rains continue throughout April as heavy storms providing healthy growing conditions for a variety of crops. Until recent problems within the country, Zimbabwe was often referred to as the Breadbasket of Africa because of its cereal production capacity. The summer rains cease abruptly at the beginning of May and the crops begin to rapidly ripen and dry. The photos below were taken on a working farm during late May and early June as the harvest was gathered in.

The farm is located in the Mupfure River valley between Chegutu and Selous. That year the crops grown were Maize, Sorghum, Sugarbeans, Cotton and Paprika. There was also a small market garden providing vegetables for the house and the farm workers with some also being sold to workers from other farms around the area.

Here, the male workers including the foreman deliver a freshly harvested load of Sugarbeans to the farm compound for shelling. Off-loading with forks and brushes in a scene reminiscent of 1930’s Norfolk. Only the modern unkempt tractor hints at a more recent time.
Unloading Sugarbeans

The female workers shell the Sugarbeans using the traditional methods of beating and sieving. There is quite a high level of waste apparent in the process but the farm chickens will soon find any lost beans and eat them, so almost the whole of the crop eventually finds its way into the human foodchain.
Shelling Sugarbeans

While the parents work, their children play near the housing compound – housing for the workers must be supplied by the farm owner under government regulations.

The Paprika crop is also harvested by hand – the ripe peppers are pulled from the bushes and returned to the farm compound where they are laid out on sheeting to dry. Here, my wife carries a basket in the traditional way back to the compound.
Harvested Paprika

At the end of a hard day’s work in the fields the workers usually gather in the shade of the farm shop to share some Chibuku together. Chibuku is made from Sorghum and is a mildly alcholic beer, closer to a soup in its consistency.
Evening Chibuku

The Sun sets over the field-boundary remnants of a harvested Sorghum crop – the end of another Autumn day
Sorghum Sunset


    1. Thank You – I find the weekly photo challenge often offers lots of excellent posts with some real gems amongst them. Thank you for popping in with your thoughts πŸ™‚

  1. oh wow, loved this post which demonstrates that you don’t have to live in a place where red maple or golden cottonwood leaves fall to see the beauty of the moment.
    thanks for sharing this great tribute to “fall”.

    1. Thanks pix & kardz, I found so much beauty in Zimbabwe – some of it is the country but so much is the people. I found myself treated like a member of the family by everyone I met – even non-family people! These photos were taken on my mother-in-law’s farm. Apart from taking the photos I did actually do some work too – mainly driving the pick-up which gave my mum-in-law a rest. The workers are so tough – I could pick up a 30ft length of irrigation pipe like them but my shoulder couldn’t hold it whilst theirs could. Even so, they were impressed that a visiting European and Mukwasha of the boss was happy to muck in with the work. As the foreman said – they weren’t used to bossmen who were prepared to be part of the days work and it did cause some confusion initially πŸ™‚ Imagine how more confused they were when I joined them for a Chibuku πŸ˜‰

      1. Something tells me I would not have been nearly as successful with that irrigation pipe as you were (although I would have happily given it a try)! I might have done okay with the Chibuku, though! πŸ™‚

  2. What a wonderful post, Martin –
    I’ve learned a lot from this (and had great fun doing so, too) – you’ve provided some incredibly interesting background into your spectacular photos!
    Thank you very much for the mention, too! That was very kind of you, sir – I really appreciate that!

    1. Bob – Thank you very much and you are fully deserving of the mention. I enjoy your work very much. A bit more background above for Pix & Kardz which will give you some more knowledge of Zimbabwe πŸ™‚

    1. Hi Kate – no, it’s not too far, in fact, it’s in my home all the time πŸ˜‰ My wife is a Zimbabwean lady and I love her very much. I feel priviledged to have met all the people in these photos. It is a long way from Finchley but there are a lot of relatives so close – I’m currently awaiting for one to drop my son back home from a party. My wife is currently back in Zimbabwe as she has to complete the burial of her mother in line with traditional requirements. Yes, it feels a long way away when my lady is over there and I’m here 😦

  3. Absolutely fascinating in every way, the photos of course, but also a glimpse into a different way of life from the inside, thanks to you — and to your wife, who accepted you! πŸ˜€

    1. Thanks Tony – and, of course they don’t have TV or any of the other things that we take for granted. I will say one thing though – the circular mud hut is a very efficient kitchen when cooking over an open fire.

  4. loved the photos its lovely to hear a man say he loves his wife very much shes beautiful too lucky man soon be october and she will be by your side didnt like the sound of the soupy drink lol xxjen

    1. Hi Jen – you obviously spotted that I miss her πŸ™‚ Chibuku is very much an acquired taste – but when you’ve been in the fields all day with little to eat or drink it’s a welcome energy suppliment (to quote modern terminology) πŸ˜‰

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