This description of the harvest is adapted nearly verbatim from Miles' diary entry of June 21, 1910, which she had titled "The Nativity of Bread." The site of the harvest was Cumberland Gap, Tennessee, where Miles had served as author-in-residence at Lincoln Memorial University. The president of the small college had offered Frank a position tending the school's dairy cattle--which explains references to the springhouse and pitchers of buttermilk. Gaston paraphrases Miles' original diary entry:

Emma spent the afternoon of June 21 in the wheat field, watching the harvest which she entitled the "Nativity of Bread." Four brown mules slowly drew the reaper and binder around the field, the driver riding one of the mules while another man sat high behind the sheaf-binding machine. The field was a golden lake broken only by a magnificent domed hickory tree rising from its center. Sun-browned boys in blue shirts followed the reaper, eating grains of wheat from their palms. The baby laughed at the passing reaper, "displaying his six pearls in the coral cup of his mouth," while the little girls caught lizards by the fence. Emma followed the dairy herd to the barn, where the cows were milked in their whitewashed stalls. The setting sun shining through square windows lighted the hayloft and the glossy coats of the placid cows. Emma gazed out the wide door to the outbuildings clustered below, while the boys laught and talked as they milked. They carried the foaming pails of milk to the springhouse, where crocks and jars covered with slate stood in the flowing water. It reminded Emma of a grotto. (69-70)