Tuesday, 14 September 2010

A Farming Post.



It seems a long time since I wrote about work on the farm, so I thought perhaps it would be a good idea to bring you up to date.

This is a 'finishing off' time of year for farming up here - although cattle are still out it will only be a few weeks before they need to come in for the Winter. When that happens will depend very much on the weather in general and the amount of rainfall in particular. Once the ground gets soaking wet it is neither good for beast nor land for the cattle to be out. So now is the time when the farmer gets the indoor housing ready.

The first thing is to clean out last year's debris, which has been gently steaming and rotting throughout the Summer. Many little rodents have taken up residence and the cats have been having field days laying on the warm manure and catching anything which dares to venture out. Well, last weekend the farmer hired a giant 'muck-spreader' for the day and the loose housing is now completely empty and ready to be filled with new sweet-smelling straw for the beast to come in.

All the outbuildings are stacked with bales of straw and all the silaging has been finished, so now it is time for the farmer to look at the state of the fields. He did this at the weekend and decided that 'cow-house field' needed ploughing and re-seeding. That has been today's job.

Unfortunately, three times round the field and he hit a boulder which broke one of the blades on the very ancient plough. Luckily he had one replacement blade which he has now fitted and as I write he is finishing off the ploughing.

Tess and I had a walk round the fields and I took a photograph of the ploughing, and of the farmer mending the plough. Also you will see how fantastic the crop of crab apples is. We have a lot of wild crab apples in the hedges here and they are laden with little red apples. Now the cattle will be hoping they fall off the tree - all the cattle love these little sour apples. Hawthorn berries are now very ripe; the bushes seem to be laden and they look a picture. Before too long the fieldfares will arrive and make short work of them.

I read in the Times newspaper that the reason our berries, apples, plums etc. are so prolific this year is all due to the very harsh Winter we had. Whatever the reason, the hedgerows look magnificent, so enjoy my photographs.

18 comments:

maggi said...

I can smell that straw - a very evocative smell it is too. I'm glad to hear that the reason for the glut of berries is the harshness of last winter as so often it is reckoned to be a sign of a harsh winter to come - much prefer your version.

Everton Terrace said...

I've never heard of a Hawthorn berry. Must go look that up. Would love to have some fresh from the farm fruits - yum. Of course I don't want to do all that work, I just want to wander by and find them washed and waiting in cute baskets.

Golden West said...

My first reaction was the same as maggi's - the smell of freshly plowed, moist earth and an abundance of growth - heavenly! And that is a real bumper crop of crabapples, Weaver.

In regards to our public statue - the only person not amused is the artist - he takes a very dim view of the ongoing shenanigans and considers the pranks an insult. The pranks are all in good fun and there has never been any kind of damage done to the figure. There's actually another statue not far from the Kook that depicts a well loved local gardener who is deceased. For years, liquor bottles have been left at its feet as a type of homage.

Gerry Snape said...

this is a lovely post, and a timely reminder of all the months to come. We picked our pears today. Although they are not quite ripe they will ripen in the back porch, otherwise the wasps get them all. In fact Alan got a bad sting as he picked. He's brave...
Do you do anything with the crab apples? or are they like our rowans for the animals and birds.

willow said...

Our hawthorn berries are not quite as red-ripe as yours. The birds and chipmonks go crazy for them here.

Poet in Residence said...

Gerry, That's a coincidence - picking some pears recently I also got quite badly stung by wasp. My finger swelled up and itched like mad for days. Normally a wasp sting is something I can completely ignore.
Today I saw a wasp carrying a beetle which was too heavy for it, the beetle dropped onto my bin-lid and quickly scurried away - the angry wasp landed on the lid and curled into a vicious arch and then stung the bin lid repeatedly until the poison was presumably exhausted before quietly flying away. Perhaps the wasps are more aggressive this year for some reason?

Heather said...

Crab apple jelly - yum! We had a little tree in one of our previous gardens and the jelly I made was delicious. How wonderful to have wild trees in the hedgerows. It sounds as if the farmer's preparations for winter are well in hand. I hope it isn't as hard as last year.

Derrick said...

Always nice to hear about someone else working hard, Weaver! Distinctly more autumnal today despite the sunshine. Let's hope for a little longer before the cows have to come in!

Mairi said...

Your cats in the straw reminded me of my dad's story about the terriers they used to get the rats out of the hay before they brought it in. He was a farm hand on the Solway Firth when he was a boy. One forgets cats and dogs are actually still useful in some places. Your hedgerows are gorgeous. We used to pick all sorts of things in the hedgerows around Oxford - sloes, little plums, blackberries and wild apples. An elderly man, recently widowed helped me pick blackberries one day and told me to make apple blackberry pie. His wife made it, and he claimed it was the best pie in the world. He may have been right. I've been making it ever since.

steven said...

weaver when i read about the goings on in the daily life of the farm i am taken back to my childhood when once every so often my grandad would take us to one of the farms on his circuit and we would experience the heady scents and sounds of a working farm. it was pure magic!!!! thankyou. steven

Midlife Jobhunter said...

How can fall almost be here, again? Seems we just survived that winter. Wonder what this one will hold?

Thanks for keeping us apprised. Always love to visit the farm.

Shirley said...

I love your new photo on your header! It makes me want to be there!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Ploughing continues this morning and will be followed by discing, seeding and then harrowing in over the next two or three days. Then all we need is some warm sunshine.

Thank you for the comments - always lovely to hear from you.

MorningAJ said...

It's definitely "that" time of year. I decanted my bramble vodka this week to make room for a batch of sloe gin!

I was wondering about hawthorn brandy this year. Have you ever made any?

Tramp said...

Not a bad year for apples here, particularly crab apples. They were the crowning glory of the wild hedgerows in the spring. However very few pears, right through from the blossom stage.
...Tramp

mrsnesbitt said...

If the farmer ever needs anything making give us a shout! Jon is a precision engineer and does work for our village farmers. Dxx

Dartford Warbler said...

I loved your description of the work to be done before the cattle come in for the winter.

We have a good crop of crab apples in the New Forest this autumn. The commoners` cattle love them. Some of my garden crab apples are waiting in a basket on the kitchen table. I`ll be making crab apple jelly in the morning.

Steve said...

This is the time of finishing year here, although farming is still her only weeks before they were Winter.Now Here is when the farmer receives internal fund ready.

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