Monday, 8 August 2016

The Farming Year

.is an on-going cycle, which goes on from year to year with never a day between jobs really.

At present, the milk cows are all out in the pastures eating their daily strip of grass before going in to be milked twice a day.   The first - and in some cases - second cuts of silage have been made and the grass is gently curing to be eaten in Winter.

On arable farms the crops are beginning to ripen - much of the winter barley has now been cut - particularly any which is going into fodder rather than being sold for seed.

And here on the farm preparations begin for winter housing with the arrival today of the first lot of straw for bedding down once the cows are indoors.

As every year it always comes on a windy day so that straw blows all over the yard and it always arrives dead on lunchtime.   True to form, we sat down for lunch and the first load arrives.   It is the most beautiful, golden colour and reminded me of the line 'fair waved the golden corn' and I just had time to snatch the camera as the tractor drove past the kitchen window.  Sorry it is somewhat obscured by my piece of stained glass hanging in the window.

Now that load is safely stored in the straw barn;  the second load arrives tomorrow.   Next it will be time to hire the  enormous trailer and clean the 'muck' out of the loose housing, where it has been steadily maturing since the cows went out to grass in early May.   The swallows will miss it as it is handy for a quick repair on their nests in the rafters above; the cats will miss it too because it has warmed up nicely and also houses the odd mouse or two.

Pleasingly, while on the subject of wildlife, more hedgehogs around at evening this year than we have seen for a few years.

22 comments:

Yorkshire Pudding said...

There's natural rhythm to a farming year, a rhythm that is sadly ignored in most other forms of work.

Rachel said...

I wonder if it is straw from Norfolk; there are several straw merchants around here and I have seen the lorries loaded and setting off somewhere. Fresh straw has a wonderful smell.

Derek Faulkner said...

A lovely little portrait of summer in the Dales Pat. Down here the wheat and barley fields have been ready for cutting for a couple of weeks, just been waiting for the combines to get round to them all. Next year's rape seed is already being sown as well. Cattle that have been out with the bulls for a couple of months have just been scanned to check on conception success.

Terry and Linda said...

I enjoy reading about your farming life across the pond. It's very interesting, Pat.

Linda

Mary said...

Lovely update on farming life - makes me think you are now feeling better Pat which is great.

The hedgehog news is wonderful - those little guys/gals always seem to be dropping in numbers according to what I read, and they need to be cared for as they are so cute and special. . . . . . .just wish we had them here!

Sue said...

I like the piece of stained glass at the window. I think it rather enhances the photo.

Frugal in Derbyshire said...

We haven't seen any hedgehogs this year. Even prickly Pete "our" hedgehog has not made an appearance. It really is quite worrying. Glad to hear about yours.
Gillx

Heather said...

I find it comforting that the farming year has such a regular rhythm. That load of straw is beautiful and makes me think of the fairytale of Rumplestiltskin! Your piece of stained glass needs no apologies - it's lovely.
Good news about the hedgehogs. I haven't heard as many this year but I have been going to bed earlier owing to much busier days recently.
Hope you are continuing to make steady progress and beginning to get back to normal.

Librarian said...

It has a wonderful colour, doesn't it! Thank you for reacting so quickly and taking a picture as the straw was brought in. I hope your quick reaction also means you are much better.

Gwil W said...

I like your photo - the black and gold- the dramatic effect.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Noticed on my run today that the fields have been harvested here too. This year has rocketed by. Sad.

Joanne Noragon said...

I'm big on continuity, and your farm life posts are pleasant.

Dawn McHugh said...

On our little mini farm we are getting ready for winter have now secured all our hay for feeding, straw for bedding and wood for the fires

coffeeontheporchwithme said...

Much straw has been baled here in my part of the world as well. Corn is suffering due to the very high heat and lack of rain. I love the beautiful golden colour of the fields after they are combined. -Jenn

angryparsnip said...

I love the photo of the beautiful stained glass and the golden hay behind it.
Two different points of art on nature. Both lovely.

cheers, parsnip and thehamish

Frances said...

Thank you so much, Weaver, for your timely camera grab and the resulting wonderful photo of the arrival of the straw. I am so glad that you are feeling better. I continue to learn so much from your posts and become much more appreciative of a part of Yorkshire I would not otherwise know well.

xo

Rachel said...

Straw.

Cro Magnon said...

All sounds good. My neighbour grew a lot of wheat (Triticale) this year, and as a result has masses of straw. Goodness knows what she'll do with it.

Midlife Roadtripper said...

How beautiful the straw. I'm a gardener and an animal lover, but I've always wonder how I would fare as a farmer. I spent today trying to save the lives of the current batch of barn swallows in our dock. Third set this year as the parents arrived early due to an easy winter. Five in the first, four in the second. I've photographed them all. But this third batch of three - not doing so well. Skinny. And today, they were dropping out of the nest in the rafters and falling onto the dock, then into the water. I saved them and put them in places where the parents would find them. One was ready to fly enough to get back to the nest. The other two? I had one in the yard and the parents were feeding him there. But I knew nightfall's predators wouldn't let him be. Back to the dock and in no time, a death in the water. I'd tried to get him back n the nest, but he dropped back out. The third's demise I watched from the cabin.That one was not my fault. I did save one == and I apologize for this long story of my day to you. Feeling bad. We love the swallows that nest in our dock each year and I can't tell you now many photos and how much time I have spent watching them. Perhaps I'd be okay with the plants on a farm, but not so good with the animals.

Elizabeth said...

So happy to see this 'somewhat bck to normal' post!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Rachel points out, quite rightly, that people don't always know the difference between hay and straw. Hay is dried grass, grass which has laid out in the warm sun until it is 'crackly dry' then baled and stored for winter food. Straw is the stalks of any member of the corn family and after it has been harvested it is baled and then sold for winter bedding (many animals also eat it as part of their diet whether they are meant to or not!)
Mid life Roadtripper - you did your best with those swallows - when I think of the distance those tiny birds have to fly in only another six weeks or so - they need to bejolly tough.
Thanks everyone - all your contributions have helped to get me back to normality.

The Cranky said...

I miss the rhythms of farm life and the hustle-bustle of getting in the hay and straw. Many times it was just my grandfather and myself; he on the tractor and me stacking on the wagon... an ungainly vessel on a golden sea.

It's good to see you feeling a bit more yourself.