Hay-making is in full swing, although rain is forecast for monday so there may be a temporary hold up then. But that means the farmer is out all day today with a packed lunch and a flask of coffee. He has just been back home for the hay sledge as he is about to starting baling it up.
But that has meant that I could sit over a leisurely coffee in The Golden Lion for most of the morning with a friend.
Then, after a quick lunch, T ess and I went off for our afternoon walk. It is a lovely late Summer's Day here, almost too hot. What is missing is bird song, as most of the birds are in moult and are keeping a low profile. We decided to walk a stretch of the beck with which we are not very familiar. So off we set - through the stile.
The first field, which is heavily grazed by sheep, saw the beck gently trickling through banks of watercress, pebbles just visible through its peaty brown water. But then in the next field we had a real beanfeast with the camera. Half of the field was sown with oats in the Autumn last year, but before the other half could be sown the weather turned very wet. So it was left fallow until Spring, when it was sown with barley. Both are almost ripe. If you look carefully in the photograph you can see that the pale barley is in the foreground and the more golden oats in the middle distance. Here the beck is so overgrown that you could be forgiven for thinking it wasn't there. The banks are just defined by swathes of Great Willow Herb (Epilobium hirsutum) and today it is alive with white butterflies, but try as I may I cannot get one to stay still long enough to photograph it.
Most exciting of all - particularly for Tess - is when we reach the oats. I have not seen oats growing for many years - they are not much grown round here. It brought back childhood memories of old ladies covering each oat seed with silver paper (sweet wrappings) to make a stem of tiny shaking silver bells. The footpath through was well trodden and it gave us a hare's eye view of what it must be like to live in an oat field. On this dry, warm day it looked so inviting with its undergrowth of short grass. What a lovely place for an animal to live on a pleasant summer day.
Close up you can see that the oats are almost ready for harvesting. If I manage to pass on the day when they harvest them, I will post photographs so that you can see the process. Incidentally these oats are meant for animal feed - not porridge.
And so home again through a field of frisky heifers who, luckily, are used to seeing us so don't get too close. Tess is exhausted - she lies on the newly concreted floor in the utility room, panting.
Me - I go to my blog hoping that all the hoo-ha of yesterday with Google having to block some sites has gone away. Did anyone else have problems?
Have a good weekend everyone.