Saturday, 8 August 2009

A Beckside Stroll.

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.


The Solitary Walker said...

Just back from touring and walking Scotland - trip included visit to Lewis where oats were a crofting staple.

Heather said...

Your photographs are beautiful as ever, Weaver. The little stile is so picturesque and the views are glorious. I love the view through the oat field. I had Google block problems yesterday too - very frustrating. It is good to know it was a general problem and not just my laptop misbehaving.

Bonnie Zieman, M.Ed. said...

Enjoyed this walk with you today Weaver.

Apparently some hacker took down Twitter and other related Google sites including Blogger. Blogger has big flaws - but yesterdays glitch was apparently not of its doing. I was unable to connect to any of my favorite blogs for a few hours.

Arija said...

So good to hear about your enjoyable day, I too took my camera for a long walk on the farm today, the girls don't trust me with the G-Shepherd yet, he is too bin and strong and as yet isufficiently trained to heel. My Day was topped off by a concert which I have just posted.

steven said...

hello weaver, a lovely walk on an obviously warm buzzing summer day in yorkshire. i was out for a ride again this morning and it's a different route and all along i was thinking about the pictures i could've and should've taken. i'll have to do that route another time. thanks for the lovely tiem in one of my favourite parts of the world - never seen it in summertime. steven

CHummelKornell said...

I love your pictures and postings! This one was especially interesting. I was born and raised in the State of Iowa in the U.S. There is an interesting difference in farmer's wifes, it seems. When the farmers went to the fields, the wives and daughters went to the kitchen to prepare huge midwestern dinners (noon time meals), gallons of iced tea and home baked goods. They were also expected to be available to go into the fields to drive trucks, deliver grain, run errands for parts needed when machinery suddenly quit in the middle of harvest. In actuality, the American farmer could never bring in a harvest without the hard working women who labored along side them. The hands of the women were as calloused as those of their husbands with necks as sunburned from bending to the task of survival.

Thanks for bringing back fond memories of my growing up years. I miss the farms and the people and I envy your wonderful home and lifestyle.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I can just imagine the sweet smell in the air during that lovely walk! The blessings of a summer day.

I'm afraid I tired Edward out the other day!! Lunch in an outdoor cafe, a trip to the library, and a long walk through the trees!! Both he and Apple went to bed early that night!! They send their best to Tess!

Mistlethrush said...

Thanks for the seasonal post. What's a hay sledge by the way?

Also I didn't know there was a difference between porridge oats and animal oats - you always teach me something.

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely photos, we went on a good long walk today,

Cloudia said...

Yes, I'm so glad that Blogger is back to normal today!

What a lovely post. I love walking with you, Weaver (of magic)and Tess is a dear.

Aloha friend-

Comfort Spiral

BT said...

That is just a wonderful walk, Weaver, I really enjoyed it. Funnily enough, I have just posted a walk with Buster on my blog! Very different scenery though. I do hope you catch them harvesting the oats.

Sylvia Ballerini Jewellery said...

What beautiful country, Weaver. Your walk sounded like it was balm to the soul and the spirit. Living in inner Melbourne, my walks are completely different, presenting much vibe and a different food for the soul. Terrific photos!

gleaner said...

I really love these photos Weaver - like the paintings of Millet, fields of grains always take one back in time. Thank you.

Jinksy said...

I'm intrigued by the pile of stones/rocks - are they just sitting there, or are they part of something larger? I love the sculptural look they have, anyway.

Unknown said...

Hello Weaver,

Glad you had a good time. We are being spoiled with the weather aren't we? Hope it holds out for the farmer.

Teresa said...

Sure did enjoy "accompanying" you on your walk. What gorgeous photos!

Never heard of the "silver bells"... sounds delightful.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hope you enjoyed your stay Robert.

Heather - like you I thought it might be my lap top.

Bonnie - nice that we all had the same problem!

Arija - shall pop over now and read about your concert.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Steven - you must take your camera on your cycle rides - we want to see where you are going! I find, it I leave my camera at home there is always something worth taking whereas if I take it, there is nothing of interest. Sod's Law.

CHK Thanks for visiting. I know what you are saying about Farmers' Wives - it used to be the same here, but with modern machinery things are much easier. But I think that is the reason why so many farmers have never marrked - the women no longer want the hard work.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Pamela - Edward and Apple tired out! Well Tess gets like that too in this hot weather - she walks twice as far as I do because she is always dashing back and forth.

Carol - a hay sledge is where the bales land when they have been baled - it is pulled along behind the baler and collects maybe 8 bales before dropping them in a group. I am not sure there is a difference between porridge oats and fodder oats - it is just that this is not really an oat-growing area in quantity. The farmer has just told me that nobody uses oats much for fodder because there is not enough "goodness" in them to stave off hunger.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Juliet - hope you enjoyed your walk too.

Cloudia - your beach looks wonderful for a walk.

BT Shall pop over and do your walk with you (metaphorically speaking!)

Sylvia - I am sure your walk is just as interesting. Sorry but I can't seem to leave a comment on your site although I keep trying.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I too love the paintings of Millais - especially The Gleaners - is that where you chose your name from? Gleaner.

Jinksy. That "pile of stones" is the stone wall either side of the stile/gate.

Derrick amd Teresa - thanks for the comments. Weather still good.

Unknown said...

But Weaver,
I love porridge! My mouth was watering just admiring your sun drenched pictures! We have a similar confusion with corn on this side of the pond. There is "animal grade" which the farmers plant along the fence next to the road and there is that wonderful "human" corn planted in the middle of the field so it is protected from roadside poachers. I cannot wait to see how oats are processed!

ChrisJ said...

Brings back lots of lovely memories of Yorkshire.

Sara said...

What a wonderful walk with you & lovely Tess! Good luck with the harvest. We all rely upon a good harvest & the hard work of farmers but I doubt we stop & truly appreciate how much. I'm guessing the farmer wouldn't really appreciate a virtual hug from me, but the thought is there! xx