Saturday, 22 August 2009

A Round Walk.



















































Early Autumn. Already the hawthorn berries are beginning to turn red. As we go out of the yard and into the bottom pasture we see just how sparse the berries are this year. It's going to be a lean year for the fieldfares when they arrive.
We decide on a round walk across our fields and those of our neighbour. The blackberries in the hedge are beginning to ripen. Last night's half inch of rain should help them to swell nicely.
We pass one of our little stone barns, once such an important link in farm husbandry, now not used at all. This barn is developing a deep crack down one wall; how long before it is just a heap of stones? In the next field another barn has lost the stone slabs from its roof, probably removed by the farmer to roof another building some years ago. I scramble through the nettles to take a photograph looking out through the rafters. Elder bushes grow tall inside the building. It was in here, some years ago, that one of our old sheepdogs chose to die. She never went away and one day she was missing from the yard. My father-in-law searched for her and found her a few days later, lying dead in the straw. She has crossed three fields to die away from home. As he said, "She was never one to want a fuss making."
We cross Mill Lane and walk on to our neighbour's land. A giant machine stands in the corner of the stubble and we walk over to look at it. Until last week, when it was harvested for whole crop, this was a wheat field. Now the machine is about to start spreading liquid manure (sorry but I have to mention it now and again - it is an integral part of farming!) and I must say it is an amazing feat of engineering.
You will see the slurry tank in the photograph. Into this tank goes all the washings out from the milking parlour and the feeding area - cow poo and water basically. A pipe leads from the tank, across our fields and our neighbours, ending up at this giant machine. In the photograph he has cultivator blades on the back - he drives along digging a furrow and putting in the slurry manure at the same time. When he reaches a grass field he changes the cultivators for discs so that slits are made in the grass for the slurry to soak in.
We walk down the lane. I take a photograph and although the farmer tries to get out of the way I manage to get him in the frame - so here is a rare photograph of him!
On our way back along the beck-side we pass a lovely woodland area. Here the rowan trees are in full berry and glow on the lovely sunny afternoon. Tess is really enjoying her free scamper and stops to nibble at the grass on the beck side.
Back to the home pasture we are greeted at the stile by the heifers and a lovely "cowy" smell - such a part of farm life. As we reach the yard Blackie, one of the farm cats, also comes out to say hello.
When we get home we find that during our walk the young blackbirds have stripped every berry from our rowan tree. We don't begrudge them a single berry but we do wish they had taken those in the woodland first!



















31 comments:

steven said...

hello weaver, thanks for the lovely walk 'round the farm. there's something romantic and sad about old farm buildings left to their own devices isn't there. so many stories inside each one beginning with the struggle to build them!!! will the rowan's grow fruit again or is this a one time each year arrangement? have a lovely afternoon and evening in the dale weaver. steven

jinksy said...

I enjoyed this ramble around in the sun, thanks :)

Poet in Residence said...

I like the way you've captured the cat and its shadow - very Alfred Hitchcock!
Now off to watch a TV-docu about what could happen to us if a comet smashed into the earth ...as if we couldn't gu

Leenie said...

As a farmer's daughter I found it interesting the way you return the manure to the fields. Much more efficient and probably less odiferous that the big wagons my dad loaded with the stuff. The spreader was dragged behind a tractor with the contents of the wagon flying in every direction. Not the favorite job of the tractor driver! Gorgeous little spotted heifers.

Heather said...

That's the second lovely walk I have had today - thankyou Weaver. Modern farm machinery is an engineering marvel and while I don't enjoy all the smells which emanate from farms, the smell of the animals themselves is always a good one. Autumn seems to be here - sad, when we've hardly had a summer.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

How I wish Edward and I might accompany you!

Totalfeckineejit said...

A near perfect post, weaver, and if that isn't a perfect picture of a perfect lane(even with the farmer in it ;) )the I don't know what is.No lane is a lane (boreen) unless it has a grass mohican.And is there in this wide, wide world a more poetic name for a tree than Rowan? ('The oak and the ash and the bonny rowan tree are all growing wild in the old country')I think not.So sad about the dog, we have a collie (Molly)who would and nearly does talk to you.And I've completely forgotten what i was going to say now, i think I need to lie down!

Cloudia said...

This lyrical post is a gift you give to us!

It would take an equally poetic and rich "comment" to adequately address every little gem in your post, so I'll just say thank you!


Aloha-

Comfort Spiral

Pondside said...

It's a gorgeous day over here and I'm on my way out to do some weeding on the drive and the paths - can't bear to use chemicals.
It's lovely to see that you've had an equally pretty late summer day over your way. I enjoyed that walk and poke about the fields. We have few stone buildings over on the coast, so old outbuildings fall into disrepair very quickly and then just as quickly go back to the land.

acornmoon said...

Isn't amazing how quickly those Rowan berries get eaten? No sooner had I reached for my camera only to find the very same thing.

I loved your story of the dog who did not like a fuss, don't you just love dogs?

Leilani Lee said...

Lovely description of your walk. LOL my husband won't let me take any more pictures of him for my blog. The Lord of the Rings books mention Rowan trees -- enjoyed seeing the pictures of the berries

Elizabeth said...

Thank you for taking us on this lovely walk.
I must say there were a few autumnal hints when I took the dogs down the nature trail in the local woods here......
still far too hot, of course
Best regards to the Farmer.

Mark Kreider said...

My wife and I clung to every word of your transforming moment posting. It touched us very deeply. We are so happy for you!

Raph G. Neckmann said...

I really enjoyed this walk, Weaver! The berried trees look lovely. (I'm interested to know why are the hawthorn berries so sparse this year?)

Golden West said...

A walk after a rain is always the nicest, with the fresh and clean smells all the more noticeable. We're feeling a touch of autumn, as well. Thoroughly enjoyed your photographs - thanks for taking us along!

Arija said...

Nice post, I too love the quiet farming life.

Amy said...

Lovely photos! I always enjoy seeing what other places around the world look like.

ArtPropelled said...

I really feel homesick for farm life after reading this post Weaver. I enjoyed every step....lets walk again soon.

jeannette stgermain said...

Fall?? I kind of am in the midst of summer (in my thinking) - but that maybe because it can still be 80-90 degrees in Oct.! Nice cows you have! - I've seen some very nice cows paintings -

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks again for visiting everyone!
Rowan trees: The berries only come once a year and now ours are gone. I don't mind really - although they look lovely, we do encourage the birds to our garden and it is lovely to see the young blackbirds wobbling on the ends of the branches, grabbing a berry and swallowing it whole.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Lovely as TFE's comment is, I have had to inform him that the folk song is oak, ash and bonny IVY tree - can't change the good old English folk song, can we?
However I do love his use of the word boreen for lane - I shall think of it as a boreen with a mohican in future.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Speaking of manure (sorry!) - it is a fact the good, "clean" manure does not smell too bad when spread on the fields - it is the old, stale stuff which causes such an awful smell.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The provenance of the heifers:
The "spotted" ones are Belgian Blue - they are reared solely for meat and are sold when they are about a year to eighteen months old. As I said about lambs the other day "a short life but a merry one." You have to be unsentimental to be in farming I'm afraid.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Hawthorn berries: Raph asks why they are sparse this year - well sparse on our bushes anyway. I really don't know the answer - sometimes it is that a frost came at the wrong time for the blossom, killing it off before the seeds had set. We do seem to have good and bad years with all berried trees though.

The Weaver of Grass said...

We are going out for the day to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The weather forecast is absolutely awful but we are off up into the really high country of Teesdale to find a nice pub in which to have our lunch. I shall take the camera. Have a nice day.

Crafty Green Poet said...

that's a lovely walk thanks! The photo of Blackie is wonderful, what a lovely shadow! How dare the blackbirds eat the berries from the wrong tree....

Dave King said...

That's amazing, you have a real gift for making these times and occasions live. Fine photographs and fine writing.

Wanda said...

I am a new visitor, we have several mutual friends...the Scribe and Rowan being two of them.

I enjoyed the walk with you...will catch up on your past posts...here the raccoons devour our peaches...

Reader Wil said...

Thank you so much for the lovely tour around on a sunny summer's night! Thanks also for your visit!

Janice Thomson said...

A lovely tour yet again with you Weaver.
I live in a rain forest but we have had a severe drought winter, spring and summer so berries of any kind are almost nil this year - I fear the birds, bears and whatever else eats them will suffer greatly. As always your photos are charming.

BT said...

What a super post Weaver, I love those that show how the farm works at different times of the year. I had no idea about the different blades on the slurry spreading machine. It's all so interesting, but doesn't it pong!! When I was in Suffolk we kept driving through areas that were very smelly! Of course Jack would go 'poooooh' each time! Little boys.
We have loads of blackberries so no shortage here but Jim says the ones he has tasted have no flavour as a result of them not having enough sunshine. I love your new profile picture. Your last one was a bit 'school marm'!! lol. This one is just lovely. Thanks for a smashing post - and the photo of the farmer, well done you.
Jim and I felt sad about your dog.