Monday, 21 June 2010

The Longest Day.


Today is the Summer Solstice and the Longest Day. Up here in the North of England it really hardly gets dark this time of year. It is still light at eleven o'clock and by two in the morning the sky is beginning to lighten. By three o'clock in the morning the birds are singing.

For once the Solstice is accompanied by gloriously sunny weather and a slight breeze - just the weather for haymaking, which since nine o'clock this morning has been well underway.

Those buttercups which shone out so bravely in the paddock last week are cut down and lie fading on the ground. The farmer makes hay for various people around here and they are coming out of the woodwork like flies this morning so he is off here and there cutting fields to make hay. It is good to see him because he loves it - he loves the whole process of making hay. In these days of silage few farmers bother with hay but he loves the smell of the cut grass and he loves stacking the sweet smelling bales into the hay barn. In addition - that is where the farm cats sleep and they love a bed of hay bales to sleep on - those cats can twist the farmer round their little claws.

An update on the curlew's nest in the silage field - although the nest is quite vulnerable as the grass is cut all round, Mrs Curlew is sitting tight. I walked quietly up to the nest after lunch and she took off - the four eggs look as thought they might be chipping. If so there will soon be baby curlew. Once they are hatched they leave the nest and never return. I shall keep my eye on things and let you know how things go. Keep our fingers crossed.

The weather forecast says this weather is set to last all week, so everything should be fine for haymakers and curlews alike. Have a nice day!

22 comments:

willow said...

Oh, that's a beautiful field of hay. I was just chatting on the phone last night to my daughter in New York and we were comparing our shades of twilight. It's hard to believe it's already the longest day of the year. Where did the time go?

angryparsnip said...

I was up early but forgot to run outside to take a picture of the sun rising on the Solstice.
I too love the smell of, for me, newly cut grass since I don't live on a farm. Perfumes the air.

I had a nest of quail hidden next to my home and had to put off the house painters till they hatched. Now the babies are running around and the painters will be here first week in July.

cheers, parsnip

Poet in Residence said...

I recently took some photos of green fields and fields full of buttercups in Dentdale - the valley looked from the hillside like a patchwork quilt - but mine's an old fashioned camera with a roll of film in it so I'll have to wait a while to see how they come out. Meantime I'll enjoy your summery pictures. Snap on, Weaver, snap on!

ewix said...

Gosh, I had to say it!

"Make hay while the sun shines!" Apologies.

Send my best to the Farmer.

We do miss those long long lingering evenings
of linden bloom and wisteria ( a little earlier perhaps)
and the scent of peonies
and new cut grass

This is turning into a bad pastiche of "Granchester"
which R. Brooke did rather a wonderful job on.
Am reading Margaret Drabble's non fiction book about writers and the English landscape.
Really well done.

Happy solstice!

Rusty said...

I remember watching the twilight move around the northern horizon way bac before the advent of shopping centers, high intensity lighting and the growth of the city now surrounding us. the second clutch of baby robins are now runnig free in the garden. The baby raccoons are as active and inquisitive as can be. Days are hot - nights are nice and cool. ATB!

Gwei Mui said...

A beautiful time to be in Yorskhire!
I can smell the grass, the brewing silage - goregous!

Arija said...

Ah, the heady smell of drying grass brings my childhood back again, turning the hay with wooden rakes and riding haywains... what joy it all was. I am glad your farmer enjoys it.

mrsnesbitt said...

Weather set for the week sounds good to me - will be out in the garden working through my list of jobs to be done!

Teresa said...

Sounds like everything is going well on the farm!

Eryl Shields said...

How wonderful that the farmer loves his job. The smell of cut grass is one of my favourite things, so I can see why he might enjoy haymaking so much.

An old neighbour of ours used to say, every year without fail on this date:' longest day today, it's all downhill from here.'!

Cloudia said...

England!






Aloha from Waikiki

Comfort Spiral

ChrisJ said...

Long June evenings in North Yorkshire with warm sunshine, no less! Bliss!

Heather said...

Lovely post Pat - I could almost smell the hay and am so glad conditions are good for the farmer and Mrs. Curlew and her brood. Good luck to them. I'm afraid I didn't get up to see the sunrise!

Totalfeckineejit said...

Twas a beatiful day.Good luck to you and The Farmer!

Granny Sue said...

Hay is being put up here too, Weaver. This is my birthday--nice of nature to take note and make it the longest day :)

Caroline Gill said...

I recall the happiest of hay-making childhood days - or rather a day spent making hay igloos on a Sussex farm!

Few sounds beat the haunting cry of the curlew.

Dave King said...

Frightening thought: the longest day is behind us! Hope it's a good summer for Mrs Curlew, though.

Pondside said...

Somehow, between the rainy days, our friends have all got their hay in. Spring was a wet time, and the longest day was a cold, rainy joke over here......but I have high hopes for July!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I cannot imagine it being light that late, or getting light that early! I know I'd never be able to stay in bed once the birds started to sing!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Chariots of gold, said Timothy,
Silvery wings, said Elaine.
But, a bumpety ride
on a wagon of hay, for me,
said Jane.

This always comes to mind at haytime even though the old horse and cart days are long over.

Thanks for the comments everyone.

Leilani Lee said...

One of the best books I ever bought my momma was an illustrated journal kept by an English woman of the flowers and birds and things she saw from day to day (the name has flown right out of my head). Perhaps someday people will be buying your journal to give to their beloved relatives...

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I suppose you pay for the daylight in the dark days of winter. Although, being a lover of the night...

While visiting Europe, I loved the lateness of the day. Gave me an opportunity to siesta in late afternoon and still enjoy the day at night. Alaska offers the same in summer. Probably lots of other places I haven't had the chance to visit, like your country. Seems like I'm missing a great deal by not having done that yet.