Friday, 15 July 2011

Today's Job.




Mundane, ordinary jobs have to be done and today the farmer sharpened his scythe and set off for the hedge backs, his sharpening stone in his pocket. His object was to scythe down the nettles and thistles before they began to seed. It is a job that has to be done every year.

I know that various moths and butterflies feed on them but we do leave a large area in the wood. But in the fields they have to be cut down. Whilst he is doing this he also chops off the odd dock which is going to seed (one year's seed is seven year's weed).

He spotted a dock just about to seed right out in the middle of the field, approached it, drew back his scythe and - just in time - noticed that the clump of grass where the dock was also housed a pheasant sitting on a nest of eggs. She was sitting so low that she just oculdn't be seen until he was right on top of her

So, she has lived to fight another day. He is keeping his eye on her and I must say that the young cattle in the field seem to be avoiding her too. As she was sitting so low the chances are the young are nearly at hatching and once they hatch she leaves the nest area immediately.

I took a photograph for you from a short distance away, keeping as quiet as possible. I know where she is in the photo - she is a little way down on the left of the picture, just below a dock leaf. Can you spot her?

Shortly afterwards the farmer broke his scythe on a stone - so even some of the thistles and nettles live to seed for next year unless he buys a replacement quickly.
The old scythe doesn't owe him anything as it belonged to his father and has been around for many years. Nothing gets replaced on the farm until it breaks or wears out.

19 comments:

Heather said...

One man's mundane task is another's interesting reading Pat. Hope the pheasants grow up safely. When we were engaged and my husband-to-be was keen to impress, he helped out by scything Granny's paddock for her. He nearly had a fit when a partridge flew up from between his feet. He had taken one pass over her nest and it's amazing he didn't step on her. We quickly gathered a piece of netting and grass cuttings to give her a canopy, and she reared her brood. I do miss living in the country but we don't do too badly here.

Crafty Green Poet said...

good luck to the pheasant and her chicks!

Weeds are just plants in the wrong place, and crop fields are very much the wrong place for nettles and thistles!

angryparsnip said...

I see a bit of brown but I really can't see her.
It is like the Quail around my home, as soon as they hatch they are gone.

cheers, parsnip

Titus said...

Good grief Weaver, you've got sharper eyes than me!

Cloudia said...

thank you for connecting us to reality!



Aloha from Waikiki;


Comfort Spiral

><}}(°>


> < } } ( ° >

< ° ) } } > <

Gerry Snape said...

you have made me think of my farmer's son of a father! I still have his scythe in my tool basket! he often talked about both scythe and sickle .Lovely!

John "By Stargoose And Hanglands" said...

Where can you buy a scythe these days? Not round my area I'm sure. If you say there's a pheasant in there......

Tom Stephenson said...

I wish I lived on a farm. Maybe all the things that have broken or worn out on me would get replaced - there again, maybe I would...

ArtPropelled said...

Glad the pheasant and her brood will be relatively safe under your watchful eye, Weaver.

Nora said...

I think working with a scythe must be a very meditative sort of job.

Bovey Belle said...

We used to have a scythe here that we cut the rough bits with, but it was for a taller man than OH and used to screw his back up. Your OH and his dad must have been a similar height. Sorry he has broken the blade - can it be mended by the local blacksmith or are they all pure farriers round your way?

Can't see Mrs Pheasant, but I'm glad she survived to bring up her brood. Your OH must have very sharp eyes to see her!

The Weaver of Grass said...

There is nothing the farmer likes better (or so it seems to me) than what Heather calls a 'mundane task' - something that he can do methodically. As for him seeing the pheasant - he never misses a thing, he has very sharp eyes.

As to where you can buy a new scythe - surely every country area still has an agricultural merchants. We have a large one in Northallerton and they come to our market every Friday too.

As for mending the scythe blade - my brother in law has a factory for just such a thing in our farm yard - nut the blade would never completely regain its strength.

The pheasant is there, I assure you. The fact that you can't see it is a great credit to Mrs Pheasant - although I can't help wondering how high the grass was when she began sitting three weeks ago. They say that sitting ground birds lose their scent when they sit on a nest so that it is more difficult for the stoat and the fox and the badger to sniff them out.

mrsnesbitt said...

I thought of you and the farmer Pat - when I was writing my post a few minutes ago! lol!

Dave King said...

As always, a really good and totally absorbing post. Thank you for it.

Pondside said...

Your ordinary post is quite extraordinary to someone on this side of the pond. I'm always meaning to look for a scythe to cut the area around the orchard - so much better than trying to heave a mower over the stony ground.
The farmer's scythe certainly doesn't owe him anything!

The Poetry Bus said...

Your blog should be part of the school curriculum Weaver!

Margaret said...

Wow... you are telling me where she is and I still can't see her. And your doggie above, is adorable.

Granny Sue said...

There is so much in this post I want to comment on--the 7-years comment is one that is said in West Virginia too, and the wise gardener takes it to heart. The pheasant--I can see her! How well hidden she is. The farmer was mindful of what he was doing to see her; many would be focused on the task at hand and that would have been the end of her.

I used to use a scythe here before the weedeater became affordable. I still have it, and a spare blade or two. If you need one, I'm sure I can ship it over the water to you. Scything is an art, and one that is quickly dying, I'm afraid. There is a rhythm to it, a cadence that brings the blade down at just the right angle--and a sharp blade is a must to do he job right. I remember once when I was scything and I hit a yellow jackets nest. I think that was the fastest I ever ran, and the yellow jackets still got down in my overalls and in my hair. It gives me chills to remember it, and yet I had to laugh, they were so angry and persistent.

Arija said...

That is an odd looking scythe if ever I saw one. Ours looks like the ones in Duerer's woodcuts.

I am so glad he spotted the pheasant but a pity to break such an old, useful and interesting tool.