Friday, 15 July 2011
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.