First of all the good ones. Yesterday was a pretty hectic day for the farmer. In the morning he tossed up the grass in his two hay paddocks. Then he went off with his walking group for his fortnightly walk. It was so hot that they cut short their walk, so he was home in time to see the end of the marvellous Andy Murray match. In fact, when he came in I was sitting on the settee in our lovely cool back room, watching the match with tears streaming down my cheeks. It was the last game - and what a cliff-hanger.
He had a quick cup of tea and then, while I was preparing the salad for tea, he went out, rowed up both fields and baled the hay. It is surprising what a short job this is as the baler works very efficiently, shunting out bales from the back on to a sledge and every eight bales dropping them in a neat rectangle on the field.
He decided it would be sensible to get the bales into the hay shed before dark, so he went out again while I watched an interesting "Country File" about the Cambrian Mountains in Wales. He came in to say that his loader had completely broken down and just would not load the bales on to the trailer. He rang neighbouring farmer G to see if he could borrow G's loader for an hour this morning. Better than that - G came across immediately and loaded the lot for him and together they got them all into the hay barn - on a Sunday night. Now if that is not good neighbourliness I don't know what is. That kind of neighbourliness exists all the time round here and is so refreshing to see and partake in. I know the farmer would have done the same for him.
Now to the bad neighbours. These have four legs, long ears and a white bobtail. For much of the time we coexist on the farm, aahing at the pretty little babies, feeling sad when myxamatosis strikes. If we get over-run with rabbits then we ask the shooters to come in and get rid of a few quickly and cleanly, but most of the time we tolerate them.
But yesterday Tess and I went down to the vegetable garden, which is well-protected against rabbits by wire netting all round. I went for a Cos lettuce for the salad; Tess came along for the walk. I opened the gate - Tess took off like a rocket, completely missing the fact that the salad leaves, beetroot and parsley seedlings were covered in green netting. She did a multiple somersault over the netting and made for the cos lettuce row (not protected) where a rabbit sat calmly eating a lettuce leaf. It shot I know not where. The farmer has done a recce round the garden today and he can't find a space. His response to the fact that it was eating my Cos was that if that was all it got then it didn;t really matter as it would be a few less for him to eat (Cos lettuce is not on his favourite menu).
I think it needs to start on his beloved pea rows for him to sit up and take notice. Meanwhile I continue to tolerate this bad neighbour and hope it keeps out in future.
Incidentally - 108 bales of hay from two small fields - nicely stacked in the hay barn and already commandeered by the two farm cats who can survey the baby swallows from a great height - the yard is full of them and the parents give the cats very short shrift if they venture out anywhere near their babies.
The photograph shows neighbour G collecting the bales in the failing light.