The weather forecast for the North East is fairly good for the rest of this week so the farmer has taken the bull by the horns and made his last silage cut today. Three meadows and the paddock are all down and the grass is lying in the fields. Today has been sunny so we are just hoping this continues until the end of the week and we can get it baled and led in.
Several other jobs can't be done until after silaging has finished. First of all - hedge trimming; we wait until the birds have finished nesting and then until the grass is cut (so that the hedge trimming contractor doesn't spoil the grass).
The other big task is to empty the loose housing shed of the deep layer of last year's straw bedding. It has been rotting down 'in situ' since the cattle went out in late April; once the bales have been led in it will be led into the field and piled up to rot down further - or sometimes the farmer decides to spread it directly onto the fields. Much depends upon the weather and on the stock we have on the fields (we over-Winter sheep from up on 'the tops' and when they come depends entirely upon the amount of grass on the high ground (and that, of course, is dependent upon the weather). Once the grass has gone they need to come down.
And so the farming year goes on. It is the Autumn Equinox tomorrow (the first day of Autumn in my book too). There are still a few of the last brood swallows flying around, strengthening their wings ready for their long flight to Africa. And so far we have not seen a fieldfare or a redwing (our regular winter visitors).
There is a definite nip in the air morning and evening and it is almost dark by half past seven. It is relentless isn't it? Whether we like it or not the seasons pass and (as we say up here) 'winter draws on' (no funny comments please Tom or YP - I shall not get mine out yet.)