Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Silage At Last, Past Times,


The silage harvest is well under way and the menfolk are very happy.
The happpiness is on several counts; 1, the weather is perfect, 2, the crop is superb and 3, they just love the whole business of driving big tractors and machinery for hours at a time!!
I have just walked up the fields with a basket of mid-afternoon refreshment (elderflower cordial & chocolate cake) for the drivers and there is something rather wonderful about the sight of large tractors being skillfully handled and a crop of good thick grass being mown, carted and stored in order for us and the cows to get through the next winter. What this morning had been fields of almost waist high grass are now as smooth as a billiard table and buzzards and red kites are wheeling overhead in the hope of some small carrion. The dogs go snuffling through the rows of grass that are yet to be picked up, finding all sorts of lovely smells and bounding freely in the newly opened space of a mown field.
Years ago when the boys were little, silage-making took several days with contractors coming in with with a convoy of tractors & trailers and I would spend many hours making vast piles of ham sandwiches with home-made bread, cutting slabs of fruit cake and brewing gallons of sweet tea. The crew would often work on into the wee small hours of the morning.
Now we do it all ourselves and while the Farmer & the Sons will still work on into the night, the social aspect of the event has gone and it is all done in just a matter of  (long) hours. I used to be feeding 5 or 6 extra men each day and they would be so appreciative of home-made food. I remenber being very shocked when I was told that we were one of the last farms in the area to feed the silage crews. It is another aspect of rural life that has gone.

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