Stepped out yesterday morning with the rabids just as a massive tractor thundered past towing a trailer that was carrying about a dozen haybale rolls. Set off up the back lane and, sure enough, the field on the left that had been full of cut grass was now full of bales, all waiting to be carted off to various barns as winter cattle feed. However, the field on the right had no bales, just cut grass drying in the sun.
Turned right at the granite cross and ambled along the tree tunnel towards the mushroom forest, passing a field on the right where the farmer and one of his sons were busy with their tractors. The farmer's tractor had a massive circular rake thing on either side which piled the cut grass (had been drying in the sun for a couple of days) into neat rows. The son's tractor then followed up behind with a big boxy trailer thingy which scooped up the grass and then spat it out the rear as rolls wrapped in clear plastic. Then the other son followed up with the trailer and carted them off. Wonderful to watch.
Stopped for a quick chat with the farmer. As usual, I stated the glaringly obvious. Told him they all looked very busy. He replied by saying that they were trying to get all the grass baled up, and some of it stored, before nightfall because he reckoned it might rain tomorrow (wet grass is not good for storing - the thin plastic wrapper provides short-term waterproofing). As I stood there in shorts and teeshirt, sweating buckets in the hot sunshine, I found it hard to believe that rain was coming. Still, these farmer lads know their weather a lot better than Michel Poisson. (Bit of rain this morning, not a lot, so the farmer was right.) Thought it best to keep out of their way, so pottered off back home.
Wandered off up the back lane again in late afternoon. In the field on the left, only a few bales remained, while the field on the right was now dotted with rolls. Great! This meant we now had our 'back fields circuit' walk back again - haven't been able to walk there recently due to the long grass. Set off up the top of the hill, taking a few snaps on the way, and admired the view that I'd been missing for a couple of months. On a sunny evening like this, at this time of year with bales dotting the landscape, it really is a splendid experience.
Ducking under a barbed wire fence, we then entered the field at the back. The morning's cut grass was now baled up and the field was dotted with rolls. Spotted a few hawks perched on distant rolls, presumably searching for fieldmice or voles darting along tracks that had, until recently, been hidden from view. Then Sprocket spotted the hawks and he was off - he chases hawks and rooks, never catches them of course, just ends up jumping at the sky. Jock too. Bonkers. Bit further on, we entered the field in which I'd earlier been chatting to the farmer. The bales had gone and it was now deserted apart from a lone tractor, its engine silent but crackling as it cooled.
Then on past the granite cross and down the back lane for home. Heard a tractor rumble behind so put the dogs on the leads and stood to the side. That lone tractor in the deserted field was back in action. Didn't come along the lane though, went instead into the low field where it speared a couple of bales back and front then headed off to the village barn. Then, presumably, back into whichever field his dad and brother were working.
Just before home, we had a final look into the top field where rooks were feeding. Sprock spotted them and assumed battle stations, pulling at his lead. Managed a quick snap before he pulled me over - rook just to the right of nearest bale, but hardly visible! Then home. The distant rumble of tractors continued well after sundown. Busy time of year for the lads.
Taking a pause
2 weeks ago