Friday, 26 August 2011

Harvest Time

Whoever said the countryside was quiet?  Since adopting a country life I've come to realise that this is very seldom the case, there are the sounds of birds and bees, the sheep bleating in the fields either side of us, horses and riders down the lanes, hedging tools, lawnmowers, the occasional shotgun in the distance and of course, farm machinery.  And at this time of the year that machinery and its accompanying symphony are all around us as the farmers make the most of the dry weather to bring in their crops.

shropshire oak in a field of golden grain
A couple of days ago the Handyman and I decided to take a walk along one of our local footpaths; it was a glorious evening so we donned our good sturdy walking boots and set off.  As we left the lane and started out along the side of a field of (what we thought was) golden barley, we were met by the sight of an enormous combine harvester finishing the gathering of the grain.

can you spot the farmer and the Handyman chatting?
The machine was a sight to behold as was the rush of golden grain raining down into the trailer.  The Handyman took the opportunity to have a chat with the combine driver and it turned out that the grain was not barley, but rather a barley-wheat cross which is grown as animal feed.

more work to do

a rush of golden grain
As we continued our walk the baling machine started work gathering the straw left by the combine and creating the bales.

ready for baling

A few fields further on we were able to watch the next stage of the process as tractors pulling what looked like ploughshares and discs ran over the ground breaking up the surface with the plough and then chopping the clods with the discs.

two tractors are better than one
All of this is endlessly fascinating to someone like me brought up in the heart of the city and second nature to someone like the Handyman born and bred in the countryside.  I wonder what the next crop in these fields will be?

So we continued our evening walk through the Shropshire fields ending up with a well deserved brew at our local pub and then a meander home down the lane musing on how fortunate we are to be surrounded by such production and beauty!

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