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By the barn August 2017

Posted: 6th Aug 2017

“A wise man ought to perceive how ghostly it will be,

When all this worlds wealth stands wasted” Anglo-Saxon poet

Here we are at Lammas, the halfway point between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox and marking the time of the first harvest of the year in Anglo Saxon days.

And nothing much changes, as its time to roll the combines and gather in the result of many months hard graft and expense.

After the crops have been cut the field is left with rows of stubble and aftermath, providing food for foraging birds and animals. In fact, one of the options in conservation schemes, you can opt to leave stubble fields over winter for such purposes.

Previously these fields may have been burnt, to clear the ground ready for the next ploughing and sowing and to kill pests and weeds(this is no longer allowed, unless under very strict derogation). But, of course, this was a fire risk and caused smoke pollution but only slightly more carbon emission than through natural process.

However the ban has led to more of a Blackgrass problem (which smothers the crop) and maybe, herbicide resistance in weeds as more chemicals are used.

We are seeing many more hares about the fields this month and hare-coursing begins as soon as the fields are cleared. They are highly organised gangs with specially bred dogs worth lots of money and very nasty people- please report anything suspicious that you may see- as these gangs are being targeted in their usual counties of Lincolnshire etc, they are seeking new pastures!

The hedges are filling with the flowers of the wild honeysuckle and ‘old mans beard’ and there are ‘Hairstreak’ butterflies feeding on the Blackthorn, quite a busy time for insects.

Our first lambs have gone to market and Bakewell has opened on an extra day as there is a greater demand since other livestock markets have closed- this will be benefitting the town, as often the farmers and companions pop in as it’s so accessible.

Undecided whether or not to have an extra cut of silage, we are working out if there is enough grazing if we shut up a couple of pasture fields. Because of the dry spell, our grass fields didn’t yield as much as we’d hoped and we could well be short this winter if we don’t.

The thistles have been topped, but we may go over any patches that have regrown and the wide field margins will also be topped now too- ground nesting chicks will have hatched and it prevents the wild flowers being smothered.

Ted has accepted Pip now, rather resignedly and often hides from her in his kennel! She is learning not to chase sheep or cattle, but has caught her first mouse, proudly shown to everyone. trying to harvest

Posted by: Angela
Categories: Farming

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