As I See it on the Land – August 2022

Our activity on the canal towpath came to a sudden halt when my left knee painfully swelled up and prevented further work. Four weeks later and following an MRI scan I still await to know what the problem is, apart from pain. It is currently too hot to be doing such energetic work but we hope to continue sometime in the future.

Mark has been overhauling and servicing the combine ready to start this harvest. The neighbour we share the combine with has some winter barley coming ready to harvest and they have just made a start on the crop, which will probably go for animal feed. We are still weeks away from harvesting our wheat. Report next month. The linseed still has plants only 4 or 5 inches tall still coming out into flower. It is going to be difficult to decide when to harvest with such an extremely long flowering period. When walking through the crop there is little evidence of insects pollinating the flowers, but a lot of small bees at work. The ground is covered with blue flowers just like confetti. There are fissures/cracks an inch wide in the ground and you can look down nearly a foot deep. It is getting very dry and one cannot help wonder whether there is enough moisture in the soil for the grain to fill out.

The grass fields are beginning to show signs of stress and the sheep will soon be overtaking the amount of grass growth in this hot spell. There has been some decent hay/silage made but not in the quantities like last year. Our neighbour, adjacent to our drive, weaned a large number of lambs last week and there was a rather noisy night as the lambs continuously bleated for their mothers. The caravanners thought the lambs had gone mad until I explained the situation. No one likes to leave mummy, but it has to happen. After a couple of days, they settle down, forget about sucking teats, learn to drink water and get on with life on their own.

Two weeks ago, someone kindly left a gate wide open to our wheat fields at Horton Green. Whether in ignorance, carelessness, malicious, or just unaware of the presence of sheep in the adjacent grass field, we shall never know. The neighbour’s sheep flock could not resist the invitation to have a free feed of wheat. Luckily, they were seen before they had filled their stomachs with too much corn. Death follows eating too much wheat. The damage extended over a wide area as they had followed the footpath across the field and the mown field edges. The damage has got to be assessed after the combine has harvested the field. The gateway is clearly marked that it is not a public right of way. The footpath is also clearly marked.

Our grain trailers are having extended sides put on to comply with new regulations so that grain cannot be spilt onto the road. The alternative is to sheet every load after the combine has filled the trailer, a difficult and time-consuming job, unless of course the weather changes!

I don’t know what other people are finding but we have had very few mosquitos in the house until this last couple of days. Normally with ditches close by we get inundated with them. Butterflies are few and far between, mostly peacocks. The buddleias are normally covered in them. So why the sudden lack of insects? Is it  global warming and have they moved further north up the country?