& our Local Hero, Lloyd, has only just left the Ffarm after cutting the last of the hay on Parc Cam (‘Bendy Field’). It never ceases to amaze me, how tirelessly that man works: from before dawn until well after dusk he is always on the ‘go’. And he tells me he has an early start tomorrow as well….I feel that in his case, mechanisation isn’t necessarily a good thing, as the lights on his tractor give him the excuse to work far too hard. He’s such a good man that the hackneyed phrase ‘no rest for the wicked’ just doesn’t make sense; it’s a shame that so few have such an honest work ethic. Anyway it looks as if conditions will be suitable for Clawdd Coch (lit, ‘Red Hedges’) to get their hay in; so I’ll milk early & give Lloyd a hand if I can. Meanwhile I gave him some cider & some eggs so he can at least relax this evening with a drink & have a good breakfast in the morning; I feel so guilty he has stayed up over-late – yet again – on our behalf. The hay is very thick on Parc Cam though; & as the hedges are so high & the dew so heavy at this time of year, it’ll take a fair while to dry out (probably the weekend before we can bale it & bring it in). Ah well; at least the pressure’s off a bit as we have 700+ bales in the barn already…..though I suspect we’ll need all we can get….
It’s even chillier this evening, than it was yesterday. A stiff breeze rippled in from the North East which gave an unwelcome, biting edge to the air despite the mainly sunny day. I took Nanuk for a long walk this afternoon & whilst she was initially unreceptive, she settled down eventually to some quite passable heelwork. We unlocked the gate at the top of the drive, as requested, for Lloyd but assumed as the twilight fell over the valley that another working day must be over, after all: so I thought we were being burgled when the tractor came roaring down the hill at 10pm!
The little swallows have been practising their flying skills all afternoon, the air full of frantically hurtling black-&-white bodies as they hone their technique before leaving us for sunnier climes. With this unfamiliar & unwelcome chill in the evening air they too must be feeling the pressure although the youngsters are clearly tiring very quickly & are not yet strong or capable enough to attempt their incredible journey.
Sabe the Shetland is behaving like a grumpy teenager on his meagre diet; however on my part his enforced foraging is a case of ‘tough love’ as he really must lose some weight before the frosts increase the sugar content in the grass & hence compound his risk of laminitis – a most unpleasant condition suffered by many of our native breed ponies. I checked over the goats’ field & made a mental note to bring the birch tree Tony chopped up after it was blown down during an earlier, Spring gale, for seasoning; although it’s hard to tell what the winter might bring at the moment. Whilst the hawthorn bushes & Mountain Ash trees seem to have plentiful supplies of berries, I have been slightly concerned at the lack of hazlenuts, damsons, elderberries & sloes, so far; & many of the blackberries are disappointingly woody & bitter. However the plum crop in the orchard promises to be satisfyingly heavy & should be ready in only a few days’ time if the forecast is anything to go by. I wish I could say the same for the apple crop; it would’ve been good I suspect but for the fact that Tony, in one of his ‘tantrums’ when I asked him to mow the lawn a few weeks’ ago, destroyed several excellent branches which were heavy with beautiful semi-ripe fruit, rather than mow around them. I only hope he hasn’t killed the trees; sometimes I cannot understand his ‘Jeckyll & Hyde’ personality when it comes to life on the Ffarm. But – like the Horlicks adverts – I’m sure he’s sleeping like a baby over in Bishkek, tonight…..