Changing Seasons

In the Happy Farmer’s words ‘it’s great to see the sun hanging out again’.

The panorama from the farmhouse is changing. The summer colours are merging into an autumn landscape. The barley in the front field has ripened to a rich, golden colour. The Paps are swathed in purple and gold as the greenness of the summer months begins to fade. The sea glistens with deep turquoise and aquamarine hues. It is a beautiful time of the year. I never tire of the view with its everchanging light and reflections as the landscape moves through the seasons each year.

Yesterday heavy ‘mizzly’ rain set in. White clouds and mist enveloped everything including any view. It is a time of year when there is a gradual move from a life of outdoor living. The endless days of light are retreating. At night twilight gives way to the dark blue and black skies that the autumn brings, and the moon hangs huge and bright in a starry sky. Candles and fires are lit, hearty casseroles, soups and Sunday roasts become a mainstay in the farmhouse, as a new season evolves, and even a mizzly rainy day doesn’t dampen the spirits. That said, we are hoping the good weather that arrived today lasts for the month of September and we are treated to the delights of an Indian summer. The barley boys are at the ready with their combines. Barley needs to be harvested when it’s at its premium. It will be cut and threshed and transported to a local haulier who has facilities to store and dry the barley further if necessary, before it is ready to go off for malting.

The barley we grow eventually, once malted, goes to Bruichladdich Distillery. Invariably some will make its way back to Persabus, in its golden liquid splendour, as the farmers have a ‘wee dram’ around the kitchen table. It is indeed a ‘happy cycle’.

Our winter hay supplies arrived last week. The Happy Farmer used to make his own hay on the farm. It was a lovely time. Fields were mowed, lines of fresh grass were then spun several times a day by the hay turner. I did take my turn at driving the tractor and spinning the hay once, but unfortunately hay fever took its toll. In no time at all my eyes were swollen and streaming, and I arrived back at the farmhouse sneezing and wheezing and have not been allowed near the hay since. Once thoroughly dried by the sun the hay is then baled. The whole village would turn out to help stack the hay in years gone by, sandwiches and flasks of tea and soup would appear from the farmhouse, and it was a real community effort. Baling machines took over producing square bales, tied with baler twine. Finally, we had a round baler, producing huge bales of hay, which only machinery could lift and load into the hay shed.

Now, with our changing climate, and changing farm policies, hay is brought in from the mainland. In the pouring rain last week the happy chappies from down the road came along and gave the Happy Farmer a very welcome hand to load the hay bales into the shed for the winter months, and as always the kettle was on in the farmhouse.

Until next time…

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