1 Aug 2012

Mowing the meadow

Photos taken in a hamlet on the edge of the Chiltern Hills (Oxfordshire/Berkshire border)

During some recent drier days in July this farmer was taking the opportunity to start the late process of silage (or perhaps hay making).  We hope he managed to get the task done during the
upredictable weather we've been experiencing these last few months.

It reminded me of a passage in Katherine Swift's book, The Morville Hours - a gardener's meditative journey through the seasons.  In the chapter called Sext she describes rural life within view of her Shropshire home and garden during the month of June.

Mr. Meredith (the farm manager) made hay in Church Meadow, one man and a machine doing the work of a dozen men with scythes.  First he cut the grass, dropping it neatly behind the tractor in long flat lines , then he returned a few days later to turn it. The sweet fragrance of mown hay wafted over the garden for days. That smell! - the sweet-scented smell of vernal grass evocative of a thousand summer days, but now largely a thing of the past. Nowadays hay is much more likely to be cut for silage: cut, chopped and bagged in a single day. 


  1. that first sentence from the book fits your beautiful photos perfectly. i like these shots, the England i want to see.
    the night bloomers bloomed today.there are about 20 of them in full bloom, they are folding up now, when the sun comes up they die. I could not get a photo because it rained and when I went out my lens fogged over . it was a five minute shower, but the humidity is so high the view finder is fogged to. they are glorious to see. 10 of them are at the top of the tree, which is 3 stories high. the sun is up and shining like a flashlight on them.

  2. oh, i remember this well...especially the smell of new-mown alfalfa. my father was never a farmer but we lived on a 17 acre piece of land with a lake and 2 dairy cows. every year the next-door farmer would come to do our alfalfa fields...

  3. Beautiful pictures, Linda. They look like they could be part of the book you quoted... That farmer was doing the work all by himself.... Hope he got it done!!!