The Torch Mown looking to the West

Bringing in the Hay

As we slide into August each year, I become very aware of how tatty and tired everything looks around me.  Perhaps because I too feel tatty and tired!  The grasses are drying, much of the wildflower meadow is stiff stalks and seedheads – which means, whenever anyone ignores our requests to stick to the paths and tracks and walks into the meadow, their footprints remain.  Plants don’t stand up again.  With the current heat, everything is looking parched.  The lush green of England is faded.  As the crab apples swell, the hawthorn berries redden, the verges yellowing, we all long for cool fresh rain …

The Torch Mown looking to the West

The Torch Mown looking to the West

Except, of course, not in the middle of haymaking!  It’s at this time at Sun Rising that we begin to cut the grassland.  This year, James brought in a perfect-sized tractor to cut small sections of the grassland that in years to come will become woodland, leaving plenty of grass entirely undisturbed, where moths and butterflies still dance in the heat, little grasshoppers and crickets humming.

Then he went right down what we call the Torch: the area down the middle of the northern grassland which we are beginning to transform into wildflower meadow.  You can see it in the photo above.  Either side of the cut area will, in decades to come, be planted with shrubs and trees, while over time this central stretch will be enriched ecologically with more and more widlflowers.

This year the grassland was gathered into small bales and went as fodder for livestock at a local organic farm.   And now, to be honest, with our hay safely brought in, frankly we’d be more than happy to see some good rain …