September’s here again. Wheat has been harvested and the swallows are fattening up for their trip overseas to Africa. Nights are cooler and bring a heavy dew with some mist. Some leaves are starting to turn. Autumn is coming
The extreme summer heat has produced a bountiful harvest. Here’s a few of the treats we’ve enjoyed during late summer.
There’s a lot more to enjoy – here’s a few September treats:
Winter brassicas are in; string around them will hopefully deter the pigeons. Celeriac, parsnips, beetroot, kale, spinach and leeks will be ready for when the nights are longer – they’ll remind us of the heat and light of the outstanding summer of 2018.
We’ve now had about 6 weeks without rain, days above 20 degrees and lots of sun. Perfect summer. The hedgerow and new trees are really starting to feel the heat, with a few shrivelling and dropping all of their leaves. I’m hoping this is just a ‘resting response’. We’ve developed a plan to do some watering at the weekend – more on that if it happens. I got an email for the Woodland Trust reminding about the importance of removing weeds and grass from around the newly-planted trees, so I guess this should be a primary objective.
The field grass has been spectacular this year. Rain fell at the perfect time in spring and early summer, resulting in lush growth that is thick at the bottom and not so tall that it falls over in the wind. The sun has baked it a beautiful golden colour, and alongside the surrounding wheat fields the whole area has turned gold.
Tracks made in the (then very muddy) field earlier in the year are nearly gone.
July is time to harvest the field grass to make hay. I’m always reluctant at this time. I like the long grass, the movement in the wind, the warm colours especially in the evening, and the abundance of life within it. But still, cutting is essential maintenance and without it the field would soon become a wilderness of thistle and nettle – which would be great for wildlife but not very useful to humans. And if we are to plant more trees we need to keep the weeds away for now.
Sean arrived last night on his massive tractor, making very quick work of the field which was all cut in about an hour.
The hay will lie for a day or so (very quick in this heat) after which it will be baled and then taken away – sometimes as far as Wales – for livestock feed.
Combine harvesters will soon work their way through the adjacent fields. In the meanwhile it is good to enjoy the evenings when everything turns gold.