The aftermath of the scything festival had to be the clearing up and the weather was getting hotter (pity Monday’s beautiful clear skies hadn’t come a bit earlier… on Sunday).
First task was to sort the litter into general waste and recyclable; next the MF390 and crane removed the timbers (but we stacked them close by as we’ll need some of them for the Gamekeepers Weekend up at the Folly). Meanwhile some of the volunteers busied themselves with rounding up the stakes and tools, the latter had to be cleaned and oiled ready for their next job.
Even after all the mowing at the weekend most people turned up to mow some more grass up at the Folly; in fact we had a few extra people who had by chance been walking by – inquisitiveness got the better of them and we soon had them mowing too!
Boy the weather was hotting up but the evenings were to die for- cool and fresh with an almost full moon. Silence was only broken by the new fangled vibrating speaker playing Songhoy Blues’ music- seemed to fit well with the atmosphere. Well worth a listen.
After moving the timber the MF390 then spread the hay so that it could dry quickly (in fact it was drying really fast in the even hotter weather), glad we kept the star tent up- excellent shade and, I think because it was black, there was a good draught through it. Tackled the yurt next, horrible thing. I like yurts but it pays to buy one from the people who live in them i.e Mongolians – theirs are far superior although, if you find a good British maker of yurts who uses the best materials and understands what they are building, they can be just as good. Tip – get a recommendation when buying a yurt.
With the clean-up getting along fine we turned our attention to clearing up the Folly- all the iron fence had to be taken to Arrington but not before the concrete was broken up and carted away. Odd thing was we found a few toads hopping about around the loss, all young. The hot weather had dried the loss out but that is exactly what amphibians like- an ephemeral pond which fish can’t survive in (no fish = no predation of the tadpoles).
The Farm had booked Simon Dudley to bale the grass we had mown over the weekend and, with the hay in perfect condition, Albert brought out the Farm’s tractor and equipment to row the hay up ready for the baler. There were areas however, around the newly planted trees, that needed mowing ( the big tractors can’t cut near to these so we mow the grass with scythes to get the place looking smarter).
In all Simon Dudley baled thirty seven bales which is nearly ten tons of hay all mowed by hand. Well almost, as we did do two eighths with the walk behind finger bar mower and the tractor trailed Bamford finger bar mower. The idea was to quell some of the comments about the mowers’ stamina vs the fossil fuel contraptions. Alistair used the walk behind mower and did his eighth in 18 minutes while John and Jim used the Bamford mower and tractor and did theirs in 16 minutes. Simon Fairlie, who mowed with a scythe and won the eighth of an acre, did his in one hour and seven minutes. I think a really fast scythe mower could do one in less than 30 minutes but would be hard pressed.
Another evening and one spent clout shooting with bow and arrow. With a nice clear patch of grass we could easily find the shot arrows. Clout shooting comes from the medieval period as bows were used in warfare then. Aiming high and dropping quarter pound arrows on charging knights was the most effective way of killing them so Englishmen were expected to practise shooting arrows at targets in this manner on Sundays. (Now there you go- another competition that would have been held in all the shires at least 600 years ago.)
Here are some of the images taken late at night and early in the morning when nobody else is about… mind you, you have to be up early- 5am actually. On Thursday night the weather finally broke – a massive thunder storm visited Wimpole and a deluge of water fell from the sky. Just as well as the young trees were in need of a drink.