Thirty acres mown in five hours- result!

Five men went to mow a meadow

Five men went to mow a meadow

Hay barn

Hay barn

So, after three days it was up the mountain to mow a meadow ( actually about 30 acres).  Seriously, we mowed 30 acres in about five hours- not bad at all considering we were supposed to get up at five but had gone to bed at four thirty in the morning after drinking, possibly a tad too much, palinka. Boy it was very difficult to get out of bed at 8am actually, let alone 5am. Still, the meadow had to be mown…

A fritilary butterfly

A fritillary butterfly

Marbled white

Marbled white

Perched some 800 metres above the valley we trudged up with heavy heads but, as we went, clouds of butterflies danced in the air- the marbled white butterfly (mottled black and white), the meadow brown, fritillaries of all sorts and a whole host of blues, browns, whites and coppers rose in front of our footsteps which traversed through a riot of colour and smell.

Cep

Cep

Each plot of land was marked with small posts, saplings and trees- these marked the boundary between individual owners. Once the hillside would have been forested but, over hundreds of years, the land was cleared and the hay cut to feed the cows which in turn provided milk to make the cheese which fed each and every family that worked the land. Under the trees we would come across all sorts of fungi but, best of all, we occasionally found a cep from the boletes family, an excellent prize to flavour our supper.

Field cricket

Field cricket

Grand selfheal

Grand selfheal

Flowers adorned the plots of land and insects abounded… best of all was the high density of field crickets which sang so loudly that you could hear them all over the mountain. Once they used to be reasonably common in England but alas, it is near extinction- modern agriculture has done for them although there has been a programme of re-introduction into suitable places.

Hard mowing

Hard mowing

At the bottom of the meadow we were cutting the mowing was good but further up the lush meadow turned into an upland Nardus strictus or matgrass- not very productive and of low food value for the cows. It wasn’t very easy to mow either.

What a view

What a view!

End of a day

End of a day

Romania has undergone a period of rural depopulation and the effect has been quite dramatic. Scrub has started to encroach on the old mountain meadows and some land has been abandoned. This can sometimes be seen as an advantage at first but, if it continues, the meadows eventually fade away to a full forest canopy. At the moment it’s not so bad (and in fact could increase the wildlife value for a time )but, as young people seek better paid work further afield, only the older people are left. This has happened in the UK resulting in massive changes in agriculture, ownership and biodiversity. What to do to help Romania and the Eastern European counties through a difficult phase? They still have what we once had and lost and I’d rather like to help them keep the sparkling emerald jewel they have.

Strips

Strips

Land tenure in the Romanian mountains is somewhat like our open field system before enclosure- everyone has bits of land everywhere. Quite a bit of it starts at the bottom of the hill and goes straight up to the top. Sometimes it’s only 20 or so metres wide. One reason for this is you cut the lower slopes as these grow quickest and then work uphill. The advantage of this is that once you’re near the top it’s easier to roll the hay down the hill without so much effort. Oh, and by the way, in the Gyimes valley it appears that there are 100 acres to the hectare!!!!!!!! Yes I love this country each of us mowed SIX ACRES EACH IN FIVE HOURS beat that Mr Fairlie!!!!!

Time for a palinka

Time for a palinka

Finished that work so off to help milk the cows on the mountainside… but not before a palinka 🙂

Milking the cows

Milking the cows

A hard but rewarding life

A hard but rewarding life

This is what the mountain life is all about- spend the summer mowing grass to make hay to feed the cows through the winter, to milk the cows and make the cheese. Simple but so rewarding, less stress, back to nature and more productive.

Oh and the pigs

Oh… and the pigs

Yes, I mustn’t forget the garbage disposal system- all that organic waste we waste in the West. In the East they turn it into pork and fat, a most useful energy source and one I actually really like (especially the smoked fat). Odd how people in the rural countryside can eat so much fat but don’t suffer many health issues,the hard work seems to burn the fat away…

 

About Sadeik

You may ask why "Sadeik" well it means friend in arabic. Worked in Jordan a lot doing tree surgery you see. I have worked in forestry since I left school with a two years in Telecom. Went back to forestry and tree surgery as it may not have paid as much but was far more interesting and dangerous. Spent a lot of years mountaineering, caving and canoeing too. At 29 I went to Bangor University to study Forestry and soil science then did an MSc in Water engineering all very interesting. By a quirk of fate in 1995 ended up helping sort out the woodland and park at Wimpole, funny thing was then I only intended to stay six months or so, but 18 years later I'm still here learning all the time. That's the best bit, if I wasn't able to learn something new every year I would not have stayed and as you get older you realise that the grass is not so green in the next field after all. In fact my patch is getting greener while much of the rest is getting browner.
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3 Responses to Thirty acres mown in five hours- result!

  1. Sadeik says:

    Reblogged this on Scythe Association and commented:

    3 of a lot

    Like

  2. ‘Odd how people in the rural countryside can eat so much fat but don’t suffer many health issues,the hard work seems to burn the fat away…’

    Yes indeed! So they must all be very thin? Or perhaps the fat they eat is not the problem?

    How many McDonalds, KFC’s and vending machines do they get to choose from? Our next two waste disposal systems have already been born and we take delivery in 4 weeks………..great articles keep up the good work, loved the video’s as well……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. graemeu says:

    ‘…as young people seek better paid work further afield, only the older people are left.’
    After visiting Norway, I did a complete 180, going from ‘uneconomic activities shouldn’t be subsidised’ to thinking that in Europe some level of subsidy to farmers/foresters is appropriate where it keeps rural communities functioning, maintains cultural landscapes, and traditional ways of life. That philosophy could be extended to artisans (bodgers, stone masons, thatchers etc) and other professionals essential to keeping a rural community intact. Far better than the ills of urban-drift.

    Like

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