I arrived back from Romania to find a number of trees had been blown down by some strong winds. The trees had been in full leaf which makes them more vulnerable because of the increased sail effect. Without the wood chipper and timber crane this job would have taken the best part of a week to clear up but, with the right machinery and resources, it was only a couple of days before all was ship-shape and clean.
Having mowed in Romania I came back to find the Wympole scythe mowers had also been active. First meadow to mow was at Cobbs Wood Farm. The flower seed wasn’t ready so, to avoid extra hay drying work, the herb rich green grass was fed directly to the White Park cattle who, after spending the winter in the sheds, appreciated a change of diet.
It was a full week back at work as the CNTV came in on the Sunday to help paint the park rail fence at Arrington- a grand help when you consider that it would cost £15/m if outside contractors had to be employed to undertake the work. Seem to remember about 100m of fence being painted. Brilliant job.
After last winter some of the farm tracks were in a sorry condition and the first to have a facelift was the track going north above Cobbs Wood Farm. It will take a bit of time to do as we use this job as an infill when we have some spare time, hopefully it’ll be finished by late August.
Ragwort pulling time… not the nicest of jobs but a necessary one if you have hay meadows. Not that you have to pull all the ragwort out because it is of great wildlife value but, in a hay meadow, you don’t want it invading in large quantities as it can be poisonous to some animals.
The major work for June and July was grassland management which of course included the Scythe Festival in late June which I reported on in an earlier blog post. Matt Radford from Burwash Manor Farm came with his baler to bale the four acres of hay mown purely by scythe- this was very good quality hay and we ended up with 300 good bales.
Even managed to bale some rubbish fluffy grass in front of the Stable Block which helped tremendously as I had thought we would have to remove it manually. Turns out that this small area produced twenty bales which quite frankly was rubbish but the cows seemed to like it in the cattle yard. WASTE NOT, WANT NOT.
Great Cobbs Meadow was also mown but by tractor… due to a problem removing some large hay bales last year that noxious weed creeping thistle invaded (and I for one hate hay bales with large amounts of this horrible weed in them) so we removed the worst and seeded the area where they had been as it was by now bare earth, hopefully this will reduce the thistles by next year.
The Wympole scythe men and of course women continued their Tuesday evening sessions mowing flower rich grass which was then taken to other sites on the Wimpole Estate to help spread the seed. We have been doing this for quite a few years now and this year we started to see the fruits of all our work – there was a stunning early summer display of colour along with millions of butterflies… and they keep coming as the common blue has now just started to fly.
All in all a busy two months what with the Scythe and History Festivals plus the Young Farmers Show.