August…

…is the month for finishing our haymaking. During May and June grass in the pastures of The Weald often grows faster than cattle can consume it, so we ready ourselves to cut the surplus, keep an eye on the sky, and hope to ‘make hay while the sun shines’. Hay that’s baled while even slightly wet will moulder and rot, so the old saying remains as relevant as ever.

A simple a mixture of grass and higher protein clover, each summer’s hay is vital for naturally sustaining the cattle through the harshest weeks of the winter. Once the grass has set its seed the fields are ready to be cut. The grass is then spread and turned several times until completely dry, then its rowed out ready for baling. If the weather stays fine this can all be done in under a week, but if it rains at any point in the process we’ll need to let it dry, turn it and begin again. Quick work is essential, so it’s lucky that today’s modern hay-balers make shorter work of the task than rakes and scythes, although there’s less opportunity to frolic in the haystacks with a flagon of cider…


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