It's raining! Good news as it meant limited guilt when I abandoned the farm for the Olympic eventing final yesterday. You should know, I love the Olympics more than Humbug or my family. To the point I walked Humbug the other day by sprinting to a friend's house (fortunately within the death distance - approx 1/8 mile) in the break in the men's gymnastics all-round final. Apologies to the local farmer who had to witness my attempt at running (less Usain more Jumanji) along the edge of a sugar beet field.
But it IS harvest, and the combine IS ready to go - at last testing barley was at 20% moisture, so not long now. And so it is time for a vintage picture. I've recently been sorting through Grandad's photos and negatives from the '30s (after dark, late at night - all hours must be accounted for pre-harvest). Last week, I came across this picture of a time before the JCB/Manitou took the load off a farmer's harvest.
Having spent a long time as a child climbing/being lifted one layer higher on a trailer of bales (whilst wearing a natty knotted 'kerchief), this photo brought back fond memories of harvest. It is a strange time, in my opinion the most stressful and most enjoyable time in the farming year. But, just as at the Olympics, everything comes down to this. And having worked increasingly with Dad over the past year since I returned to the farm, I would like to encourage all involved to 'Make the Promise' to come home safely. Don't get me wrong, we may despair of HSE at times and we do not have to harvest in the conditions in this photo, but it is important to get through it in one piece! As the HSE executive say: Do it for yourself, your family and your farm.
Good luck to everyone starting harvest, finishing (you lucky things) or struggling to get heavy machinery into boggy fields! It has been a challenging season in the UK but spare a thought for our American counterparts. With extraordinary drought conditions across the US, we are lucky to be able to head into the fields to harvest. There'll be lots of cursing, screaming and probably a few tears (from Humbug) here at LDF, but here's wishing you all a safe harvest.