Yes, that's right, an open invitation to check out my bales. It only happens once a year, so take advantage of it whilst you can... Very proud of my work, although my performance review from Dad might not be great when you factor in multiple baler clogging, magical net wrap disappearance (seriously, we're talking Magic Circle worthy) and best of all trapping my hand in the reel, which hurt. A lot. Nothing Magic Circle about that one.
But that did not slow us down. No more than 'The Rock Who Wanted to be Barley'. So desperately did this rock want to join it's grainy friends, it had the audacity to enter the combine thus suspending combining for a morning.
Only so many times in these warming days you get the opportunity to say "F***ing glaciers." [Apparently in the last Ice Age, the glaciers stopped North of Colchester i.e. at LDF and dumped a variety of very pretty, but very annoying rocks in our so not Grade A agricultural land. Although let this be a lesson to you all, a combine is to harvest, not to plough.]
But never mind, that's why we keep a couple of spare combines for parts. Without them, and Dad's mechanical genius, I wouldn't get to write: Winter barley, harvested.
Next time I reverse into, or lose Humbug under one, I shall remind myself to be grateful for their presence. Bring on the spring barley!
Temperatures are dropping and the frost has returned. Time for the annual checklist... Drilling sorted. Check. Harvest Festival. Check. Pumpkin sale at Wiston Church. Check. Sweet chestnuts gathered. Chek - I'm typing through the pain. Who needs gloves? And I can hear a tiny violin....which must mean...Whoop! Autumn is back!
So, as the crops emerge and I tentatively dance up a rainstorm and play the weather game, it's time for another vintage photo. This Massey Harris seed drill courtesy of Grandad T's faming collection c. 1940s.
This year, I spent a frantic half hour in the role of the man on the back, running up and down the tailboard trying to eke out the little seed remaining, and inevitably running out with a few metres to go. But, crisis averted! After we'd got past Dad's "seasonal Tourette's" when faced with bags of seed corn - "It's Autumn! No Spring! ..Winter!..Spring!..Winter!", the correct grain was found and job done just in time for Humphrey to head off to play the flute in concert that evening.
Good news for us and for the pigeons, seagulls, rooks etc. that use the fields as an all-you-can-eat buffet to get fat for the winter. A flock of pigeons is for life, not just for Christmas. Fortunately, natural pest control in action - thank you to the farmer next door who's planted some far tastier oilseed rape. Plus, this year, they've got Humbug to contend with. And that dog believes he can fly...