Now gone with all else
Held in cloudy memories
Bottled and pickled
n.b. The serious work has begun to collect the fruit, vegetables and crops from the summer. What must be gathered from the orchard floor and stored for winter; what can be collected from the vine and pressed; what can be cut from the plant and eaten fresh, or kept dry; what can be picked from the over-burdened trees and turned to juice, or pickled, or made to jams and chutneys; what can be best preserved frozen?
The stoves burn, jars are sterilised, temperatures carefully monitored; steam and sweetness fill the home. Hair tied back, aprons on while the heat in the kitchen turns us pink and sticky too during these long satisfying hours before labelling bottles and still warm pots and cleaning up in the company of curious wasps and to the buzz of frustrated flies.
Grass turned to hay bales
Turf open again to sky
Crows stalk the stubble
n.b. The corvids leave the pasture in flower to other creatures, but as soon as the ground is clear they descend, spread themselves out, (respecting each others’ personal space), and start grubbing about searching for leather jackets and other insect larvae; anything tasty that just a few days prior was happy under the cover of the grasses.
It is a little late in the year to make hay
Intense heat reduces to rain too frequently
Morning dew takes encouragement to lift
Cloud cover sitting like a cosy duvet on night-warmed bed has to be dragged off by the Sun
So the hours available to flick and line up the mowings are few
Time is short to bale and store
Interpreting the conflicting weather forecasts is a challenge
If it’s dry with hot Sun, the hay must be brought in now
We are on it
Day emerges slower
Chill mist veil gently settles
Leaves pearled with dewdrops
Ewe calls to her lambs
Not feeding anymore but
These are still her young
n.b. With lambs weaned after four months, or so, the bonds between ewe and offspring are still strong. When the flock is disturbed by a passing walker pausing and taking in the view at the gate, the baa-ing begins between ewes and lambs; they have recognisable voices. I am sure there must be shepherds who learn who is who in their flock from the individual calls.
Atop Wiltshire Downs
Huge golden waves of ripe grain
Pitch, roll, dip and swell