So there I was on Wednesday evening, up to my elbows in flour for the rhubarb crumble, when the phone rang. Missis' mum ringing me to let me know she was sending her lads down to cut our hay. Oh! All hands on deck, then. They came at 8pm so I had to go and get all the horses in, so we could take the electric fence down so the tractor could go through.
The next day Missis' dad came and turned the hay, and then yesterday the baling commenced. It was scorchingly hot and I had to keep the horses in for most of the day. Unlike most, our stables are actually hotter than being outside, as the building has lots of glass.
So M goes out and rolls up the bales, then it was Mr O's job to go and collect them on the tractor spike and bring them up out of the field. We got twenty bales out of the top field, whereas normally we only get twelve to fourteen, so it was worth waiting that little bit longer.
Mr W went home to collect the wrapping machine, and then the wrapping could commence. It's a fascinating machine, but very loud. I could only stand it for a little while, but it was my job to stop and start the machine. It does 33 turns of the bale before stopping, then tilts it and cuts the wrapping. Mr W leapt over to tuck the end in, the machine levels, then M puts another bale on, I start the machine up and the wrapping starts again. It's a very simple, but very clever machine.
Finally, once these bales were in, we could let the horses back out. By now it was 7pm and the horses were keen to get going. I was pleased with how good they'd been actually, as Barnaby is not one to stay in voluntarily on a warm summer's day.
Of course, they didn't realise the gate was open, so they could go and eat off the top field. Mr O led them up there to show them. Barnaby was the first to realise and went thundering through the gap, with the others close behind. They went whizzing round for a while, in the cooler air, then settled down to do what they do best - some serious scoffing.
We drove all the machinery over the road to the two fields we have there, where Mr O had already stacked the bales at the top of the field, ready to be wrapped. I was impressed with M's driving of the tractor and accuracy in placing the bales on the wrapper, as it has to fit between two markers.
Mind you, I'm pretty impressed at Mr O's ability to drive the tractor, as Mr W hardly gave him any instructions on how to drive it and how to use the spike to pick the bales up.
My job was to keep the drinks coming, as it was so hot. I felt like a Land Girl as I brought out slices of fruit cake and tea and squash, wearing shorts and wellies (not a good look!) and sitting on the grass watching the machines work and Tessa lying next to me, tongue lolling in the heat. The sky was a vivid blue, with hardly a cloud, the green couldn't have been greener. I felt like weeping with the beauty and the simplicity of it all. I have waited all my life for this.