Friday, 3 September 2010

...and breathe...

We constantly work to deadlines in modern life, and most of them are artificial - targets set at random, year-ends and the myriad other stop-dates imposed as a man-made ultimatum.
There are still some genuine deadlines, though - things which have to be done and where we have little or no control of timing or outcome. The annual task of making good quality haylage despite the vagaries of the Exmoor weather falls squarely into this category! I've spent a lot of the summer looking at weather forecasts - we had wonderful dry, sunny conditions in June, but because of the cold winter and late Spring, there was very little grass growing then, not worth cutting.

In July it started raining - perfect for growing grass - but throughout August the unsettled weather continued, and so we had to just watch the grass grow. Of course, the later in the year, the trickier it becomes, as the days shorten and there is less drying time. So the clock has been ticking. Finally, last weekend, the high pressure weather system which had been tantalisingly close to the UK actually moved in. Only problem then was that we had had so much rain that the ground was waterlogged...Even on Sunday we had very heavy showers, but the ground had improved over 2 or 3 days and on Monday we went for it.

The time between the grass being cut on Monday and it being safely baled and wrapped on Thursday is the most nerve-wracking - in the past 2 years we've been dodging rain and it has been very difficult but this year the forecasters were spot-on and we had beautifully settled weather with warm days, mild nights and a gentle breeze drying everything to perfection.

To my huge relief we've had a really good crop of very nice haylage - although it was cut fairly late, our growing season this year has also been late so its all come right in the end! This is what I've been hoping for - what a lovely sight, and more than enough to get us all through another hard winter if need be :-)

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