Tuesday 21 August 2012

Sometimes the old ways....

We turn our attention to "the bit we don't talk about", the only bit of the new garden and grounds without a proper new name. Mum and Dad realised they had been making great plans for "The West Field", "The East Field", "The Pottery", "The Front Terrace", "The Woods", "The Secret Garden" and so on but there, staring them in the face was a chunk of 'neither here nor there' where long grasses, rushes, willowherb and bush-vetch grew, where tractors occasionally passed and where there were still heaps of 'spoil' left by 804-Pete's mini-digger. Something was going to have to be done or it would stay an eye sore in the middle of all the good stuff, right in the line of site between favoured evening seating area (The Pottery) and the sunsets the sitters were trying to watch.

Dad had had a bit of a poke about with the 'Old Father Time' scythe but the thatch was too tough and the mower struggled with the amount of cut material it had to spew out before it could bite off any new. Even a strimmer would struggle here trying to battle the cut stuff which would fall down where it was cut. There was only one answer, the old fashioned Sussex "Grass-hook" hand-scythe accompanied by lifting out the cut swathes and stooking them up to clear the ground, allowing you a clear swing on the next pass.

It was a scorcher of a day and working in shirtsleeves Dad quickly had a good old sweat going. He was thankful every now and then that the 'annoying puppies' would stray too near and give him a break from swinging the hook from a kneeling position, making him stand up and fork some 'hay' away with the hay fork.  In the end he was standing in the 'aftermath' dripping with sweat and feeling like it was the 70's again and he was back in the student-jobs pitching straw bales. The grass had been so long that the bases, down in the dark, were straw coloured anyway, so it looked like a field of stubble, and the piled up grass, all be it wet with dew and rain from previous days, looked like a miniature version of an old fashioned hay-stack. The old style pitch-fork and hand scythe added to the impression. Pure pleasure, confessed Dad. Funny what makes the old bugger happy!

The hot still day finished with a chance to drop another tree and create some more logs, in this case a dead spruce which proved, on counting the tree rings, to be about 49 years old. These are nice and easy to fell and to log up and , being dead standing and nearly bereft of side branches, easy to clean too. The log store is filling nicely.

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