July 2006

View from the Hill                                      29th June 2006

A warm and dry June is just what we need for the wheat to have a long and successful flowering period, allowing it to set plenty of seed.  June was in danger of becoming a record breakingly dry month until last week, when we had a very useful 18mm of rain.  We have made some pretty good hay, and have watched the barley start to change colour.  Surprisingly, a friend in Essex, who usually claims drought conditions every year at this time, is moaning because, of the five different batches of hay he has tried to make, four have been ruined by rain.

The wild oating gang have been out working hard and mostly enjoying the sunshine, wild oats have an annoying habit of lying dormant in the soil for very many years, and just when you think you have got the better of them, up come some more where you haven’t seen them for years.  The problem is, if you miss pulling any up, you start the cycle all over again.  One year’s seeding, seven years weeding, is the old saying, well more like fifteen years weeding so far on this farm.


My pictures this month were all taken on a study tour in Denmark a couple of weeks ago, the main purpose of which was to learn about biomass boilers, in other words, heating one’s home or workplace with crops, in our case grain, as I have discussed before in this column.  The horses were some very handsome individuals which I think are an ancient Jutland breed.  The wind turbines are everywhere in Denmark, just a few at a time, and considering what an energy hungry race we are in the western world, are a very small price to pay, considering they are not belching out invisible fumes, or damaging the atmosphere.  I challenge any of the nimbys out there to give me five good reasons why there should not be a wind turbine within one mile of (if not actually on the roof of) every house which uses electricity, because here are my five reasons why there should be:

  • They are a reminder that the power has to come from somewhere
  • They reduce the amount of carbon and pollution pumped into the atmosphere
  • They are a testament to man’s ingenuity to conjure something useful out of thin air
  • If owned co-operatively and locally they reduce the power of huge multinational companies
  • They are no uglier than pylons, telegraph poles, roads, road signs, and a good many existing buildings.

I would love to read some reaction to these comments in next month’s news.

Harvest will be upon us in a couple of weeks, and it always goes by in a rush and a haze of dust.  If Durweston inhabitants would like to visit a harvesting field whilst we are combining, I will be happy to organise a tractor and trailer ride on  Sunday 20th August, at 3.00pm if the weather is allowing us to work that day.  Pick up will be in the village hall carpark.  This trip will go ahead if I receive a minimum of six requests by phone by the Sunday before (13th August). There are of course many other opportunities to see harvesting in action on any sunny day in august, as there are several footpaths through the farm, and most of our fields are accessible from the road.  There may not be a View from the hill next month due to pressure of work!

Happy holidays

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