Getting Out a Bit
My great grandfather believed that the best fertiliser was to be found on the soles of a farmer’s boots. On Tuesday I swapped house for paddock, and helped James with the feeding out. Just having an extra person takes an hour off a four hour job. The lucerne was short. The silage takes a bit of un-doing – all that non biodegradable plastic and fuel burning is a worry. We can pay to get the wraps recycled, which prompts a discussion about to what extent farmers must carry the cost of any environmental initiatives. Monday was spent with a film crew – the second in the past few months – making a video to promote the Meat and Livestock Association’s Climate Change program. James ran and juggled jobs to make the time to talk. I found my knife work quite therapeutic. Friends joked about pregnant women getting away with murder. I don’t know about getting away with it, but I have to admit that this hormone fuelled belly fire may well have enhanced my potential/capacity. On the up-side, feeding out can enhance soil quality – wastage rots back to the earth and the cattle fertilise the feeding patches with their manure and urine. So folks reckon it’s a good idea to put feed rings on patches that need a boost. I’ll be watching the way the pastures re-grow in these areas. And feeding-out gave me the opportunity to indulge two fetishes – John Deere and overalls. As kids growing up on a farm in South West Wales, we had a red Massey Fergusson tractor and we loved it. John Deeres were a distant dream. As a newly wed, I complained about cash and my husband pointed out that I was driving round in a big green and yellow machine. I had no comeback.
My Dad used to wear blue overalls to keep the muck at bay while he was dairy farming. When I bought a job-lot of heavily patched overalls a couple of years ago, there was family talk of Freudian attachments. For me, the attraction is the smell of fossil fuel, the beautiful range of blues, the boro-style patching, the way the scars in the fabric record the bodies and the working tasks of the previous owners…That job -lot has become pot holders, a quilt, lavender/diesel sachets, embroidered bomber jackets, a dress, trousers, rag balls…actual oil rags back in the tool shed…and now all the way around and back to my working uniform. Despite all the re-purposing and some bonfires, I still have overalls to last me a lifetime. The overalls were my first and last job lot, but I still regret not buying the pallet load of half rotted linen nurse’s wrap dresses. Maybe they’re still in Billy Toole’s bunker…. And,treat of treats, walking home through the grove between the road and our house, I noticed that the recent rain has brought out new growth in the nettles. After reading about cooking with nettles for the past two years, I am very very close to actually thinking about doing it. Didn’t think it would be possible in Autumn. I have been simultaneously craving green stuff and shuddering at the thought of spinach, kale or broccoli. This adds to the motivation. Stay tuned……