Summer Poems : Haymaking
By Edward Thomas
Aftear night’s thunder far away had rolled
The fiery day had a kernel sweet of cold,
And in the perfect blue the clouds uncurled,
Like the first gods before they made the world
And misery, swimming the stormless sea
In beauty and in divine gaiety.
The smooth white empty road was lightly strewn
With leaves—the holly’s Autumn falls in June—
And fir cones standing stiff up in the heat.
The mill-foot water tumbled white and lit
With tossing crystals, happier than any crowd
Of children pouring out of school aloud.
And in the little thickets where a sleeper
For ever might lie lost, the nettle-creeper
And garden warbler sang unceasingly;
While over them shrill shrieked in his fierce glee
The swift with wings and tail as sharp and narrow
As if the bow had flown off with the arrow.
Only the scent of woodbine and hay new-mown
Travelled the road. In the field sloping down,
Park-like, to where its willows showed the brook,
Haymakers rested. The tosser lay forsook
Out in the sun; and the long waggon stood
Without its team, it seemed it never would
Move from the shadow of that single yew.
The team, as still, until their task was due,
Beside the labourers enjoyed the shade
That three squat oaks mid-field together made
Upon a circle of grass and weed uncut,
And on the hollow, once a chalk-pit, but
Now brimmed with nut and elder-flower so clean.
The men leaned on their rakes, about to begin,
But still. And all were silent. All was old,
This morning time, with a great age untold,
Older than Clare and Cobbett, Morland and Crome,
Than, at the field’s far edge, the farmer’s home,
A white house crouched at the foot of a great tree.
Under the heavens that know not what years be
The men, the beasts, the trees, the implements
Uttered even what they will in times far hence—
All of us gone out of the reach of change—
Immortal in a picture of an old grange.
Land Divided Into Farms
The land it was divided, into farms for cattle and sheep,
Some land they grew the corn, for the workers to keep,
Some they had wheat to sell, was taken to the mill,
Their stone ground for bread, the baker’s shop and his van to fill.
Some land it stayed in woodland, itself to regenerate,
As old ones fall and lets in light, young saplings they do await,
A long cycle of new to old, from the old forestation to new
Fenced all round now, and preserved for this nation.
The Hills above Grange in County Killkenny, offer some of the most stunning landscape views in the county, here you are looking across the boarder into county Tipperary.
The day I took the following images I had been walking for a little while when I took a rest at a gate, there is that moment in the county when you see some cows resting on a sunny morning and they spot you from a distance. It only take a little time before they all stand and walk over to the gate, I think they are wondering if your the farmer and it time for their feed. Sadly for them I was not and all I could do for them was take some pictures of them to share on WordPress 🙂 🙂
Ok , Today is more of a collection of images than one single image, to close the week 🙂
May and the local farms are getting busy, Irish farms are usually a little smaller than in Mainland Europe, so for some of the work a small tractor is still needed in order to work the smaller fields.
These images are a study of a little tractor most likely still used for many tasks around the farm over the next weeks of this busy month …..
Winters on a farm are a hard time of year, dealing with the weather and the cold, the dark evenings and early mornings. Life as a farmer must have many great moments but its not hard to imagine that there are less of these in the winter months than in the summer.
I took these images while out on a walk yesterday and as you can see, on this farm some of the cows are still out in the fields while some have been returned to their winter shed, soon all of them with be inside. In the Barn close by is stored some of the feed that will be used for the cattle over the next few months. In an area of the barn next to the feed is the farmers haybob that would have been used only a few weeks back to help get the hay bales ready.
The next few weeks are all about rest for the land and keeping the live stock warm and health in the sheds, life slows down and less work out in the fields is needed. While welcome in some ways you can imagine that this lack of activity can at times feel a little to slow but this is farm life.
Here in county Kilkenny each year you develop a great sense of the farming seasons and the activities that go along with them.
Over the Fence
I remember the giant field that was just a house away from my parents’ house and how I could tell what season it was by what it was being used for.
I remember how in the fall the field was used for corn and how in the spring it was used for alfalfa or cotton and how at the start of summer it was used for lazy sheep to graze and get fat.
I remember when there were no crops or livestock in the field and it was just dirt and tumbleweeds and how the desert wind picked up the earth in wild dust storms and dirt devils would race onto my street.
I remember venturing out with my brother, jelly jars in hand, to the center of the field and capturing tiny black and red lady bugs before sun down, just to compare who could catch more before our mother called us back for supper.
I remember how shocked I was when they put up a fence around the field with no trespassing signs posted and when I saw the giant earth movers roaring their engines trying to produce man made hills and lakes for a retirement community golf course.
I remember how mad I was that someone had taken away my refuge and how I took it out on the Porto potties every once and a while just to let out some frustrations.
I remember when the grass came in and the sidewalks were built how quickly I stopped being mad and how we bought frozen blocks of ice to sit on and slide down the grassy hills with on long summer days.
I remember skate boarding to a spot on the course overlooking a lake where I would listen to my music and watch as the wind passed through the trees and over the water creating tiny waves that moved from one side all the way to the other where I sat, escaping.
I remember the smell of the fresh cut grass and the cold sting of the unsuspected sprinklers and the duck families and the old people and the trees and the wide open sky at the edge of the city where storms could roll up or the stars could stretch out further than my eyes could see.
But most of all I remember how wonderful it was to have a place to escape to and ease my thoughts with only the blistering sun or the chilling winds of the changing seasons to keep me company.
Red Farm Tractor
Randolph L Wilson
I long for the smell of fresh turned soil , an experience I’ve never forgotten ..
The smell of diesel , oil and grease ..The ringing of harrow and bush hog …
My Liberty overalls and size ten clod hoppers , suede cowboy hat , pocket watch and Bloodhound tobacco ..
Bob White Quail walking the wood line waiting to
get their fill of turned ground morsels , grains and grasshoppers ..
Curious Whitetailed Deer hiding in the shadows , Redtailed Hawks
with a keen eye for field rats escaping the plow ..
A sixty two Massey Harris that ran like a’ Top ‘ through rain
and heat , never missing a beat !
My mind prays for the simple life of man and machine , the brushfires
of March , the restoration of God’s green earth ..
These late winters day have been full of early morning mist and fog, many of the farmers keep their animals enclosed in barns or walled yards at this time of year.
I came across this great scene last weekend while out walking in the mist , an old farm house and its yard used these days for this very function.
Kilkenny Cattle market, Thursday Morning 24th Oct.
I have just spent the last two Thursday mornings at the Cattle market in county Kilkenny building up some Gallery images and selling some cattle I invested in.
The market meets each Thursday Morning from around 9am, the sales provide one the most atmospheric locations to take images in and I just loved watching all the farmers selling or buying cattle.
I will keep returning over the next months as I hope to keep building on this portfolio of images, I will also post the best images I have so far during the coming weeks.