The meadow has finished flowering and is now a sea of brown seed heads waving in the breeze. The tufted vetch pods have turned brown and are gently crackling like popcorn in the sun. Which means it’s time for the meadow’s annual haircut!
It’s not dry enough for hay but should make good haylage and likely more than the twenty large round bales we had last year: we’ll know in a couple of days.
It’s a bittersweet moment as it is a sure sign the summer is coming to an end. It’s also a bit of a surprise to any field voles and mice that have settled into the field: they’re going to find themselves a little exposed to any passing bird of prey.
A quick cut, a day in the sun then sixteen bales all wrapped up. Not as many as last year but not bad, and the meadow will get better and better as we cut and take away the hay each year.
It’s not always bucolic beauty at Tipton’s Croft. Here’s part of the field after completing some essential drainage work. We’ll take the opportunity to spread some more wildflower seeds on the bare ground and in six months time it will look even better than it did before.
A late season cut of hay from the meadow (so that the wildflowers have had a chance to seed). Only twenty bales this year, due to the dry spring but it’s good to have the field being productive as well as being an oasis for wildlife.
Or more specifically, haylage. 28 bales this time, three times as many as last year. Mixed feelings as we now have a bare field rather than a wildflower meadow, and it’s a sure sign summer is coming to an end.