In recent years we've noticed a change in the weather pattern, with our hot summer days now making a premature appearance at the end of May and early June, at least a month earlier than usual! Of course, as the saying goes, you can only make hay while the sun shines, but our problem is the fact that often our grass has not grown sufficiently by that time to take a cut, especially if we're waiting to get the full benefit from the application of expensive fertiliser.
This year we had all the machinery prepared and ready to take advantage of the recent good weather in early June to complete our silage harvest (where the grass isn't dried as much as hay before being wrapped in black plastic film) we also took the chance to make a lighter crop of hay on a small meadow that we deliberately hadn't fertilised. The powerful aromatic fragrance of the freshly made hay filled the barn with the scent of summer, and we're very thankful to have made a start to our harvest.
But now the weather has reverted back to our usual 'summer' experience, and rain has stopped hay making for now. So, we become obsessive weather watchers, looking for a settled spell of sunny, hot weather to cut the hay at the first opportunity before the grass (and docks & thistles) goes to seed and the hay deteriorates in quality and nutritional value.
We also have an eye on an uncut meadow where a curlew is nesting in the long grass incubating 4 eggs. Care will need to be taken when mowing that field to ensure the safety of the young curlew chicks who will be sheltering from predators in the standing grass for the next few weeks.
There's so much to consider and be aware of when farming in our beautiful countryside. Such a lot is out of our control and there's always something to surprise us every season. It's a constant reminder of how dependant we are on God's provision and care, and how fortunate we are at Caring For Life to not only share this lovely farm with our beneficiaries but to point to a faithful, loving God who makes the sun to shine and rain to fall and who notices even the birds of the field.
We're hoping and praying that the summer weather does arrive soon to enable the harvest and to lift our spirits.