Wednesday September 8, 2004
A restless night in which uncomfortable temperatures and noise from night-time ploughing combined to make sleep an elusive bird, almost impossible to catch.
In my innocence I thought that late summer ploughing was done to avoid the heat of the day or, where shared cultivators were in use, to maximise the return on investment. I’m informed that I am only partly right on this. There is also a bit of new farming methodology involved, for it seems that many of the weed seeds in the fields fail to germinate if they are ploughed into the soil during the night, thus reducing the need for herbicides. Subsequent cultivation, when the freshly turned soil has been allowed to weather a bit, is done in daylight to catch those among the remaining weeds that don’t like being disturbed in the day. It’s a lovely idea, one that deserves to be true. It may be instead that my leg is being pulled. I could check easily enough but I’m happy in my ignorance so I’ll leave it be.
Whatever the reason, the fields are noisy places at night just now, with tractors and other machines coming out as soon as it’s dark and working away well into the small hours. And then, at first light, the gulls and crows come flocking in to clean up all the exposed bugs and other goodies. They don’t work in silence, either.
So, when I finally woke this morning, way past my normal hour, I felt heavy and lethargic, unwilling to do very much at all. Even less so when the mist cleared and the sun beat down on us once more, set fair to give us another hot, sunny day.
“What are you going to do today?” asked Graham.
“Sit in the shade with my book.”
“Fine. I’ll wake you in time to do lunch.”
It really is wonderful weather providing you can be idle, sit in the shade and enjoy it. And I’m quite good at doing that.