wheat growing in field

A Holiday at Home


We’ve been playing the waiting game at Slamseys. Waiting for the wheat to fully ripen. Waiting for the rain to stop. Then waiting for the sun to shine. Waiting for the wheat to dry. Waiting for harvest to start. But this afternoon, the wheat had been declared fit to combine and soon the yard will be busy with tractors and trailers as Harvest 2017 gets underway.


pages from Country Living magazine

There are still raspberries to pick for making raspberry gin but the bulk of the picking has been done, so the pressure is off. Incidentally, if you open the September issue of Country Living, you’ll find an article about Beth and her gin.

Meanwhile, other life at Slamseys has slowed down a little. The classes in the Yoga Studio and The Barley Barn are on a reduced summer holiday timetable and it feels as though everybody else is away on holiday.

For those of us staying at home for the summer, it’s easy to just carry on the same as normal. If we’re away then we change our routine and relax but doing that at home can make us feel guilty. Even more so when harvest is in full swing.

Luckily (for me and everybody else) I’m not called to jump on tractors to corn cart these days and my harvest job is to provide food and calm people down when tempers get frayed by mechanical or weather breakdowns. This summer I’ve decided that if I do the bare minimum in the office, I can keep the harvest workers fed and do all the running about that’s needed with time to ‘holiday at home’ as well.

When the children were young, we used to try new handicrafts and make art throughout the summer holidays and as I rather miss that, I’m hoping to have a creative summer holiday at home. In preparation, I’ve already made a new Gelatine plate for making monoprints with the summer plants and flowers as the old plates had been melted down and reformed so many times that I began to wonder if they were getting a little unhygienic. You can buy a ready-made plastic plate, but making your own is simple and you can make it in any shape or size using this recipe, which just involves a bit of heating, stirring and pouring. Ruth is also going to teach me how to make drypoint prints and I’m keen to experiment with some small scale screen printing.


Rebus postcard

Also in the Holiday at Home plan are some local walks and visits to nearby places that I haven’t visited for years. I think it will be rather fun to be a tourist in my home town.

STOP PRESS  Two hours into harvest and a tractor and trailer have sunk into the ground where a water main was laid earlier in the year.  Thankfully, they’ve been towed out now but I fear it will be the first of several stressful incidents.

15 thoughts on “A Holiday at Home

  1. Can’t think of anything nicer. The countryside is looking beautiful now although I was rather alarmed to find blackberries ripening yesterday. It feels awfully early! Small P xx

  2. Fascinating to read what you say about harvest as we (in Northumberland, so later than you) are still watching the grain ripen around us. We aren’t farmers, of course – just onlookers, but still feel deeply involved in the whole experience. That’s not surprising as the fields surround us with gold right now, and when harvest starts the noise and the smells and the busyness will be quite a change from our quiet usual lives. Here’s to a good harvest all round in 2017!

  3. Lovely country thoughts and images Anne! Country Living looks like a beautiful magazine. In Australia we have a magazine called Country Style, I suspect they might be similar. Well done Beth! Good luck with the harvest. These busy time can test the best of tempers cant they? I am sure your crew will be well fed.

  4. Hello new blogger friend. 🙂 We have Julie in common and she told me she would be visiting you after she visited me here in OXON. How lovely that we both got a chance to meet that wonderful girl, and how lovely your place sounds. I guess you have your work cut out for you just now. And especially since it’s been raining so much here and I imagine over there too. Where has the summer gone? Our blackberries are just coming and I’ve been having some in my breakfast every morning. Such a treat, isn’t it? I look forward to grabbing the Sept issue and reading your friend’s article. I’ve made sloe gin before but never raspberry gin. Hedgerow jam. I love making hedgerow jam. Anyway, I’m waffling. Off now to read a couple more of your blog posts.

    1. Welcome! It’s good to find new blogger friends through someone else isn’t it? At this time of year we’re particularly weather dependent and we’ve had a bit of rain but not as much as some places in the country. We’re hoping to get some wheat cut today but there’s a 50% chance of rain, so we’re being optimistic and hoping for the 50% dry.

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