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.
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.
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.