LETTERS FROM THE COUNTRY: 1.
We have moved from the town to the countryside, to living in a mountain
village on the western edge of the Alps. We started our move on the first
day of June. After a wet and cold May the farmers were making the first
hay. To the visitor haymaking has a picturesque air. Now we are aware of
how much effort it consumes.
On the flat meadows of the valley bottom the grass can be cut by a large machine drawn by a tractor. On the slopes a smaller tractor must be used and this can become a dangerous activity. In awkward places a small mower is pushed and requires strength to turn. Then the cut grass must all be turned. Only older people are to be seen doing this by hand and they can work on slopes we would find difficult to walk on. The tractor passes again to pile the hay into ridges from which it can be picked up and taken for storage.
The may must be stored and the village resounds with the tractors
trundling to the haylofts. Then muck is spread over the meadows. The heaps
of straw from the byres must be liquified. The farmer is not content with
whatever plants will choose to grow but sews a selection of seeds then
rotates the meadows to a crop which can also be fed to the cows during
the long winter-times in the byres. The cows, the machinery, the feed must
all be housed. The houses are attached to the wooden structures needed.
|At the end of the day, if the sun is shining, you can sit outside
your house and admire the view, or you can go out and cut a patch of grass
and talk to passers-by.
email@example.com 18th July 2002