Harvest Home!

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Mike WindsorWe finished harvest yesterday just before lunchtime. By two o’clock were sitting in Cambridge crematorium to say goodbye and celebrate the life of Mike Windsor. As I sat there I realised that two harvests had been completed. Mike had been a gentle man, in all senses of the description. He was a ‘welcomer’: wherever he was , whatever he was doing, whoever he was with, he’d greet you with enthusiasm. I’m not going to go all holy, but if there is another room, one of the many people I would hope to see there would be Mike. Harvest is done…

The fields are dustless and silent,
The combine harvester’s not there,
The crops are safely in the barn,
Thoughts now turn elsewhere.

Rows of silent mourners,
Under that sad-place’s dome,
Where people also gather,
To celebrate “harvest home”.

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Beans and Bindweed!

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Beans 1Last night I had hoped to finish harvest. However at 10.30 the combine rolled back to the farm, mission unaccomplished. There was a patch of beans that was covered in bindweed. This is a weed from the past, it used to dramatically slow down the combine’s progress through wheat until a chemical was found to consign it to the history books. It is now only occasionally found in beans, and we found it last night…

Beans,
Beans,
Good for the heart!
Bindweed stops you,
Before you start!
If the sun shines,
Brightly today,
Then we’ll bean finished!
Hip! Hip! Hooray!
Beans 2 I wish to apologise for the quality of this morning’s verse, complaints can be sent to: Dept of Poor Quality Verse, London SW1 6GAG!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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When I was a lad…!

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“When I was a lad!” How I used to hate that phrase when I was young, as it always preceded a rant by some old fart about how the summers were warmer, the sky was bluer etc. ad nauseam. Now I am an old fart myself I have found myself wanting to do just that, so here goes…

780 specialWhen I was a lad…
harvest would take a fortnight,
three weeks if wet.
Alan Hughes would bring his combine,
a Massey Harris 780 special,
with an eight foot cut.
It traveled at a funereal pace,
so much so
that it was often
overtaken by a narcoleptic snail!
At around seven in the evening,
before he went home,
he would drink
a small bottle,
of cider (he didn’t like beer!)
to ‘lay the dust’!
The trailer would bring a ton,
of wheat to the farm
at a time,
which would be stored in bags.

JD2013This year, wheat and oat harvest
has taken just
twenty-four hours,
and beans eight hours
(so far, with another two hours to go!)
James brings his combine,
a John Deere 9780 CTS
with a twenty-four foot cut.
A decent jog is required
to keep up
with its forward progress
through the crop.
At around midnight
(or later if rain threatens)
the powerful floodlights,
return the surroundings to darkness,
and with a wave
James goes home..
The trailer brings seventeen tons,
up to the store,
and with a hiss of air brakes,
dumps the load
at the doorstep of my domain,
and dashes back for more,
leaving me to ‘cheat-shovel’
with the JCB bucket,
until it has disappeared
into the shed!
LoadThat is called ‘progress’!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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A Day to Remember

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D SurfYesterday would have been my son David’s 33rd birthday. When he was killed, ten years ago last February, some said, “Time is a great healer“, I only wish it were so.
As the world he knew grows ever-distant, his absence results in an ever greater number of unanswerable questions about how his life would have been. On a mundane level it seems almost unbelievable that he never handled an iPod, let alone a smart phone. He never knew that London was awarded the Olympics or saw their fruition. These are but two, I’m sure that with a little thought one could easily add many more inventions or events that have changed in that short time.
In ten years the world has advanced beyond recognition, yet, as his father, the most striking difference has been his absence.
Most societies acknowledge the role of a mother in grief. In many parts of the world little old ladies wear nothing but black, show public tears and are often seen wailing in grief.
As a father, it is my perceived role to carry the family forward. However, as any grieving father knows, it is often family and close friends that not only carry him, but give him the will just to survive day to day. Pity the grieving father cut off from his kin.
Yesterday, my wife and I hid ourselves away, as we do for all painful anniversaries. The morning was bright and sunny but for all we cared the day could have been night. Without any warning we suddenly had guests. The unexpected appearance of David’s beloved sister and the niece he never knew (yet shows a few of his traits and mannerisms), was beyond description. That it ever happened and wasn’t just part of a wonderful dream or movie still leaves me breathless. Instead of having a day of mourning we had the sort of day that not only David would have truly loved, but a day that fully honoured his memory.
Time may never heal, but family and friends can make life worth living.

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above

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Bank Holiday Weather!

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Old Man FishingIt has been a terrible Bank Holiday weather-wise. Torrential rain has upset family plans all across the country and made people question why they didn’t just stay at home! For the first time in over six years we had to cancel a boot sale as the rain tipped down on Saturday morning. However some people just made the most of it…

Dear old Bob sits on his own,
Fishing gets him out of home.
Bank Holiday Saturday pouring rain,
Bank Holiday Sunday raining again,
Holiday Monday finally come,
He’s surprised to see the sun!
So he sits at last and gets his wish,
The only thing wet on the river are fish!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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The Proud Indian Runner Mum!

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Five ChicksWe have a group of ‘Indian Runner’ ducks, purely ornamental but with great characters. They live on a small pond in the corner of the wood. A few days ago one of them waddled into the farmyard with a surprise…

One Indian Runner,
Five little chicks,
Now under a heat lamp,
(started off as six).
For the last five years,
No chicks have been hatched,
Suddenly late summer,
That record has been scratched!
One proud mother,
Of whom we’re rather fond,
Will soon take her family swimming,
On the woodland pond!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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Ron Middleton and the Harvest Rabbit!

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Ron Rabbit1As I was watching oats into the grain store yesterday, I was joined by an old friend. Mick and I go back over thirty years, and as happens when two old farts get together, we reminisced. Years ago the combine harvesters were smaller, harvest was a more drawn-out affair and the fields were alive with rabbits. We spoke of dear old Ron Middleton, and how during harvest he used to walk alongside the combine hoping to bag a rabbit or two for the pot…

Like a slightly arthritic,
Elma Fudd,
Ron walks beside the combine,
Waiting for a rabbit,
To show itself.
Tommy,
(Who used to drive the harvester),
Toots his horn,
To announce a sighting.
Ron steadies himself,
Raises the shotgun in anticipation,
And slides the safety catch to ‘off’.
The rabbit shows itself,
In front of the hungry machine,
Hoppity hoppity hop!
Bang!
Bang!
The rabbit looks around,
Its ears erect,
Dirt,
Straw and chaff,
Spray the area.
With resignation,
And a shrug of its rabbit shoulder,
The rabbit vanishes into the hedge!
For the next five minutes,
Old Ron,
Searches the long grass,
For a result,
That never was!
On the far side of the hedge,
The rabbit,
Unaware if this frantic activity,
Is on its way home,
For tea!
Hoppity hoppity hop!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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How to Handle the Stress of World Markets!

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Grain heapEvery profession has its stress-points and problems, particularly in these uncertain times. Farming is no different. The price of grain rises and falls like the tide. News of French and Baltic wheat arriving at UK ports is enough to instantly remove £3/tonne from the wheat price. Likewise rumours of not enough rain in the Midwest of the US or extra demand from the Chinese can counteract this fall by the end of the trading day! Add to that the fact that we are harvesting crops planned in June 2012 and planted last September. The effects of the weather and idiot politicians since then play a part, and it becomes clear why there are so many anxious farmers at this time of year! However amid the dust and uncertainty of harvest appears something that, for me, immediately puts it all into context…

Some things in life are a nuisance,
Some things in life are a pain!
but none can be bettered,
Than a grandchild unfettered,
Sitting on a large heap of grain!
Grain Child© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
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Eating Dust!

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Dust 1Yesterday I decided to harvest wheat rather than oats, the positioning of the fields made it easier. However I hadn’t reckoned on there being quite so much dust. So now we are racing through the wheat (as much as I can see through the clouds of dust!). I am not complaining as harvest is just the most wonderful time on a farm (when it’s going well!)…
Dust 2I’ve been working all day in the dust,
My job description says I must!
If I were Andean I’d eat llama,
But here it’s dust because I’m a farmer!
Everyone else has air conditioning,
I don’t have it because of my positioning!
I’m in the store shovelling wheat,
And dust is all I have to eat!
So every trailer load I see,
Brings more dust just for me!
Dust 3© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
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Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: baldockbard(at)u-boot.co.uk
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The Start of Harvest?

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Oats 13The weather forecast is good and the crops are ripe. Despite the usual last-minute panic (on my part), it looks like there is a good chance that we’ll start harvesting today. Others have been at it for what seems like ages, however it’s not a race to be won (apart from against the weather!) as different areas have different ripening times. We farm heavy clay soil which retains moisture and so are later harvesters than chalk and sandy soils. So our countdown is nearly over…

We hope to get the combine out,
Later on today,
We’ll all dash around,
Like maniacs at play!
We hope that the sun will shine,
We hope it will be fine,
I think we may cut the oats,
with the green combine!
It happens every year,
We’re lucky in that way,
We can announce:
Harvest starts today!

© Baldock Bard 2013
For more verse click on ‘Home’ above


The Baldock Boot Sale is open every Saturday at 7am
Twenty-one years and still selling!
FREE parking and entry for all buyers, princesses, dogs and aliens!
www.u-boot.co.uk
Facebook
: Baldock Bard
Twitter: @baldockbard
E-mail: baldockbard(at)u-boot.co.uk
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