Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Ploughing Time

It doesn’t take long to say, “Just got to plough the 5.5 hectare field’, but it takes ages to do, so that’s my excuse today for the lack of blogs.

I had one of those revelation moments the other day, it’s August and I’ve promised Regis the loan of my tractor for 4-6 weeks for the duration of the harvest. If the tractor is away for that long then I have to get all the tractor work done before it goes so I have a maximum of 2 weeks to plough the wheat field, top the new alpaca fields to cut down the thistles and give the grass a chance to grow and to cut my hay. Yes, the chain on the hay cutter has finally been fixed so hay is again a priority.

It doesn’t help that the temperature is in the high thirties and sitting in a glass cab tractor, even with the doors open is rather hot. G and I are ploughing in shifts; G is coping far worse with the heat than I am, (legacy of too many days spent in front of his computer screen barely seeing the light of day :-)), so he’s taking the cooler shifts. Each time we change over we take water from the fridge, the water we bring back isn’t warm, it’s hot, but we are both making sure we keep drinking.

I’ve been trying night ploughing, not too successfully, I now know which of the tractor lights work and which don’t. Needless to say, enough don’t, to make it difficult. The headlights are working interminably, a problem with connections I think. There is no lighting at the back but I think that’s because the wire to the rear spots has been cut. There is rather a lot of ‘odd’ wiring round the cab where things have been added and removed by previous owners so sorting that is another thing to add to the To Do list. The main problem with the night ploughing is the mosquitoes, midges, moths and beetles that swarm around the tractor once the lights are on. They make it really difficult to concentrate on watching where you are going despite covering myself with mossie repellent and shutting the door isn’t an option even at 10 pm. The spider in the top right hand corner of the cab is having a wonderful time and races round frantically repairing its web after all the insects have flown into it.

Picture below is the start of the ploughing; the field is an odd shape with a triangular piece at one side. Ploughing here entails a lot of turning the tractor round. I think we’re getting the hang of it, the field is looking good where we’ve ploughed and we are even getting the tractor up the field without it grinding to a halt too often. The soil across the field is very changeable, from shallow on top of clay to sandy. The weed/grass growth also stops the plough but we are learning very quickly to change the tractor speed, draft pressure and lift to get through the difficult bits. Still it takes time, as my plough is only 2 shears wide so really only ploughs a metre wide strip at a time.

1 comment:

aims said...

Ahh that famous old saying - make hay while the sun shines.

Guess you know why huh?

I wonder what the temperature was like back when that phrase was first coined....

btw - just finally figured out the chick pic....