Fields of Burnished Gold ...

Van Gogh's true colours exposed – the week in art | Art and design ...:  
Vincent van Gogh
 

All this unexpected summer sunshine is ripening the crops in the fields - nothing more beautiful than a field of golden corn waving in the breeze. I mounted my trusty steed and cycled down into the valley, all the while listening to the buzzards mewling above; catching the thermals and circling higher and higher.



The farmers have been busy working into the night to get the crops and hay gathered before the weather turns, dotted across the fields the black specks of  scavenging crows pecking around for fallen seed and grain.


Fields of Gold
Sting
You'll remember me when the west wind moves
Among the fields of barley
You can tell the sun in his jealous sky,
When we walked in fields of gold.

 


There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye
And it looks like it's climbin'
Clear up in the sky
 
 And then all the heavy machinery will come in; cutting and threshing; grain belching out from funnels into the wagons trundling behind; then the  baling machines gather up hay and straw into huge bales, wrapping them in black plastic, a blot on the countryside, and the harvest is complete for another year - the circle of the year keeps turning. 
 
  
"The whirr of the mower met us across the stubble, rabbits jumped like firecrackers about the fields, and the hay smelt crisp and sweet.  The farmer's men were all hard at work, raking, turning, and loading.  Tall, whiskered fellows forked the grass, their chests like bramble patches.  The air swung with their forks and the swathes took wind and rose like eagles to the tops of the wagons.  The farmer gave us a short fork each and we both pitched in with the rest ..."
(extract from Cider with Rosie, Laurie Lee)
 
gathering in the harvest, the traditional way c. 1900 
 
Haystack 1890 - a beautiful sight - expertly constructed
Haystack, c 1842., Talbot, William Henry Fox:  
Elaine

 


Comments

  1. That old haystack is amazing - such skill. A beautiful post Elaine (and I love your bicycle!).

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    1. Thank you Sue. Sadly, haystacks are a thing of the past, just those ugly round bales - although I am sure the farmers appreciate the progress.

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  2. A lovely post. The traditional harvest can often sound so romantic from history and fiction. Not so today, although from a distance, the fields do look a beautiful gold at the moment. I expect by the middle of next month it'll be machines and noise around here, and it won't do much for the wildlife in the fields (although it's lovely to see the geese coming in for a couple of days to pick through the stubble before the fields are ploughed again)

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    1. Thanks Wendy. I am sure I was born into the wrong period of time. I know that haymaking etc. was jolly hard work in the past, all manual labour, cutting the hay with scythes and using the horses; hand threshing etc. but it did seem that the countryside and the old ways were a better, if slower, way of doing things.

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  3. The buzzards are appearing again here tool

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    1. There five buzzards together - I couldn't see what I was doing when I took the picture; just held the camera up and hoped for the best :)

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  4. Oh Elaine, everything a post should be. Just glorious.

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    1. Why - thank you kindly Donna - the kind of post I enjoy putting together.

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  5. Another beautiful post Elaine. I recently found an old copy of Cider with Rosie and reread it. Very enjoyable

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    1. Thank you Judy. Cider with Rosie - I have read so many times - a beautifully written book and so evocative of the time it was written about.

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  6. Lovely post, and what a pretty bike you have.

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    1. Thanks Sarah - the bike was a gift to myself after my old one bit the dust.

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  7. A hot day, a bottle of squash, a few jam sandwiches and an apple each, scrumped from the Vicarage garden and we little gang of kids would head down to the fields where the harvest was being gathered in. A day's entertainment, watching the work going on, the rabbits and occasionally a fox running from the ever-smaller patch of corn in the centre of the field. Those were the days!

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    1. Sounds wonderful Rosie, just how childhood should be.

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  8. An enjoyable, and interesting, post with wonderful pictures. Flighty xx

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    1. Thanks Flighty - it's the sort of post I enjoy doing.

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  9. Such a lovely post. I've just been reading the July section of a book called Meadowland by John Lewis-Stemple and he ended up using an old fashioned scythe when his machine was broken. The descriptions of the process and the way he sectioned off areas which still had late nesting birds was wonderful. It is a lovely book and your post made me think back to it:)

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    1. Dear Rosie
      I have this book, sent to me by a blogging friend as she knows how much I love this kind of thing. I have yet to dip into July, as I have so many books to catch up with - but now you have reminded me, I will take it down from the book shelves and indulge myself for the afternoon :)

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  10. Gorgeous images of the countryside where you live and those wonderful fields of gold. Such a beautiful place to ride your bike!
    Have a lovely weekend. Ours is hot and humid and eating up all my energy!

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    1. At this time of year the fields all around are a wonderful patchwork of colour. Bicycle riding is such a pleasure but at the moment anything too strenuous in this heat is very wearying.

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  11. What a truly fantastic post.
    Thank you

    All the best Jan

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it Jan - it gave me such pleasure to write and photograph the things happening in our part of the country just now - happy to share it with you all.

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  12. Dear Elaine, this is a beautiful and heart-warming post! Fields with crops - unforgettable the long borders stitched with poppies, cornflowers and ox-eye daisies. And nowadays, tiny bliss, the farmers let a few of them grow again.

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    1. Thank you Britta - yes, the farmers do leave margins around the fields for wild flowers and wild life - it makes such a difference.

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  13. Ah Elaine - your countryside is so beautiful. The haystacks look different than ours. We too are seeing hay being made. In spite of the dry weather the farmers are busy. Loved seeing the old photos of hay gathering from the past. A very delightful post friend. So glad you shared. Have a lovely day. Hugs!

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    1. Here the farmers are busy because of the dry weather, an ideal time for making hay and getting it into the barns before the rains come back - they do work so hard, we can see the lights of the tractors trundling up and down the fields well into the night. Happy you enjoyed the post my friend.

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  14. I do love your bicycle, how I would love to travel the lanes on such a comfy looking bike. That is one of my favourite Sting songs and I love that book too. What an amazing haystack how can we think those ugly plastic covered things are an improvement (although strictly they are silage not hay ;))

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    1. It is a comfortable bike, a bit like sitting in an armchair. Although the heat of the day meant I hadn't the energy to go too far (I'm not as young as I once was) :)

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  15. That ever turning circle of the year is most comforting Elaine. Your photo of the harvest being gathered in the traditional way c.1900 bought to mind a photo I have which came from my father, who was a farmer's son. Dad was born in 1924 and the harvest was still gathered that way during his childhood. I will try and post a photo on my blog one of these days :)

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    1. My old next door neighbour had lived in this village all her life - and she told me stories of village life way back when. She could remember going gleaning the fields after the harvest, what corn they did find went to feeding their chickens. Look forward to seeing your photo of those times one day.

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  16. Excellent pictures
    http://shilpachandrasekheran.blogspot.in/2016/07/failure.html?m=1

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  17. Beautiful post! I thought the van Gogh was far-fetched until I saw the colour of your fields. Although the green sky may still be an exaggeration.
    I had forgotten hay stacks or "ricks", now it's all automated.
    Loved your choice of verse, too. I can sing both of those...
    All the best :)

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    1. Thanks Pat. Yes, not sure about the green sky either, shall we just say artistic licence :). I forgot the word hayride, I wonder what the difference is between stack and Rick, will have to check it out. I was hoping that the song verse would stick it so eone's head and they would be singing it all day. Have a good week, hope the weather holds.

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    2. That should have been hayrick not hayride , stupid autocorrect.

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  18. The strawstacks or ricks were part of my childhood, well into the 1970s and the farmworkers on our farm would thatch them at great speed so that the rain would run off and the skills they had were as good as those for thatching houses. They would walk up the ladders to the tops with bundles of broaches *(the sticks cut from the hedges) on their backs which would be knocked in with a mallet to hold the thatch in place. Unfortunately I have no photos because my brother has them all and I am no longer in contact with him.

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    1. I would have loved to see a hay/straw stack being made. A shame that those skills are no longer in use but I don't suppose the farm workers mind too much as the modern methods are far more quicker and convenient. Shame you still don't have the photos.

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  19. A beautiful post Elaine BUT !!!! ......... a sign that the year is beginning to run away from me as it always and naturally does every year ...... it all goes so quickly. My garden is slowly but surely going over a bit now and my lush green lawn is turning brown BUT !!! ....... there is still more warm weather left isn't there and more flowers to come out .... my hydrangeas are all flowering beautifully. XXXX

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    1. We still have more summer left to come I am sure. The gardens have suffered a bit during this hot spell, hopefully they will pick up after a nice bit of rain.

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  20. Lovely images. I was held up on my way home from Norfolk yesterday as a trailer being towed by a tractor had shed its load of straw bales all over the road!!!

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    1. Thanks Su. Oh dear, I bet that took some time to sort out.

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  21. Such a lovely post! I did enjoy it, I must take a few walks and see how our fields are getting on. I loved the passages and the golden field pictures are gorgeous, especially the one with the stalks in the foreground. That haystack certainly is a work of art!xxx

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    1. Thanks Dina. The fields at the moment are such a variety of colours, a real patchwork, the gold of the corn, green of the pasture and brown where they are turning the soil - everywhere I turn there is a picture waiting to be taken :)

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  22. This brought back such happy memories..although hard working memories... of my husband haying the fields when we lived in western Canada. Not big fields, but it was our first experience and the smell..so glorious. Thank you for that. You've written a lovely and beautiful post and I am grateful to have it to read today. x GB

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    1. Hello Bren
      Thanks for stopping by. Glad this post brought back happy memories for you. I too have worked in the hayfields, turning the hay by hand, with a pitchfork on sweltering hot days- praying that the rain wouldn't come so it could all be safely gathered in. And yes, the lovely sweet smell of the grasses drying - heaven.

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