( haymaking in hungary )

Lard Roast and Paper Making

Day 5. 22 July 2004

Thursday. Six o’clock, and I’m staggering bleary-eyed from my bed, to meet out in the yard as the tractor is loaded, and rubbing on suntan lotion. Scythes are loaded into a second, smaller trailer, hanging off the back of the larger trailer, that we clamber into, arranging ourselves on mats down each side, feet interlocking in the centre. In the fresh, early light of morning, we are driven through the yard, and up through the village. Past the little church, nestled amongst trees, we are at eye-level with the four clock faces, one on each side of the tower, and painted on at fixed but different times.

Time is an irrelevance in Gömörszőlős, why count the minutes when the hours look after themselves? Ducking occasionally to avoid the overhanging trees, we arrive at the organic orchard nestled to the side of a hill just a field away from the Slovakian border.

Tamas – Attila’s predecessor at the institute in Gömörszőlős – gives us a talk about the work we will be doing, the importance of cutting the hay the traditional way to preserve the biodiversity of wild flowers, and native orchids as well as nurturing the growth of young fruit trees. A tool talk follows, that firstly illustrates the correct way to work with and carry the pitch forks and the rakes. Then comes the scythes – and we’re not talking little garden sickles here, but proper Grim Reaper scythes, with full 3-foot blades on five or six-foot handles!…

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