Haystacks and thunderstorms

Day 9. 26 July 2004

Monday. I sleep well. Too well. My alarm goes off and sleep on through, waking eventually at five to six. Washing and dressing fast, thinking that I am the last one, I stumble out into the yard to get the tractor to the worksite to discover that it is the same for everyone else. A little later than scheduled we leave for the worksite, on a bright still morning, amongst a trailer load of volunteers who are still quiet and subdued with sleep.

Today, there is a reduced party on scything, for our cut hay must be raked in, stacked and gathered. I join in with the ranks of rakes and pitchforks, gathering the hay down from the furthest sides of the orchard to the central track. Working with Imre, we build a fine haystack some twelve feet high in time for breakfast.

After breakfast (which include peaches too!) I sap rake for pitchfork with Zoë and begin work on my own haystack. Not quite as refined and elegant as Imre’s, and with some slight structural difficulties that need to be overcome, it is still good. And after a water break at 10 o’clock I join Claire on the trailer to stamp down the hay as it is loaded.

Claire swaps with Louise and we are on top of the tractor for the rest of the morning. Laughing in the hay and trampling it down, it gets increasingly hard to see where tractor ends and orchard (and some nine feet of drop) begins. Our next water break is spent in the most relaxing of spots – on a bed of hay…

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