Friday, 22 August 2008

The Field Adjacent To Barleycorn

From the back garden at Barleycorn, we look across to the large expanse of the adjacent farmer's field. At one end there is an evergreen wood which borders the busy B road running past our house.
On atmospheric, misty mornings in Spring, eerie sounds echo across the field from the heronry in the wood. Herons are by far the largest birds ever to appear in any garden...especially those which have our frogs know to their cost.
After harvest last year, the farmer sowed a crop of Winter barley, as opposed to the strain of barley normally sown in Spring. It survived under the blanket of snow we had in March.
In the month of May the stalks were lush and green and wonderful to look at through the tracery of our three silver birch trees. We leave this area free of planting to observe the progress of the crop, from first sowing to harvest.

In June, the heads of barley were clearly showing...and so were a few poppy heads from our garden. Nettle, creeping thistle, couch grass and goose grass seeds find their way into our garden each year.They are blown across the windswept landscape..and, this year, the opposite happened. Poppy seeds had been blown across from our garden onto the margin of the field.
I must say, I thought it added to the overall beauty of the field, with its maturing crop, and took me down Memory Lane to the days, when, as a child, it was a common sight to find poppies, cornflowers and marigolds growing along the margins of the fields.
When the crop was golden, just prior to harvesting, flocks of sparrows gorged themselves on the seedheads each day.
Every night flocks of sparrows fly in to roost in the eaves of our barn, which is adjacent to the barley field. The sparrows must have felt it was manna from heaven having food and shelter in abundance.
For me, it was another photo opportunity, as I love everything in Nature, from the humble sparrow to the colourful 'weeds of the field', which first whetted my interest in plants.
I am not sure how the farmer regarded the border of Shirley and peony poppies along his field. But, as I have tolerated his ' field weeds' with patience, I hope he didn't mind a few of my poppies.
Although we have had a great deal of rain this month causing many floods, and our local river to burst its banks on several occasions, there was one day dry enough, early in the month, for harvesting the barley.
Before nightfall, however, when the farmer had just begun to make his 'roly polies', the rain came down yet again..and, so the straw is still waiting to be rolled into circular bales.
Wind through the barley,
The song of the breeze,
Ephemeral poppies,
The tracery of trees,
Barleycorn - Magic!
A feast for the eyes.
Our little corner of paradise


Jeanne said...

Beautiful my lovely friend.
Do take good care.
Love you

Sally said...

Very cool, W.G. It's nice to see something other than field corn and soybeans. Is this the only crop he grows? And does he have other fields where he grows other types of crops? And can you tell I'm a farm girl? LOL Thanks for sharing.

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Glad you liked the post, dear Jeanne. Happy holidays :)

* Barley is the main crop around these pasts, Sally, though there are a few fields of potatoes; turnips mainly grown by sheep farmers to feed their sheep; and fields with clover/meadow silage for cattle feed.

Wheat is generally not grown hereabouts as it's too wet. On the east coast of Scotland, around Fife, wheat is grown; or in the Cambridge area of England where it's drier and warmer.

Fields of cabbages, beets, sweetcorn, carrots are mainly seen south of the border, in England...only a handful, so to speak, of fields will have those crops here.

Lettuces, tomatoes, peppers etc are mainly grown in poly-tunnels, though individual gardeners grow all these in their greenhouses or their veggie plots.

The farmers round here either grow barley and beets for their cattle...or they have sheep or beef cattle or dairy herds. A few farmers grow veggies organically, which we pay more for...and we can place orders for 'mixed boxes' of 'whatever is in season'.

I used to have a resonable-sized veggie plot when I was younger. It had rows of potaoes, peas, carrots, lettuces, radishes, beans etc.

Now I grow strawberries, raspberries and lots of herbs and salad plants. I buy locally grown potatoes and veggies when they are in season.

SandyCarlson said...

These are very beautiful. The first shot blows me out of the water!

Cheryl said...

Dear wildlife gardener....firstly I hope your heart is healing....

What a lovely post....seeing the poppies took me back to childhood and all the pretty wildflowers that would be amongst the crops. Sadly a thing of the past....but I felt happiness to know your lovely flowers were spreading into the farmers field......

My local farmer filled in one of the wildlife ponds, in his field.....he did not check for wildlife has made me very sad........

Chandramouli S said...

Nice poem! :) And how beautiful those poppies are! Wow! None of my poppies seeds germinated - 0 germination! :( I'll not give up though. Will try it next year - I love those flowers.
And sparrows are my favorite birds. I never get tired of their chirping. Especially in the morning, but sadly in the city I live in, they almost became endangered species.

Sally said...

Hey W.G. - thanks for the info. It's interesting knowing what is grown in other parts of the world. Around here it's field corn and soy beans for as far as the eye can see.

What's the matter with your heart? You having health problems?! You take care of yourself. I want to visit barleycorn for many, many more years!

farmingfriends said...

What a fantastic collection of photos. i love the sparrows flying above the field.
Sara from farmingfriends

joey said...

No one weaves a story more lovely than you. Deep love for nature and your beautiful Barleycorn is haunting ... and that is why we must all return.

Ruth Welter said...

Just so beautiful WG and I love your bumble bees from the below post as well.

Barbara said...

It's so nice to see you're posting again and I hope you're fine. We also live next to a field, actually it became a sheep meadow. Your pictures with the red poppies are beautiful. I love poppies!
Have a good time,

Marie said...

What a beautiful corner of paradise :)

Kathleen said...

Enjoyed your post as I always do. I think the poppies in the barley field are gorgeous (not sure what your farmer thinks??) Such stark contrast to each other. I love that you captured the field in every season too. It looks pretty in no matter the time of year.

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon and welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Thank you, dear Sandy. The field is beautiful in all seasons :)

* My heart is healing slowly, dear Cheryl. Life ...and the garden...are not the same without dear Monstie, but I comfort myself with the thought that he is not in pain and had a happy life when he was with us, as we gave him lashings of TLC :)

Do you know, Cheryl, our local farmer has made several attempts at draining the artesian well, which is behind our house in the field. He never considered the wildlife or anything.

But, we watched the frogs hopping over to our ponds..and my heart skipped for joy that I had inadvertently saved the wildlife!

Every few years when we have masses of rain, the well fills up slowly...but as the farmer has made several attempts now, the water dissipates quickly...whereas when we first came here, nearly 18 years ago, there used to be a pair of mute swans doing their 'ballet' where they finally made a heart with their beaks...which appealed to the romantic in me :)

* Dear Chandramouli, the way to have success with your poppy seeds is to sow them as Nature does....

Each Autumn when the seed is ripe, I shake the pepperpots around the garden and gently press the seed on top of the soil. The wind, and rain and sunshine take care of the rest.

When I sow them in March in the Springtime, they are not so, copy Nature for better success :)

* Dear Sally, my heart is ok, thank you. Dear Cheryl was referring to the sadness and loss I feel after losing my dear cat Monster (two posts back has the story of all he meant to me, and the part he played at Barleycorn) :)

* Thanks, Sara. i love the humble sparrows too :)

* You say wonderful things to me, dear Joey. Thank you so much :)

* Thanks for stopping by, dear Ruth. I love your visits to me and to the garden :)

* I love your beautiful flower meadow, Barbara, and the wonderful photos you share with us :)

* Hello, Marie. Glad to see you again. We may not speak much of each other's language, but I love our common bond of friendship across the miles :)

* The open expanse of the field is wonderful to look out onto, Kathleen. It has a beauty of its own in every season :)


SandyCarlson said...

Thanks for stopping by today and leaving such a lovely comment.

Laurie and Chris said...

What great pictures. You have wonderful view every season.

linda may said...

G'Day, It looks lovely over in barleycorn, still warm and sunny I hope. Enjoy it while you watch the seasons change. Around here there is not much agriculture. A very few sheep and horses grazing. But on the outskirts of town there are vineyards and boutique wine makers.
Where I lived in Junee there as sheep, cattle & trotting studs, wheat, oats, canola, stuff like that and vineyards. I love your weather vane. Suits the scene.

A wildlife gardener said...

A warm welcome to one and all :)

* Always a pleasure to visit you, dear Sandy :)

* We love the openness of the field, Laurie and Chris. Thanks for stopping by :)

* We are right in the heart of the countryside, Linda May, so lots to observe each season, though far too wet and cold for vineyards. We do have friends who grow vines successfully in their cold greenhouse though. Glad you like the weather vane :)

Deb said...

Beautiful post! I can see why you call it your "little corner of paradise". I love your field of Sparrows :-)

Sunita said...

Lovely photos! I love the vibrant poppies against the backdrop of the ripening barley. It looks like something out of a painting (or maybe its the reverse!)
Hmmm.... would poppies grow in hot, humid, tropical India?

JeannieTheDreamer said...

i love it, i love your paradise.

swallowtail said...

I think this is the most beautiful and thoughtful blog yet! I too, love bumblebees and all things outdoors, including flowers and plants who wander.

Thank you for a peek at your world.


Libbys Blog said...

You live in such a beautiful area. It must be lovely watching the seasons pass. Thank you for sharing this with us!

shirl said...

Hi there Wildlife Gardener :-)

How nice to get an image of how your garden fits in with the coutryside. Barleycorn is the perfect name for your garden :-D

It must be wonderful to look out on to the field to see the house sparrows feeding. Also knowing there are millions of tiny wildlife in the field too must make you smile :-D

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, Everyone, and a warm welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Lovely to make your acquaintance, Deb :) Glad you liked the sparrows in the barley :)

* Welcome, Sunita, to our garden at Barleycorn :) I do not know the answer to your question about the red poppies, but I do know that the opium poppies grow in India...and their petals are the same as the red ones except in colour. They are in mauve and purple colours instead. I grow these ones too, though not for the opium, I hasten to add :)

* Lovely to have your company, Jeannie, in our little corner of paradise :)

* Thank you for introducing yourself, Swallowtail. It's great to meet a fellow nature lover :)

* Dear Libby, you are so right :) I love the changes the seasons bring and could never imagine living in a country where there are less than four distinct seasons :)

* When we first came here, Shirl, the house, with its straw-thatch bricks, nestled in the dip with the barley field behind...and I remembered the old word for grain...the barleycorn...and decided that for the name of our house. The field, in all seasons, brings us lots of wildlife to watch...and they stop off here to rest awhile on the trees and shrubs, to bathe and quench their thirst in the ponds and to feed at the nectar bar...and some even stay and make Barleycorn their home :)

Sunita said...

Okay, I think thats my answer. Poppies wont survive my 36-38*C summers I think. As far as I know the opium poppies grow high up in the Himalayan regions.
Actually I didnt even know your poppies are different from the opium poppies.
BTW, did you know that we use poppy seeds in our Indian curries? My daughter was shocked .... she thought I was becoming a drug addict!

A wildlife gardener said...

* Welcome back, Sunita....lovely to have your company :)

To give them their botanical name, the common red poppies are called papaver rhoeas. They have little seedheads. The opium poppies, by contrast, are called papaver somniferum (the sleep-inducing poppy) and come in a variety of shades from white to red to mauve and purple. Their pepperpots are very large and they also have larger petals.

We can sprinkle the seeds on top of bread dough. I grow both types of poppy, plus the very large-headed Oriental poppies. Every few years in Autumn, I collect the various seeds and store them in packets to sell for church funds.

I would not be not able to send them abroad because the sniffer dogs might imagine they are opium...and I would be in real trouble. I only grow them for their intrinsic beauty :)

kari and kijsa said...

Thank you for all your prayers and blessings!
Have a wonderful Labor Day,
kari & kijsa

A wildlife gardener said...

* Lovely to have your company in the garden today, Kari & Kijsa. Blessings to you both :)

Sheila said...

It is a treat to see your garden through the seasons.
I love the poppies, I've always felt that grain fields and poppies go together so well, even if the farmer doesn't agree.

A wildlife gardener said...

* Wonderful to have your company today, dear Sheila. I'm so glad you are back blogging again :)

I love the poppies in the barley too. We have had so much rain in August, the chaff is still lying on the we are enjoying watching all the birds eating the fallen seed...and soon, we'll have the greylag geese too :)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous i love your photos your poems and your spirit!

A wildlife gardener said...

* Dear Becky, you cheer me up every time you make a comment. Thank you, my Dear :)

Miranda Bell said...

I love these pictures - poppies and corn and the sense of harvest time is beautiful... but what happened to our summer? Hope all's going well with you... will visit again soon Miranda

Blackswamp_Girl said...

The poppies in front of the field of bleached out seedheads are amazingly beautiful... but I really like the June picture the best for some reason. Maybe I just need something fresh-looking right now is all. :)

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning and welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Lovely to see you again, Miranda. The harvest is always a beautiful time of year. Maybe we will be having an Indian summer, Miranda :)

* Great to have your company too, Blackswamp Girl. I agree about the freshness of the field in june, but seed-time and harvest are essential to the circle of life too :)

The Garden Faerie said...

The photos of the bright, vibrant poppy and the calm, beige barley background are awesome! (And I still like the bee's bottom in the last entry!!)
~ Monica

Elzie said...

You can hardly believe that it's the same world on the pictures. So nice to see them
Hope you have a nice evening.
Love Elzie

G3T Films said...

It reminds me of where I grew up. Except it was Lucerne Hay in the field... and the field was in Australia.

Very beautiful.

Border Reiver said...

I'm sad to have missed this posting for nearly a month, a wonderful review of "your" field. The poppy views in particular are wonderful, though the whole posting is a treasure to read

Q said...

So very lovely. These pictures are beautiful. I love the poppies in the ripe barley field. The reds and the tans are exquiste.
I am enjoying catching up with you this afternnon.
A lovely post.
Thank you,

Libbys Blog said...

Hope you and your family are well, its been awhile since you posted. This is just to let you know I'm thinking of you!

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B.T.Bear (esq.) said...

WOW! Those are great photo's! I really like the ones of the birds!!!

bondbloke said...

Now I have found you I will be back to read more of your interesting post, and to enjoy your wonderful photos...

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

I just found you through a link on the Photogenic Scotland blog. What beautiful photos you take! I will be back to enjoy the lovely views of God's creation you feature, and see a bit of Scotland. Here, my bit of Scotland is in the wee Shetland sheep I raise, and the name I give our little plot of ground - Boulderneigh.

Miranda Bell said...

Just thought I'd pop over and see what's happening in your neck of the woods so to speak and can only conclude that you have a busier life than me!! It never ceases to amaze me as to how people have so much time during the year for blogging - I don't think I managed a posting during September at all... drizzling with rain outside today so a good time to catch up with indoor jobs - do hope you're doing well and that you've had a good year with all your projects - will be sowing the seeds you kindly sent v. soon - best wishes Miranda

A wildlife gardener said...

Welcome, Everyone, to the garden at Barleycorn. When you read the next post you will find out why I have been so long in replying to you all :)

* A warm welcome, Garden Faerie :) I love furry little bees too :)

* Thank you for introducing yourself, Elzie. Lovely to meet you :)

* Great to see you again, G3T Films :) Harvest is a wonderful time of year and I'm sure Australian harvests are very beautiful :)

* Hi, Border Reiver! Great to have your company :) Thanks for the compliments :)

* Talking of catching up, Sherry...I have LOTS to do :) Thanks for the lovely comments :)

* Dear Libby, I've missed you all too :)

* A warm welcome to you, Andy. Lovely to make your acquaintance :) I will pop over to visit you as soon as I can :)

* Lovely to meet you too, Learn Chinese. I am needing to do just that as my daughter-in-law is Chinese :)

* I am so pleased to see you, B.T. Bear (esq) :) I have missed you too :)

* I feel so spoiled with so many new visitors. A warm welcome to you too, blondbloke :)

* Well, Michelle, my grandparents came from Orkney, so I have a fair idea about your part of the world :) It's great to meet you :) I like your choice of name for your plot :)

* Hey, Miranda! I hope you have great success with those seeds :) Thanks for showing concern. A long succession of events has prevented me from blogging...but, I hope to be back into Blogland very soon... :)

guild-rez said...

I am very pleased to hear from you.
Wish you a very Merry Christmas!!
May you have the gladness of Christmas which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas which is peace;
The heart of Christmas which is love.

- Cheers Gisela

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