The Countryside About Us: August 1991

posted 25 Jul 2011, 07:58 by James Mansell
I rather suspect the “upside down” politics that now sadly go with our farming will, if only temporarily, be forgotten as once again harvest time gets well underway. The gathering in of crops be it rolling acres of wheat or buried acorns for winter use is a strong and basic instinct, obeyed by all levels of life,  from the smallest creatures of the fields and hedgerows to the pinnacle of it all, ourselves. We differ only in the harvesting techniques! Several decades have passed since the harvest wagons hauled the crops along white line free roads to stack yards. Now flashing amber lights precede green giants that harvest, at alarming rates, vast expanses of potential bread for us and feed for livestock.  Twenty   tons  of grain  passes you en route for the  grain stores,  in a discord of rattle and roar.  One man does the work it took 10 of our forefathers to accomplish.  Can you imagine their astonishment could they tread again our Parish roads this harvest time?

Yet, in spite of all the inevitable progress, much remains in our Suffolk fields and villages to keep our bond with those more peaceful years past.  Our roadsides seem to display a lot that would have coloured their journeys. Poppies, dog roses, purple vetch, yellow agrimony, bramble and thistles coloured our waysides then as now. I saw a “cloud” of small tortoiseshell butterflies making their erratic way over Saxtead Green, but you would not see them very well through the windscreen of your car travelling at 40 mph!

Have you ever considered replacing your bird table in the summertime, when birds are best left to fend for themselves, with a butterfly “table”?  Shallow containers of a sugary solution will attract a good variety of these ephemeral creatures and they will welcome your largesse.                                                                                              

Roger Sykes