The sky is a clear luminous blue; cumulus clouds gather and stack in huge silent piles on the horizon. I can hear the wind gently rustling the leaves of sycamore, oak and ash in the shaggy hedgerow as I make my way up the southerly slope of our hay field, long fine grasses brushing my shins. Behind that is the steady drone of farm machinery as haymaking gets under way all around us. The breeze makes the tips of the inflorescences ripple and shimmer in the sun, their final tremble before the cut. Before this happens I’m looking out for spear thistle, which I want to pull before a fountain of tiny ...


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