Ferme du Vieux Chêne

The rains forecast for most of the last weeks of June never really came. We had light rain on the 19th and again on the 30th but apart from some clouds, it was good farming weather almost all of the time and we were able to get on with some jobs for our neighbours. We put together enough funds to be able to afford a mower for the tractor. And that meant I was able to make the first grass harvest of our field…

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…It was the first time all the tools we’d been collecting were used together including the Windrower…

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…Then it was time to bale it all up. I collected an amazing 24 bales using the Claas Rollant…

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…and that was a full load for the Anderson trailer…

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…Fortunately it’s downhill all the way to the animal dealer because this is load is too heavy for our tractor. We will need to get a more powerful machine soon.

July was forecast to be dry and sunny and it stayed that way throughout. We were suddenly deluged with harvesting and cultivating jobs. Every morning we went to the farmers market to see what was on the board – Mark set up a spreadsheet on his tablet where he categorised the possible work as Will Do, Could Do and Won’t Do – Ploughing went straight in the Won’t Do’s 😉 We prioritised the harvesting jobs as these had the potential to give the best returns even though we’d have to borrow the equipment. I found myself driving some of the largest harvesters on the market and we worked late most days during the first week…

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In the middle of the month, there was a hay harvest to do for Jean Cuvier. We had all the tools we needed to do that except for a tedder. But, as we were going to want one of those for our own grass-work and had the cash in the bank at last, we decided to buy one. Then, having everything we needed, we accepted the contract on the basis of supplying our own tools for the first time since deciding to be farmers! Here I am turning over Jean’s wet grass to dry it for hay…

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We had one eye on our own field – if we wanted to plant a crop for next year’s harvest, we would need to have it ready to sow in August. The trouble was that we could see weeds sprouting in early July and I estimated that by the end of the month they’d be too large to plough in with the seeder. The cost of getting a sprayer was beyond our means, especially if we were going to equip it for selective spraying. We talked it through, decided to buy an Einböck weeder and took out the offending weeds in the middle of the month…

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…Now our field was ready for sowing and, as I said to Mark – “If we get any weeding jobs we can take them and get paid a lot better for using our own equipment!”

Having harvested the wheat crop earlier, I spent the last day of the month cultivating the field on the other side of the railway for Amelie Bourdon – one of the local heart throbs that Jean Cuvier had told me about…

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…That was a final ‘grind’ of a job to close out July and I was glad to get home. More so when I found that Mark had prepared a very special meal for us. He whipped out an ice bucket with a bottle of Champagne too – “Compliments of Monsieur Gerard… He says we must celebrate our first year as members of the Haut- Beyleron Farmers Cooperative!”

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