A stone’s throw away.

So the far side was recently ploughed. The far side (not the comic), is also referred to as the rough field. The hint is in the name. But what’s in a name? For it is less so now. OK, it’s not a lush green meadow with oddles of new grass, wild flowers and pretty butterflies dancing in the sunlight. But, it was a field of thick, deep rushes; old, open drains, buried fences, and a rough, and muddy road going through it.

Initially, the flail mower was taken to it. And repeated repeatedly as the reeds lost their strength and the mower could go lower and slowly creep further into the thick of it. The reeds were weakened, but were still holding the fort. And then a ‘Rush Management’ course was attended to and we held it to ransom. It’s full potential was suddenly seen so we upped the standards. A battle began (cue music from some epic film of warriors heading out at dawn to take back their land…). Well, more realistically, another coffee was swigged and the gloves and matic were embraced. Strategies were analysied (maybe looking more like a clip from Blackadder but we’ll skip that bit). Drains were inserted and then last year it was ploughed and seeded. The goal of an extra decent field was within our grasp.

And that goal? No it didn’t put out roots and give us that massive, lush meadow. No, the seeds got absolutely decimated by pigeons and probably pooped into someone else’s field and they ponder why they now have so many rogue turnips (we did plant turnips and not grass deliberately, it’s just harder to visualise a turnip field than lovely, long, lush grass). I don’t remember counting more than five piddily turnips at its maximum. In the end, for the winter, we got a good crop of thistles and it had unearth stone. Lots of stones.

Stones became the focus. They grew over winter. Little ones would appear. I’m sure they were looking at the reproductive cycle of rabbits. The de-stoning became a battle in itself. At first, with a fairly young micro Crofter and a mini crofter, the energy levels were not high. The sleep deprivation didn’t help with the va-va-voom. When rhe zip-a-de-do-da was there, it started off with several attempts being abandoned due to being completely midgiefied (anyone who has been to the Highlands will understand, and if the mid goes like you, well, abandon ship!). That problem eased right when we swiftly went to either too cold or too wet (superglue effect). I’m not coming up with lame excuses, honest. Each time the opportunity was seen, tried and soon retreated. Wet mud, frozen hands, stones cemented in. Multiple times, we would try to spend some time taking out stones. Because of the age of the mini crofters, usually only one of us went. Over time, and with help to watch the boys, several day trips were hosted. Spring appeared and the good weather was just perfect for stone picking. The boys slightly older. Trailer loads were removed before it had a bit of peace.

And then the man organised to plough it again was in contact, he would be back, and be back soon (see Rock Chick of the Century post).

The sudden thought of the field being seen with still some stones upped the tempo. And men may not be able to move mountains. But one woman can shift a fair few stones (within reason, I don’t see the point on getting people to throw objects at Olympics when there are achievable things with a purpose that you can utilise the energy for). Then two of us started at it. Two of us have shifted even more. The tractor and trailer were brought in on the action too. Mini Crofters were involved. Which sometimes paved the way for helping to get the work done, other times, less so.

Muck (from the byre which has been sitting there for quite a while) was spread before it got plough. Lime was spread a few days ago and then grass seed put in and rolled. None were just thrown out without reason. Soil test results showed us what was needed and calculated. Old clay drains were discovered which had over time become blocked, leading to the jungle. Since our initial attempted at getting on top of the rushes, we have seen more oyster catchers and curlews. There is also still the pheasants and pigeons but hopefully the grass will get going before they eat the seeds. And with that, we now wait for rain.