Thursday, July 16, 2009

Making Hay




I just saw the photos up on the Transalpine Redemptorists' blog of their hay-making work. I had the immense pleasure of meeting them a few weeks ago when they made their Rome pilgrimage. They are just so very nice, and laughed at all my jokes. I told them that this video of Adam Nichols' visit had really made the rounds of the Traddosphere and had really lete everyone know about how great they are up there.

I left them this note on the blog.

I always think of the pictures in the Duc of Berry's Tres Riches Heures of the (rather well dressed) peasant women in the fields out turning the drying grass with their long wooden rakes.

The fields between my home in Santa Marinella and Rome where I work, have been a kind of pageant of agriculture as I go back and forth on the train every day. The fields in Lazio seem to get at least two or three crops of vegetables a year, with the second ploughing just having been finished. The big round hay bales have been sitting in the fields awaiting pick up for some time.

In early April all was green green green with grass and flourishing fields of Carcioffi (artichokes). Then one day, the mowers came out and suddenly there wasn't a carcioffi to be found in any Roman shop or restaurant. I'm looking forward to the second crop.

I think I might be the only person I know who watches the local agriculture the way some people watch television. It's diverting to know what's going on out there in what I like to think of as the 'real world' of the farmers. And there is something deeply comforting about seeing it all going on.

If the farmers are still out there ploughing, planting and harvesting, the world' can't be in that bad shape. Not yet, at least.


Everything that isn't being irrigated has gone golden. The fields of wheat are almost all harvested and the big hay bales are like a sudden population explosion of big round yellow dolmens. In the last couple of weeks, the fields are being turned over to expose the rich brown soil again. Ready for whatever comes next.

I'll have to get some more pics to compare and contrast.