By schorschi

Tractor Tuesday Christian

Another corker of a day, it getting over 33°C in middle and northern Germany. I didn't check our local temperature but it must have been between 25-30°C.

Morning walk with Luna around the very flat arable fields north of the village in the hope of seeing some tractors. Now that the ghastly maize is for the most part gone, one can now enjoy unspoilt wide views.

From afar saw Christian, a farmer from our village, was out and about but couldn't fathom out why he had a front mower and no grass collection trailer. He was so far away that I couldn't see he was on a harvested field rather than one of the few grass fields. His John Deere is very recognisable as it's the only one of that sort here.

Eventually, we got to the field and I was even more perplexed to see him mowing a harvested maize field! He pulled up and we had a short chat ... As I now tend to record my walks on a mobile phone app, I can tell you the chat lasted 36 minutes and 38 seconds! We put the world to rights or we would if anybody would listen to us.

Christian is a typical "small" farmer who can support a family (often 3 generations, but without any prospect of parking a brand new Fendt tractor next to a brand new Porsche Cayenne in his yard. He has given up dairy farming and concentrates on beef. Grass silage and hay are the major food but like so many, he is also "forced" to go the maize silage route. It's simply so easy - slurry, plough, sow, spray, contractor harvests, unload trailer in silage pit and cover. No hassle, no dirt from mice or other unwanted rubbish blown on to grass fields. But even he despairs at the agro-giants where he buys expensive seed that seems to, almost purposefully, contain weed seeds so that you have to buy and spray the same companies chemicals.

He put me out of my misery as to why he was mowing stubble. The field will be planted with barley next year, so he is cutting off the tops to kill off one of the forms of weevil that can overwinter and feed off the tops of the stubble.

We parted, Luna and I, accompanied throughout the walk ba a wonderful very friendly kite that I see now on the PC screen is flying in the background above the barn where the village Fest was held at the weekend. I understand there is another event this weekend but not sure what, perhaps private.

Back home was a treat to see the bees covered in pollen, continuing to have a field day with all the flowers. I am getting a bit concerned as they are taking much too long to polish off the sugar fondant I gave them, no doubt simply because there is so much of the real thing to be had. I need to do the second acid treatment against the varroa mite so long as the weather is warm and sunny. The forecast is good at least up until the weekend when it dips dramatically for a few days, sadly on the opening weekend of Munich's Oktoberfest with all its parades.

Finally, late afternoon with some threatening thunderstorm clouds brewing up, mowed one of our horse fields and tried where possible to avoid the mushrooms. I wish I knew what was edible but have never bothered to get into learning as a) Angie hates them b) there is still the thought that the radioactive fallout from Chernobyl, 32 years ago means mushrooms and wild boar are particularly questionable. Shot wild boars have by law to be tested before they can be sold as meat and still to this day regularly show excess radiation resulting in the carcasses being burnt.

Extras of the mushrooms and another of the flowers (grapes can just be seen bottom left) and my 1965 John Deere mowing efforts recorded by the now out of date GPS data communication system they used back then - I am working on linking it to the steering so that the ´tractor drives itself but the lack of servo steering is a small problem to be solved. The curious top line middle photo is the mowers bin which is hydraulically emptied and if required would dump the cut grass in a standard farm trailer. I dump it in a pile to use later as compost and the chickens who accompany me when mowing to get the disturbed insects, crickets etc, also enjoy scratching around on the compost.

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