caralockhartsmith

stories and illustration

The Lees in April

 

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Walking by the Leet I could see above me the big expanse of farmland known as the Lees was edged with a crowd of vehicles, first of all I thought it might be travellers, or some local event, but it was an army of farm vehicles rented to turn over the soil and seed the field. I went walking past today but refrained from photographing them as I thought it would be invasive.  As I left the field the machines themselves were leaving, preceded by a van, which parked right in the middle of the access road to block it, so that the big machine could come up it impeded.  I had to run, looking over my shoulder, to make sure I was out of the way.  It made a great noise as it then slowly manouevred itself out into the main road on its way to wherever. I have total respect for drivers of these monsters – massif as they say in Jamaica. The  lines on the field are rather extrordinary.  The delicacy of them.  I remember the great muddy clods of yesteryear. I was out for a short walk with the small camera, but maybe over the next few days I will try and get some pictures of the feeding birdswith a more powerful zoom.  They are canny, crows, they know just how close they are not going to let you get.

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April 17, 2014 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Harvesting 2013 Harvesting 1940 (Artist’s Impression)

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Great machines are shouldering their way down the narrow border roads at this time of year, their sound heralded by what seems a shaking of the earth. I am walking through the little wood above the barley field next to the Tweed, and I think I see rain on the horizon, which is strange because it is a fine day, if cloudy.  Then I think it is smoke, like when that ambulance caught fire last year due to an electrical fault, the heavy dark smoke of which I could see over the horizon.  But this smoke is a fawn colour, and as I continue down the path I hear a thunder of machinery, which make me feel insecure, as this is a tiny path. Though reason tells me, yes, it is a tiny path.  You won’t get machines down here.  Then as I come past the copse where the rabbits run, and the long tailed tits hang out, chittering like truants, a large machine comes cruising noisily down on the other side of the hedge, and I cotton on that the harvesting of these fields has begin:

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There are different machines in the field. The crop is cut in wide swathes. The source of the smoke (or dust clouds) is the big machine on the other side of the field. The Main Machine:

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As I walk down the path I look down at the still unharvested barley field below, where the heads of the barley, when I walked there yesterday, were heavy and hanging, no longer swaying in the wind:

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August is turning towards September, and scarcely any flowers remain, only the husks and seeds of flowers:

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The big machine is turning back towards where I am, having cut the top line of the field. I decide to try and take a picture of it as it approaches. As I hear its rumble coming towards me, a black dog runs up behind me, and a small rabbit runs across the path, scared of the dog (which doesn’t notice it) and me. Hopefully the very small rabbit will scuttle way from the approaching machine as well, or turn down the small patch of undergrowth between the field and the path. The machine approaches, and I lean out and watch it:

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Walking on down through the high path I come out on the lane which leads back up to the road.  I see tracks on this lane that stretch from one side to the other, and So I listen hard, because I do not want to meet one of these giant machines coming towards or behind me, as there would be nowhere to escape. Back out on the road, I look back at the half-reaped field:harvest19

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It really does feel like the turning of the year.  Quite by chance I see in a Postcript catalogue a lithograph by John Nash called Harvesting:

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Harvesting.
Lithograph by John Nash.
1940.

What a different scene.  The bicycles against the hedge (alack for the rabbits, or maybe the hares), the boys idling, the strange shape of the cut crop, the dogs, the lovers leaning against the rick, the energy and human involvement in the scene,  let alone the difference in the way of cutting the field. This lithograph  was made in 1940 as part of the Pictures for Schools project, and even taking into account artistic license, this is a very different, so much more communal a scene than is the case nowadays with these big machines, which just deal with the fields, and then go on their way, so that strangely, for all their bulk, they are hardly noticed.

The next day the heavy clouds are low on the horizon, the fields are cut, crows and pigeons are in the stubble. Next it will be the ploughing, and the new crops put into the earth. The year is on the turn towards autumn.

August 28, 2013 Posted by | Illustration, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

   

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