Meadow Weave: Wakehurst Residency, 2014 (6)

 Making it While the Sun Shines official website.

003 resizedI genuinely feel like the Miller’s daughter in the story Rumpelstitskin.

I’ve a massive pile of cut hay on one side, and a long snaking hay rope on the other, which I’m looping together to form a structure.

I reckon I’ve made 70 metres of rope so far, with more to go. It’s a massive task, and the hay pile seems never to lessen. And now I know what a rope-maker’s blister is. The sound of hay swishing on the tarp as I twist it is mesmeric, the buzzing flies and yaffling woodpecker add to the feeling of a living fable.

hay rope, grass baskets, foraged grassThe only advice ever (and frequently) given to me by my paternal grandmother was to “make hay while the sun shines”. She lived to be over a hundred, and outlived her farmer husband, my grandfather, by nearly 20 years; she had a lot of time for looking back.

I’m discovering what a fragile material hay is. It must be turned regularly to keep it dry or it very quickly starts to deteriorate. Even the dew is best kept off it. I don’t want spontaneous combustion happening in my pile of hay- it’s a hazard because of how quickly and vigorously the decomposition happens, creating really high temperatures. So I’m regularly doing the turning. While the sun shines.

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