Stick it on mow tops.


In this case mow is pronounced ‘moo’. A mow is a stack of hay or straw in a barn.

It’s just that when my father was a young man, just after the war he worked for a chap who was a really good farmer. Had a good eye for milk cows and ran a good farm. But one fault he had was impatience. You cannot make hay faster than hay can be made. The sun and wind will do their job at their own speed.

Now if you make hay that is slightly too damp, it can heat up and even spontaneously combust. Obviously this is too be avoided. One way that you can avoid this is by spreading it thin so it both has a chance to dry a little, and also doesn’t compact down enough to produce the heat.

Even if it doesn’t catch fire, you can get hay that is ‘mow-burned’, it goes a bit brown, cows actually like it (I think it might caramelise the sugars) but you’ve lost a lot of the feed value and apparently it’s no good for horses.

It smells sweet as well.

But one year the boss couldn’t settle and it was a fine afternoon so he said to my Dad, “Harry, go and get a cart load from that field.”
So my Dad looked for the bit that was nearest to being ready, loaded a cart and went back. Obviously it needed a little more time but the boss said, “Just spread it on’t mow tops.”

Then he decided another field was probably ready, so he sent my father with the cart to get a load from that field. Again my father came back with a load that was almost ready and it too was spread on mow tops.”

At this point the boss realised that with it being a really nice afternoon the first field must surely be ready by now so he suggest my Dad went back to that field.

My Dad looked at him and asked where he’d put it.” Before the boss could answer my Dad added, “Because tha’s already out of mow tops.”

So they waited another day and got it made properly.


But anyway today it’s silage not hay, and I’ve only once done silage so late in the year. Basically, remember the hot weather? Well the grass we lost then, we’re trying to grow now. But anyway this morning at 8:30am fields were white with rag (frost), but by 9am the sun was up and it had virtually all melted and with a bit of luck there’s enough strength in the sun to dry it a bit as well.

Grass silage at the end of October isn’t something you can count on. In 2000, we didn’t have three consecutive dry days between September and January and that is a case of ‘abandon hope all ye who enter here.’ People had a lot of trouble harvesting maize that year.


Still if you really want difficulties, walk into a northern railway station and buy a ticket to Llandrindod Wells. Given my pronunciation and her spelling, it’s a miracle if I don’t end up in Llandudno. We had two ladies behind me in the queue using their phones to try and get us the spelling. One ended up with wall cladding.



In case you’re stuck on a long journey, or just need a good book, you might want to consider

As the reviewer said
In this new adventure in the `Swords’ series, we again follow Benor and watch and feel as though we take part in his hectic life. He both pursues and is pursued when he `liberates’ a prince’s concubine (and keeps her!) and the prince, naturally, doesn’t want to let the matter rest. As well as being an excellent fighter, one of his companions on the journey is a master of the haute couture trade and manages to combine these two rather successfully.

Jim Webster has created a credible fantasy world here, populated by its own races, both rivals and allies, and with an intriguing group of wild creatures which you can almost taste when they are described as food species! There is a good deal of action in this book but also some softer, `Ahhh!’ moments which I won’t describe for fear of spoiling the story. Needless to say, he has once again used his own writing style to give us some wonderfully memorable phrases. I like his style and his gentle humour.

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One thought on “Stick it on mow tops.

  1. patriciaruthsusan October 30, 2018 at 12:39 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
    Some farming advice plus another interesting tale spun by and penned by Jim Webster.

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