As I read John’s Dorset Diary for July, which was written in 2010, I realise how different the weather conditions are this year. I love this image of old farm machinery but the rampart growth is very pertinent to 2012.
We are now in July and it is as though nature has taken a break from the weight of growth and energy that has been generated through April, May and June. The landscape is changing yet again and many of our loveliest flowers are appearing: chamomile, rose bay willow herb, honeysuckle, tansy, meadowsweet, scabious, harebells, wild marjoram and knapweed. and plant production is going into seed and berry generally rather than new growth. This is the time to harvest our first vegetables and soft fruit. It is also a time to rest and relax, for picnics and barbeques, cricket and tennis and coast and downland walks. We are now in full summer and these are the dog days named after Sirius the Dog Star, warm and sultry but also high temperatures and thunderstorms. This is holiday time and where betters to be than in Dorset: what to do and where to go? The choice is enormous.
My illustration for July of old rusting farm machinery entangled in brambles, nettles and ground alder is a reminder of the days when agriculture was much more ‘hands on, and more also labour intensive and unsophisticated. This collection, half buried in places, includes metal rims from cart wheels, disks, ploughs, rollers, harrows, machines for grinding roots for sheep hay, rakes and even a decaying McCormick tractor. I read recently that the agriculture industry has changed more radically in the last 100 years than in the previous 4.000 and with winter barley sown in the Autumn and ripening in the fields it is now a sad reality that harvest time is now once again upon us and summer is soon coming to an end.
John Hinchcliffe, 2010