poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘silage

comparing landscapes

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When you are visiting an area away from home, what do you notice about the landscape?

As we were driving the roads of south-east Ontario, I was always comparing the scenes I was seeing with the landscapes of home in south-central New Brunswick.  

Both areas are hilly and rural, with a strong agricultural base.  Both are forested wherever farmland is not the main land use.   The trees in south-eastern Ontario are predominantly hardwood with some cedar, fir and pine, whereas ours are mostly mixed wood with a stronger component of conifers (spruce, fir and pine).

Probably the thing I noticed most about the Ontario farming landscape was the predominance of corn as a crop.  When we were there, the ‘eating’ corn had already been harvested, but corn for silage (mostly used for cattle) was growing everywhere.  It stood tall in golden fields, mostly broadcast, without corn-rows.    

The corn was ready for harvest, the corn kernels held in stout, starchy ears.  I think ‘ears’ is such an apt word for corn since the sense of hearing is shaken awake when you stand in a cornfield.  This time of year, the long leaves are dry and rustle in the slightest breeze, carrying on a whispering conversation in an unknowable language.  




cattle-corn rustles

silage close-standing

whispers and secrets


murmurs and sighs


no single




© Jane Tims  2011

Written by jane tims

October 5, 2011 at 8:24 am

under the haystack

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In our area, late summer is haymaking time.  During the past two weeks, almost every field has been at some stage of mowing, bailing, or gathering.  Farmers tried to bring their hay in before the August 28 tropical storm (Hurricane Irene), so most fields are now cut and cleared. 

Haymaking is a picturesque activity.  The cut hay is formed into parallel windrows in the fields, an artist’s lesson in perspective.  The cutting and bailing and drying of hay are all fascinating to watch. 

In the 1960s, at my grandfather’s farm, hay was gathered loose into a horse-drawn hay wagon and stored unbailed in the barn.  One summer, I was thrilled to be asked to help ‘tramp hay’.   As the fluffy hay was forked into the wagon, our work was to compress it by rolling and stomping and jumping.   

Haying methods have changed, of course.  Collecting loose hay is almost non-existent.  Even the smaller square bails are hard to find.  The most common are the cylindrical ‘round’ bails or the white plastic-wrapped silage bails. 

The round bails look like plump shredded wheat…

and the silage bails are giant marshmallows. 

At sunset, the shadows of the round bails make musical half notes on the fields.        

'half notes'



Summer Song


Sunbury County

sings in its sleep

            purple vetch

            hop clover


at the roadside


hay in rows 

            a staff

            empty of song


round bails and their shadows

half notes for an oboe


honey bee

ditty in the pink and red-hipped

            old fashioned roses

            bid country roads

   enter the covered bridge

glimpses between planking

rock music on the water

tires drum on loose boards


deer look up

cattle low in the meadow

            owl to whitethroat  


            goldenrod pollens the air

rushes by the Rusagonis River

north and south


over Sunpoke

big moon crescendo

trembles of aspen



Published as: Spring 1995, “Summer Song”, The Cormorant XI (2)


© Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

September 2, 2011 at 6:56 am

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