A slice of toast with 007 (and why farmers always moan about the weather)

Bread is made with wheat flour. This variety is called SKYFALL 🖤

This morning I needed to pop and get some washing up liquid – thought I’d treat the kitchen to a few minutes of my time. Man of the Woods offered to drive me so we could ‘check the crops’ (hadn’t gone down overnight with the rather torrential rainfall).

Most of us know that bread is made from wheat but how often do we see the crop close-up during the growing season when the ‘ear’ is developing each individual seed which in late July/August will be harvested.

Some farmers grow wheat for feed whereas we grow wheat aimed for milling. It is more expensive to nurture a milling wheat crop, right from the day it’s drilled, because the criteria for bread-making flour is complicated.

Protein in the seed needs to be 13% minimum and moisture needs to be 15% maximum. Every batch of grain taken from the farm after harvest is tested and if the criteria are not reached, your 6-months of hard work becomes obsolete. The expensive seed you bought, drilled and nurtured – because you have the type of land which can support a milling crop (rain-willing) – will be sold instead to a feed merchant for a lot lot less per tonne than it would have been to a milling merchant.

Every time Man of the Woods goes out with his sprayer with fungicide, or fertiliser early on to increase the yield, he is attempting to insure the future of his crop (and yes, I did mean to type insure, not ensure, because these sprays and fertilisers cost thousands). He does this so it will make milling quality. So it will go for flour to make bread. So that we can buy bread and enjoy a slice with blackcurrant.

But in Jan and Feb you simply cannot predict what the Gulf Stream will be doing by May and June. Farming is a gamble. Did you know there are more suicides in farming than any other way of life?

There are some interesting facts here about mental health and farming.

He did make it down to Cornwall, for the final day .. and spent it at an agricultural show 😂😂😂

We mustn’t laugh. The Royal Cornwall show is the jewell in the crown of country shows and there was lots to see. I managed to delay our return to Suffolk and secure two further nights in the holiday apartment so he could enjoy his brief holiday 🤗

I’m not entirely sure where this post is going, I simply had the idea of sharing a rather cool close-up photo of water droplets on some wheat but my words have morphed into something with more meaning.

MoW helps me when I’m low and it is the role of the farmer’s wife to be there morally when they are low and spitting feathers because their multiple working hours have been in vain.

Today he is happy. Only a few patches along the edge of one field has suffered and the green crop is lying flat against the ground and unlikely to recover, lift and continue plumping each seed out to its full potential. The crop is at its heaviest now and therefore susceptible to being knocked over by heavy rain. Once it starts to ripen and go golden (basically dry out and die) it weighs less and can withstand a summer shower.

Can we just take a moment … all washing up done and Joseph still alive on the windowsill ⛩