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December 18, 2010

Clover Fork

"That's a nice pitchfork," I said to Graeme. "I could do with one of those."
"It's not a pitchfork, it's a clover fork," he said.
Graeme was clearing the hedge clippings behind me as I trimmed the church hedge this morning.  He showed me the difference: five tines instead of three, and because this farmer comes from an old farming family he could also add some history to the usage of clover forks. Whereas pitchforks were used to gather sheaves of hay or straw to toss onto haystacks, clover was gathered loose off the field for stacking. The closer tines and broader scoop of the clover fork would have suited the nature of clover better than the widely spaced tines of a pitchfork.
And for my readers in frozen climes or even the city folk here in New Zealand, this is hay-making time. Gone the days of pitchforks and sheaved haystacks, but the tractor driven-mowers , tedders and balers are working in the rural paddocks, turning out deep windrows  of hay, fitting around the frequent rain and turning much of the grass into big round bales or baled sileage.  However...
"Not a good hay year," Graeme says, philosophically.

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