This Winter we have had a lot of snow and a fair bit of rain. Now the weather has improved somewhat it is clear that the bottom pasture is waterlogged. Naturally all our land slopes gently down to the beck and it is usually well-drained, but something has gone wrong. So today the farmer has decided to dig a few holes and find out what it is.
As he put all the drains in over the years, he knows exactly where they run - so he digs a line of holes down the field parallel to the line of alders that mark our farm boundary. The culprit is found immediately - alder roots have disturbed the pipes.
I ring him on his mobile from the kitchen to see exactly where he is and then set off with a vacuum mug that we bought years ago on the top of Pikes Peak and have never used - mid morning coffee on the hoof.
Tess comes along on the long lead for the walk (off the lead means "Stop at every rabbit hole and shout in doggy language "I know you are down there - just you wait till you show those long ears above ground!"")
The holes are quite spectacular - not dug by hand so they have appeared quite quickly. In the bottom the water is flowing fast and free, the alder roots chopped off where they interfered with the drainage.
Just above where he is working the beck falls over a pretty little rocky waterfall - there is not too much water in it at the moment. Then it reaches the point where the underground drainage system comes out into it - water is gushing out, cloudy brown water from underground, where it has been holed up for weeks. Then the beck goes on its merry way across the fields.
The sun is shining, there is a light breeze, what has been a very heavy ground frost has melted away and it feels like Spring, the water is flowing freely - all's right with the world (as long as you don't make the mistake of watching the news!) - just the holes to fill in now.