Wednesday, 18 March 2009

A Week's a Long Time in Farming.











This morning there's a waiting,
I can feel it in the air.
You can almost hear the silence;
faint mist hangs everywhere.
The hazel catkins glitter
as the sunshine melts the frost,
and blackthorn buds begin to burst.
I feel that Winter's lost.
The battle's nearly over
and Spring has almost won.
The grass has started growing and
there's power in the Sun.
Whatever else it throws at us
it's clear that Winter's past;
it's weakening by the minute
and Spring has sprung AT LAST!

What a difference this week has made on the farm. For a start the ground has dried up considerably so that you can get on it with machinery. All down the lane on my walk yesterday, farmers were busy in the fields - one was ploughing the rest of a field he began to plough in October; another was drilling corn in the portion of the field that was too wet for the Autumn sowing; another was beginning to spread the Winter's manure heap.
For the farmer it is harrowing-time; time to break up the clods of earth, smooth out the deep footprints of the Winter cattle and sheep, scarify the ground to let in the light. He tells me that his father used to talk about farmers too poor to buy set of harrows, who fixed huge thorny pieces of wood into a wooden frame and used that. I remember my father-in-law complaining that today's relatively light harrows were "not a patch" on the old cast iron ones he used to use with horses!
On the beck the first marsh-marigolds are out. They call them king-cups up here. As a child in rural Lincolnshire, we called them water-blobs. Whatever their name - they do the heart a power of good this morning, when you can actually smell the new grass.
As I photographed the farmer harrowing the well field curlew swooped overhead, their cries could be heard above the sound of the tractor. And on Mill Lane, nicely drying up, the first of this years lambs are now old enough to go with their mums down to the far field and yes - they are going on their own - these ewes know exactly where to go and can't wait - they can smell the new grass too.

44 comments:

The-Grizzled-But-Still-Incorrigible-Scribe-Himself! said...

Liked the poem, photos, and words. Your spring is obviously ahead of ours—though we're coming along. It was 70 degrees F here yesterday, supposed to be the same today; both days with full sun. Tomorrow is low-50s or upper-40s, however. :-(

Your marsh marigolds look more orange than the blooms we call by the same name.

Lovely post…

Woman in a Window said...

Our spirits wait for this, don't they? This loosening up, then hardening up of the new season. So thankful for it! (And yet we're supposed to get 5 cm of snow this weekend...)

Travis Erwin said...

I love the looks of that little brook.

Cathy said...

How sweet to see the little ones just trotting along with their mommas! Spring is so beautiful. We've had a thick fog two days in a row here in the morning that smells like Spring. The birds are singing all day and a beautiful pileated woodpecker is tapping all day long. All that upturned earth must smell wonderful.

Hildred and Charles said...

Thank you for a wonderfully encouraging post... love the sheep and the enduring stone wall.

jinksy said...

So glad your spring is sprung too...though need to think twice about the word harrowing today... x

Derrick said...

Such a glorious day today, Weaver. Will it last? Fingers crossed!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Marsh marigolds are a very deep yellow here Scribe - wonderful day here today - pure Spring.

The Weaver of Grass said...

March is always capricious here Woman in a Window - that is one of the joys - Spring one day, deepest Winter the next - but we know who will win.

Reader Wil said...

That was a nice spring walk! Thank you! And your poem is a real bonus! Farming is a hard work. I hope it is rewarding! The word verification says: blesses.

Mary said...

Oh how lucky you are to live in such a beautiful place! Our winter here in New Jersey has been very long and hard; spring is just beginning to arrive, and not a moment too soon! :)

Oh, and I wanted to tell you that I would love to plant snowdrops "in the green" but can't find a source for them nearby. :(

HelenMHunt said...

Wow! What amazing photos.

Leenie said...

Nice poetry. You echo my feelings about this time of year. I like the line, "You can almost hear the silence." My job as a kid was to drive the tractor pulling the harrow. When I got more skilled I got to do the disking. I love the smell of fresh soil. Farming is a hard life but a great one.

Heather said...

I can almost smell that grass too, and love the rhythm and energy in your poem. I have a small clump of marsh marigolds in our pond - they are probably cultivated ones as they came from a garden centre, but are lovely anyway.

Teresa said...

What a wonderful post. Loved the poem, the photos and the commentary. Next best thing to being there!

acornmoon said...

How very welcome spring is,what a lovely photograph, the fact that the sheep are using the lane makes it all the more amusing.I think we underestimate the intelligence of sheep.

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Lovely inspiring poem, Weaver.

I think the name 'water-blobs' is wonderful!!

Arija said...

Love your poem and the swamp buttrcups, they have such a lovely scent...realy the scent of spring.
It is so beautifully green where you are, a balm to the eyes and soul. Our native Grey Shrike Thrush came back for the winter this morning. He has such a beautifully limpid, watery call.
Beautiful spring post with poetry and lambs.

Rowan said...

It really does feel as though Spring is here now doesn't it? The photo of the sheep in the lane is really lovely.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh marsh marigolds, lovely, not too many round here though but always a wonderful sign of spring.

Our Suffolk lambs are old enough to be fighting now. The Ryeland lambs are still just coming into the world.

Poet in Residence said...

A suitable poem with a spring in its step. Lovely photo of sheep in the lane.

This morning in Vienna Woods it's 0°C and snowing.

BT said...

What a super post, Weaver. Lovely poem and super photos. The sheep and lambs look in such a hurry, but then that fresh grass is calling. Today it was very misty to start with but no the sun has broken through again and it's gorgeous. More gardening for a while, then I must pack my case as I'm off to the UK until Monday night.

Did you contact Seth about the parcel Weaver?

Leilani Lee said...

How funny... my "word verification" is an actual word: "fishin." I haven't gone fishin in many years, but it certainly brings back memories of fishing with my dad. Now I've forgotten what I was going to comment about. Oh now I remember! Watching ewes and their lambs in a field in Oregon -- a lamb was born right in front of us. It was amazing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Travis - the little brook in Yorkshire-speak is called the beck - even in UK there are a dozen different words for this kind of stream.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Cathy - I think birdsong is really the first real indication of Spring here - already the chaffinches are singing merrily.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the comment Hildred and Charles - the words enduring stone wall and sheep rarely occur together - sheep are the main culprits in knocking the stone walls down - this happens every year especially when there are frisky lambs about - there is nothing they like better than running along the top of a wall.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Sorry about your harrowing day Jinksy - the next farming job is rolling - so hopefully you will be rolling along merrily in the next few days!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Funny you should say that Derrick - today we ar bedevilled with cloud blowing in off the North Sea - expect you are too.l

The Weaver of Grass said...

A good word-verification reader wil - for all the work involved I wold say we are very blessed to live on a farm.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I don't suppose you are allowed to buy them in England, are you Mary?
I am sure the snowdrops will still grow if you buy them as corms in the Autumn - it is just that I was told that the mice adore them as Autumn food.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks to Helen and Leenie too.
I agree that farm life is hard but rewarding.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Heather - I think the cultivated ones are the same variety - it is a bit like mysotis (forget-me-not) they grow in the wild too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Teresa - glad you enjoyed visiting the countryside.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Acornmoon - not sure about intelligence where sheep are concerned - these are hefted sheep so they know where they should be.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Yes Raph - I prefer water blobs!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Arija - I love the thought of your Grey Shrike Thrush and your wonderful description of its call.
One of the good things about blogging is that we appreciate the changes in seasons - we are going into Spring - you are going into Autumn.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks for the comments Rowan and c.g.p. I think Rylands always lamb a bit later, like the upland sheep do here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Poet - Vienna woods - so there really are Vienna woods as in Tales From.........

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks BT - enjoy your little stay away - and yes I have made contact with Seth.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Leilani Lee - new life and spring eh - they go together, don't they?

The Weaver of Grass said...

Leilani Lee - new life and spring eh - they go together, don't they?

Janice Thomson said...

They say April showers bring May flowers but here we are in a rainy season indicative of our spring. Can't wait to smell the green grass...liked your poem Weaver - wonderful imagery.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Weaver this is such a wonderful post... so uplifting... as spring is!..
We are not done with our snow yet but it is melting fairly quickly.. I do think I can get my greenhouse door open now..
I love your poem..and the sheep .. ah... spring!!!

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Love your poem. The excitement of Spring!! You make me want to go out and purchase an entire flock of sheep!