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.