Here the snow is lurking about and the temperature is just above freezing. Sleet/snow showers keep falling spasmodically. The sky is grey and, frankly, it is bitter out there. On my way up to my study I looked out of the landing window. The photograph above is what is saw.
Not very exciting, is it? I am sure that looking at it you can almost feel the bitter raw cold. But there is something in the photograph which does make it more interesting.
Do you see how the field opposite the farm house is beginning to be striped. Thin trails of grass are showing through in straight lines down the field and in between the snow still lies deep. This is clear evidence of medieval farming methods - the rig and furrow system.
Those old medieval farmers were clever and knew how to get the most surface area from their land, so they made a series of ridges with furrows in between, and those pastures which are rarely, if ever, ploughed, have retained that evidence.
Similarly, on our neighbours farm higher up the hill, there is evidence of terracing and Anglo-Saxon lynchets - other methods of making the most of the surface area. All these things show up at sunrise and sunset, when the sun is low in the sky and the shadows are long. But today, in the slowly thawing snow, they advertise their presence and for me serve to emphasise that we don't own the land, it is merely ours for our lifetime - then we can pass it on to others. And luckily, they too will find evidence of our farming methods in hundreds of years to come.
And I know one thing for sure - those old farmers had it hard. This kind of weather would still see them toiling with their stock, feeding, milk, watering, cleaning out - all without the benefit of central heating, constant hot water, electricity.........I could go on. But no, I'll continue up to my study, sit by the hot radiator with my little spotlight and do a bit of embroidery. But at lease it has made me think on my way upstairs. The past is always with us - but sometimes we forget about it and the snow has been a timely reminder. Keep warm.