Wednesday, 13 April 2011

The Grass is Greener.

Up here in the Yorkshire Dales, where most of the farms are grassland farms (on the
whole the soil is not deep enough for arable) every farmer is judged by the state of his grass at this time of the year - at least by other farmers. You may think that grass is grass, is grass but next time you pass a grass field - or several - look at them carefully.

In Winter the grass tends to die off in clumps and to look ragged and dismal. Then, when the land is dry enough it is fertilised, mucked, harrowed, rolled and - hopefully - rained upon - and then it begins to grow.

Here, as I look out of the window, or as I walk across the fields with Tess, I am struck by the greenness. Suddenly new grass is sprouting up, new, dark green, nutritious grass. It is already a couple of inches high and growing fast.

The cows, still indoors in their Winter housing, can smell it and they are restless - lots of mooing, lots of pacing up and down, lots of noses in the air. But the time is not ripe yet for letting them out. The grass needs to be quite a bit longer and the days a bit warmer. Last weekend we had a really warm spell and, boy, were those cows desperate to get out, but now there is a cold wind and the weather is not so good.

On the day the cows are let out the grass needs to be nice and long, the sun needs to be shining, the conditions need to be right. Of course, if the farmer runs out of silage for indoor feeding he may have to let them out early, but all things being equal they will go out on such a day. If you get the chance and live anywhere near a milking herd, do go out to watch the spectacle.

Tails in the air, legs hurtling through the grass, back ends up in the air, cries of joy and - finally - settling down to eat the best grass they have tasted is six months. And, best of all, that night the milk yield will have shot up as a thank-you to the farmer. For this first grass of the season is highly nutritious - it never again will reach that degree of nutrition - that is why it is so important for the farmer to get it right.

Well, the day for letting out is nearly here - I look forward to it. Hope you see it too.

24 comments:

Dave King said...

I agree that seeing the herd let out is a superb spectacle, even though, for me, it is now a distant memory.

We only have two lawns, but just from them I know full well that grass is not just grass is grass!

Tom Stephenson said...

I once flew back from the USA, and when we were over Ireland, I was staggered at how GREEN it was - no wonder they call it the Emerald Isle. (Sorry for the absence of hilarious swear-words in this comment).

dinesh chandra said...

Yorkshire Dales is haven to me but I will try to visit once in my life .

regards

Dinesh Chandra

Jennifer Tetlow said...

In the field next to my workshop all these processes have been going on (not the cows yet), but the grass looks like green velvet and after the roller, so smoothly undulating - I've leant on the fence and just looked and enjoyed it!

steven said...

weaver with all due respect to the children i teach, they are so like the joyous animals you describe here when they are finally able to play soccer (football to you) roll about and tumble on the grass!!! steven

Heather said...

Cows mostly look very sedate and slightly cumbersome, and to see them cavorting is a delight. Hope the days warm up soon for them - it feels quite chilly even down here in the southwest today. My husband is very proud of 'his' two lawns and cossets them throughout the year even though they don't do anything useful like feeding a herd of cows.

Pondside said...

Weaver,you paint a picture of springtime that is just a little quirky -I love the thought of the frolicking cows.

Crafty Green Poet said...

oh i can sense the excitement building up for all the cows!

Gerry Snape said...

I love that image of the cows with their noses in the air wanting to get out to chomp that fresh new grass. Fabulous Weaver!

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Those cows sound like kids being let out on the last day of school - or the teachers!

angryparsnip said...

Weaver, as i read this post, I was there with you ! I so wish in real life I could be there with you and see the cow running with joy !

cheers, parsnip

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Nothing I would like more to see this event, you describe it so well. I learn so much visiting here; my father was brought up in the countryside on a small holding and has wonderful tales as a child living in rural East Yorkshire. Considering I live right next to gorgeous countryside, I know so little about its day to day life or the people who make it work for the country.
XX

Raph G. Neckmann said...

Ooooh, that sounds such fun! Wish I could be there to watch it.

Jo said...

I can't imagine anyone writing a more interesting and descriptive essay on the importance of GRASS. Who knew?

I've seen many thousands of cows in the fields as I drive across Missouri, but I've never once seen cows "hurtling through grass." We must be doing something wrong!

H said...

I can understand their impatience to be out. At this time of the year, I feel just the same way!

ChrisJ said...

Something I've always wanted to see! We had more sheep than cow around Flamborough, unless you count bullocks. We are enjoying our beautiful green grass right now, but April is the end of the rainy season and we may not get any more until November. After that, the true Californians say the landscape is 'golden'.

Eryl said...

First grass milk, sounds like the dairy equivalent of Beaujolais Nouveau. I'd rather like a jug of it to make custard.

The Weaver of Grass said...

The weather is warming up nicely - today is more sunny and warmer than yesterday - all this means that the grass will grow even more quickly. Unfortunately this applies to lawns as well! Thank you for your comments.

George said...

For the past month or so, I have been absent from the blogging world. It's nice to return, Pat, and read about something as simple and necessary as grass. It reminds me that, when all else fails, I can count on the return of spring.

Totalfeckineejit said...

Interesting and informative as ever Weaver!Entertaining too. And I'm wondering if this weeks Poetry Bus prompt might tempt you back onto your reserved seat.
HERE

Tess Kincaid said...

Last week we had a huge 24 hour torrential rain, followed by several days of sunshine. Our dead brown grass turned emerald green nearly overnight. I always forget just how green it really is.

Lori at Jarvis House said...

Grass. Thankfuly it rains enough to produce the green stuff that milk comes from. Here on Logn Island we get a lot of rain in April. The grass is starting to grow and we will have to start mowing next week!

Golden West said...

I love the smell of grass, too!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for your comments. On the day that the cattle go out for the first time I will try to capture some images of their joy.