Tuesday, 28 February 2012

The Farming Year Moves On,







To everything its season as the saying goes. Farming goes through the seasons year by year and nothing changes. Because the farmer has been farming for nigh on sixty years he has it all at his fingertips and does the same jobs each year at the same time.

This week there have been various what he calls 'squaring up' jobs. First of all there are all Nature's winter prunings to take care of. Every winter gale brings down the old, brittle branches on trees in the hedgerows and walls. These lie about until this time of the year when the farmer collects them all up on a trailer, piles them in a field and has a bonfire.

Then there is the mending of fences. Whenever he does this I am reminded of the Robert Frost poem which begins "Something there is that does not love a wall". The poem is called Mending Walls and I love it. We had a piece of walling rebuilt (at a huge cost I might add) and this left a gap where the beck ran through. Sheep have little sense when it comes to water, so this morning the farmer has built a fence across the gap - and a good job he has made of it too, I think you will agree.
The same sheep are hopeless at judging width and therefore they try hard to squeeze through gaps (the grass in the next field being always greener). They are also pretty good at dying and if they get stuck in a gap overnight they will be pretty weak by next morning. So while he was down there the farmer also built a neat little wooden gate from old bits of wood and an old tyre (waste not want not is another of his maxims) because sheep definitely cannot open gates.

Walking round the fields after lunch we went to look at the place where there is always a good display of snowdrops and sure enough they were there. Ronald Blythe always says that snowdrops are good at taking long walks - well we think these snowdrops took a long sail because the only way they could have sprung up where they are is by them being carried down the beck during a flood and deposited on the bank. However they got there they make a fine display.

The blackthorn is in bud as you will see from the photograph. A few more days like today (it is eleven degrees as I write) and it will be well on the way - and very early.

In the vegetable garden the farmer has finished the digging. The birds have enjoyed a feast of slugs' eggs which he left on the surface and it is all looking very neat. I love it when it is like this. The Swiss chard is springing up. I know from experience in growing it in the past that in year two it soon goes to seed, but at present it is nice and green so I intend to collect it tomorrow and serve it up for lunch before it has a chance.

Our poetry meeting is here tomorrow, so this afternoon I shall be looking out some favourites for when it is my turn to read. It is such an enjoyable afternoon, I do wish you could all join us.

22 comments:

Pondside said...

The industry at your place! We have also had a bonfire, but after the winds of last week we will need to have another before April and the 'no fires' order.

Heather said...

Lovely photos as usual Pat - your veg plot is all ready to go and the lichens have such glorious colour and texture.
The farmer can turn his hand to all manner of tasks and makes an excellent job of them.
Over the years my husband has accumulated sundry bits and pieces 'in case they come in handy' and loves to make something from nothing. I'm surprised he can still get the car into the garage!

angryparsnip said...

Such wonderful photos today.
Your vegetable garden looks ready to plant. I love that the birds are helping you.
The part about Farmer building a fence (very nice fence) across the gap where the beck runs through, don't the sheep just walk under it ? You can tell I am not a farmer !

I so look forward to reading your post every morning with my coffee.

cheers, parsnip

it's me said...

The fresh turned soil makes me ache to get planting--we haven't gardened lately because of the drought and deer--I really miss it.

MorningAJ said...

That all looks very neat and tidy. Now I feel guilty about not doing my gardening!

Toffeeapple said...

Some lovely pictures Pat, shows what a lot of work needs to go on at a farm. I must check our Blackthorn hedges, I love it when they flower.

Jennifer Tetlow said...

I wish so too! The veg garden looks amazing, and 'ripe' for more work - please tell farmer - well squared up.

Titus said...

So impressed with the vegetable garden. Though he's obviously rather busy, I could do with borrowing the farmer!

Crafty Green Poet said...

Yes I've always thought judgement wasn't a sheep's strong point!

John Gray said...

those beds are sooooooooooo bloody neat... I am shamed by the state of mine!

BilboWaggins said...

Oh Lordy, more Blogger changes - what have they done to the comments page this time :}

I'm with John, those beds look so neat (but full of promise too!).

Tanya @ Lovely Greens said...

Looking great! The Farmer has done a brilliant job of tidying up and constructing the fence. When he's finished on your end please do send him over here - I'll start making a project list for him now ;)

Dartford Warbler said...

Your vegetable beds look so rich and inviting. Lovely, well composted earth is a true treasure.

The sheep gate is a great invention. I hope the Girls don`t find a way through......

I would love to join your poetry group if I had a magic carpet!

jill said...

All looks so neat and tidy Pat just like I love to see a veg plot to look Well done Mr farmer.Love Jill xx

H said...

Very much squared up! I will have to have a bonfire too. I have all sorts of bits of wood need burning.

rkbsnana said...

I am duly impressed. Maybe we will have a bonfire this weekend when grandkids come over.

Rachel said...

The comments page has changed. Not so easy to navigate.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I haven't visited the farm with you in quite a while. I've missed it. So glad I've come back and you are still inviting us in.

Enjoy your poetry group today. Sounds perfect for your frame of mind.

Elizabeth said...

I think the Farmer's gate is excellent and artistic too --function+ form etc etc.

Wish I could be at your poetry meeting.

Re: yesterday's post.
Yes, I get wild with fury when I see mothers and caregivers on their cell phones yakking endlessly and ignoring their charges.
Of course OUR children and grandchildren are geniuses because we actually enjoy spending time reading/singing (a mistake maybe!)/chatting/coloring --in a word INTERACTING and being attentive.
Pat, I'm sure we are like broken records --but how simple it is to enrich a child's life......

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you for the positive comments on the farmer's vegetable garden - I have read them all to him.

thousandflower said...

Most vegetables are biennials meaning they make vegetative growth one year and go to seed the next spring. If you save the seed from plants like chard that survive your winter you are creating a strain of site specific hardy chard. Brassicas are also biennials and if you don't eat all the buds of your Brussels sprouts and cabbages and kale you can do likewise with them.

Golden West said...

Hi Weaver,

You asked about Andrew Breitbart - he was a co-founder of The Drudge Report, a website that revolutionized how Americans get their news, a tireless advocate for our Constitution as written and our God-given natural rights. Someone else said it much better than I ever could - "He was the spiritual leader of the modern conservative, libertarian cause. He was immersed in pop culture and wished to drag the right into the modern world - knowing this is how America speaks to the world. He was the heart of the matter. The fighter. Losing him is like a fiery planet going dark." -- Greg Gutfeld