Thursday 3 March 2011
Hard work ahead.
This is a very busy time of the year for farmers - especially so for grassland farmers like us. The fields have to be fertilised, harrowed, rolled; fences have to be mended and gateways have to be smartened up; everything has to be ready for the stock to go out in mid to late April (in the South the date will be earlier than this).
But one thing is essential before all this can happen - the ground has to have dried out after the Winter. February was a very wet month here and the fields are still far too wet to get on, so farmers round here are champing at the bit to get started.
Of course there are other jobs to be done and as we came towards our neighbour's farm yesterday afternoon we saw evidence that the sheep had been on the move; all along the sides of the lane, in the mud, were sheeps' hoof-prints. Sure enough when we got to their fold yard the sheep were all standing there in the sunshine waiting for a pedicure. These are 'mules' - up here a mule is a cross between a Swaledale sheep and a Blue-faced Leicester sheep. They are bred solely for their meat - so these will be going to market before long - maybe even for the Easter meat trade.
I love bare trees. In a few short weeks the trees will be coming into leaf again and I shall extol the beauty of a tree in new leaf, but aren't these two trees absolutely beautiful standing out against the clear blue sky. It is on afternoons like yesterday that I wish I could draw.