Monday, 31 March 2014

Something there is.....

Robert Frost certainly knew all about walls.   He knew that they could come down at the drop of a hat.   If sheep find the slightest weakness they will work away at it until they can scramble to the top and jump down the other side.   Cattle will lean up against the wall if it is windy, sheltering but also pushing the wall out into a bulge which eventually gives way.   Rabbits rear whole families in walls, as do stoats and weasels (pantry full of baby rabbits near at hand!).   Walls were built for several reasons:
To separate fields which may belong to different folk.
To give a modicum of protection against the winds that blow in these parts.
To utilise the indigenous material - no spare money in those days to erect fences, collect all the stone around and build a wall with it.

As regular readers of my blog will know, the farmer bought a new field in the Autumn, a field which sits among our fields, so that the farm is 'neatened off' as it were.   The grass was grossly neglected.  Already, after these few months, the grass is improving due to careful management by the farmer.   And it will improve still further as it undergoes fertilising, harrowing, rolling, sensible grazing.

What will not improve is the stone wall which separates the field from the Lane.  There had been racehorses in the field before (our farm is quite near to the racing town of Middleham) and they were friendly and would come to the wall when people passed by, nudging it over.

Yesterday I pointed out to the farmer what a mess the wall was, how it failed to live up to the standard I expect of his land.    This morning, looking out of the kitchen window, I see he is mending it.
Golly, is that a coincidence or does my chivvying count for something?***   Whatever the answer to that question, we now have a smart wall along the side of the lane.   And I can misquote the rest of the Frost line - Something there is that does love a wall! 
***  Alas!  Scoff ye male readers!!  The farmer was not mending the wall at all.   When I got closer, I found that what he was doing was digging a channel to let off an enormous puddle of water in the gateway.   I should know by now that with almost sixty years of farming experience he is not going to alter his priority list for someone like me who has been around for a mere twenty years.

10 comments:

Heather said...

It's good to know that our husbands do take notice of the things we say sometimes! However, I'm sure the farmer had in mind to strengthen that wall as soon as he could.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

Farmers must work so hard!

(ツ) from Cottage Country Ontario , ON, Canada!

Cro Magnon said...

You're lucky, all we have here is electric wire fencing; not very nice!!!

JoAnn ( Scene Through My Eyes) said...

How wonderful to have rock walls. Of all the strange things we found when we moved to NW Washington was that there are rock walls here - lots of them - we even have one. This area is the foothills of Mt. Baker and has dips, valleys, canyons and hills - so to even up property for building there are often dry rock walls built. I got to watch one being built one time - they use huge boulders in most of them and heavy equipment to lift the boulders. One man sites the boulder, one directs the heavy equipment operator - and of course one is placing the stone with his giant machine. They firm up the boulders with smaller rocks and stones - and the walls are ready to hold back the land forever.

There are a few old fashioned rock walls - hand built and sturdy too - I take photos of them whenever I come across them.

MorningAJ said...

Oh he'll fix it before you need to keep stock under control in the field. But while it's just grass it's not likely to run away!

Athira Rajkamal said...

"Something there is that doesn't love a wall"

'mending wall' is one of my favourite Frost poems... While reading it I used to rack my brains trying to picture the whole scenario, of coming together to put in place the boulders...
After reading your blog, I can see clearly in my mind what he meant .. :-)

Cloudia said...

Companionable and always interesting.



Aloha

Maureen @ Josephina Ballerina said...

The ending made me chuckle -a lot.

I also notice you have your favorite little yellow flower as your new banner. Pretty.

angryparsnip said...

What a wonderful post today.

cheers, parsnip

Midlife Roadtripper said...

What is it about those men? My husband can never take up my suggestions. Now, if some guy came up after me and suggested the same thing - then - then - it might get done in the way I originally suggested.