I've reported it before and it won't be the last time. Hard frosts mean hard ground, clear skies mean dry weather (cold or no cold) so there is only one thing on the mind of every farmer round here today. A clue - even if the weather wasn't freezing cold, keep all doors and windows firmly shut. Muck is on the move.
We house the dry (in calf) cattle for our friend and neighbour every year. They come in at the end of October and they go out some time in April. Once during that time they are cleaned out and all the accumulated manure is removed, piled up in one of the fields and left to warm up and rot down for spreading later in the year. Today's the day. Later on the farmer will spread new clean straw.
The cows love it because now and again during the process they manage to slip out into the yard and stand with the sun on their backs. There is no doubt that given the chance they would sooner be out than in. The sheep also love it because the muck heap, which grows longer and higher by the hour, soon warms up and provides a
rather nice place to sleep on a cold night. Apart from which sheep have a philosophy which says ' if there is a hill, climb it'.
As the day progresses, so the sun disappears behind the gathering clouds. When it is out the sun shines into the front of the farmhouse and makes the rooms lovely and warm. That warmth has gone now and the cold is closing in. In the distance the sun is shining on the North York Moors, which are covered in snow. There is plenty of it still hanging on (waiting for more to come?)
I am putting on some photographs I took on Tess's lunch time walk. The one of the paddock, where there is a little snow left, clearly shows how the snow has delineated the medieval field system, showing up the snow in the furrows while the snow has melted on the ridges.
A strong east wind, direct from Siberia, is forecast for the rest of the week - so plenty of logs in, slippers by the fire and keep warm is to be my mantra.