Spring is here!

After the coldest March in 50 years finally spring seems to be springing.image-1.jpg

It certainly did not happen on the 21st March as the calendar dictates it should, but I do believe that we are crawling out from under the cloak of winter. I believe this for four reasons:

~We saw the first swallows perched on the telephone wires last weekend – about two weeks later than normal for our farmyard.

~The willow in the hedgerows is in bud; lovely furry, yellow-tinged bud.

~I have cut the lawn for the first time this year. So ok it probably needed tidying up a few weeks ago but there has been minimal growth until now and what is there is yellow.

~Whilst mucking out the bullpen I had to remove two layers of clothing, finishing the job in a positively balmy heat!

It makes such a difference not having to light the fire first thing. At least though the tons of wood we have burnt are free. I feel rather sorry for all those enslaved to the dispassionate energy companies for all their heating. Our wood is from the hedgerows: either dead elm (from the second round of Dutch elm disease when it hit all the next generation of young trees) or from the extensive programme of hedge-laying we have conducted on the farm over the last few winters. This is all part of an environmental stewardship programme that we signed into: an agri-environment government-funded scheme to enhance the countryside by encouraging farmers to adopt wildlife-friendly management strategies.

Rob says burning wood keeps him warm three times: cutting it out of the hedges; hauling it back to the barns to chop up; and then finally the cosy glow from the woodburner that we all enjoy.



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