Well it’s about time. I mean by that it’s about time that it was spring. (I don’t think being nice to poets ought to be seasonal, it lures them into complacency).
People were beginning to wonder whether it was going to show up at all, or whether we were going to do what we did last year, have two weeks of summer early then go straight into autumn.
At last we’ve got the first signs of grass, there’s this hint of green. Indeed if I’m not smart enough to work out an excuse for putting a few ewes on the lawn I might even have to get the lawn mower out. So yes, spring might actually be happening, and about time to.
I’ve been helping out a bit with FCN, or the Farm Community Network (http://www.fcn.org.uk/) and you soon realise that some people have been finding it tough. In Cumbria we haven’t had a decent summer for two years, I’ve talked to folk who last year got less than half the fodder they needed to carry their dairy herd through the winter, and they’ve been forced to buy in feed. I know families where each month since Christmas they’ve spent more than their annual profit on feed alone. So each month winter has continued, they’ve gone another year into debt. By January, they knew they’d make no money this year. By the start of February, 2014 was a bust as well. Anyway I’m sure you can get the picture, I’m not going to labour the point.
But now, at last, it feels as if spring is here. To be honest, it’s my favourite time of year. Yes, summer’s OK, autumn with the colours can be spectacular, especially when you get up into the Lake District. But it’s spring which shows this area off to perfection.
What I really love is when you look round and see a million different shades of green, each subtly different, and as the sun moves, they all change. I don’t think anywhere in the world does spring half as well as England, and to be honest, nowhere in England does spring half as well as Furness.
Looks like it’s probably time I got the puncture fixed on my pushbike, it seems that I might need it again. Frankly this winter, when it wasn’t raining it was blowing a gale, so the bike stayed carefully put away and the front tyre was a job I’d get round to. But spring is here, life is starting, lambs are putting good taste and dignity to one side and are gambolling. I walked down one track and the air was heavy with the scent of gorse, blackthorn is in bloom and the bird song can be deafening at times. We’ve done it, we’ve lived through another winter, we’re out the other side, we’ve won another year for ourselves.
Oh yes, and I mentioned poets. I bet you never realised that farmers are very like poets. You see, neither farmers nor poets can honestly claim to be involved in an economic activity.