HAVING been treading water, literally, and making little progress with field work throughout the long winter months, now that spring has arrived there are so many jobs to do and it is difficult to know just where to begin.
The ground conditions last weekend were perfect for planting but now once again the fields are too wet; it doesn’t take much rain to make the fields impassable as the water table is still so very high.
The temperature is soaring, the sun shining and the wind rustling the non existing leaves in the trees.
The soil temperature is warming up which will encourage seeds to germinate and the grass will grow which is good for livestock but not so welcome in the garden.
Tasks this week will include, as soon as ground conditions allow, further drilling of Spring Barley, a second sprinkling of nitrogen on the Winter Wheat and getting cracking with crop spraying.
While busy with the farm we are also turning round three residential properties, a task which always takes longer than expected.
It is unusual to have three vacated at the same time but it is an opportunity to decorate and modernise. For all but one I have tenants standing by impatient to move in, the third will take longer to complete but I am confident this lovely property will very soon be occupied.
Next weekend the wedding season begins, the lawns need mowing and we are busy with spring cleaning.
Spring brings promise, excitement and a sense of opportunity as we finally see the back of the long winter! It brings with it a sense of purpose as each morning as dawn arrives, knowing there are crops growing, livestock ready to go out to pasture and many jobs can finally be tackled.
Direct drilling is becoming increasingly popular, this method of sowing crops reduces the need to disturb the soil which helps maintain and increase the worm population, an essential workhorse for healthy seedbeds, and also at this time of year when there can be a risk of drought, conserves moisture in the soil.
It is interesting to hear that this farming method is now being trialled in Malawi.
Listening to a local farmer who has seen his maize crop more than double in yield, one has to wonder why this form of agriculture has not been encouraged in countries where drought is a real problem. There has been too much hoeing, ground cultivations and soil disturbance which has resulted in soil erosion and the loss of precious moisture, let us hope direct drilling becomes widely used and yields respond accordingly.
*A week has now gone by since the announcement that Baroness Thatcher had died. Since when the acres of newsprint and hours of programmes dedicated to her life and times have been a reflection of the towering figure she was as prime minister and an international stateswoman.
The tributes expressed from across the country and all corners of the globe have far outweighed the pathetic whimpering of an insignificant minority of detractors.
The legacy which our first woman prime minister left behind has been a country where aspiration, hard work and individualism could thrive.
She believed that society was made up of individuals all of whom should have the opportunity to achieve prosperity and be successful if they were prepared to work hard.
She believed in low taxes, small government and allowing people to live their own lives.
By encouraging prosperity at a time when the country was in serious decline she vastly improved productivilty our country’s reputation in the world.
Her leadership allowed people to own their own house and start their own businesses.
She recognised bureaucracy and red tape were unhelpful and a hindrance to progress. She was brave and determined and never sought out popularity and she took what she considered was the right course. As has been said “to make an omelette you need to break a few eggs!”
I wonder if Mrs Thatcher had been a man she would have attracted quite so much attention, been so effective, raised such passions and would so many acres of newsprint and discussions been dedicated to analysing her legacy. We shall never know.
It was a privilege to have known her briefly and witness first hand her thoughtfulness and determination.
I am sure by now she is reunited with Dennis who would have been waiting with a stiff whiskey, and many of her ‘true’ friends.
Carola Godman Irvine