Wednesday, 4 November 2009

The Pasture - all in a day`s work

I remember this poem from childhood. Somehow it conveys the simple pleasures of husbanding the land and caring for animals as part of everyday life.

The Pasture

I`m going out to clean the pasture spring;
I`ll only stop to rake the leaves away
(And wait to watch the water clear, I may):
I shan`t be gone long.-You come too.

I`m going out to fetch the little calf
That`s standing by the mother. It`s so young,
It totters when she licks it with her tongue.
I shan`t be gone long. - You come too.

Robert Frost

A day of sunshine interspersed with squally showers. I spent as much time as I could outside, clearing up the paddocks and digging rosettes of young ragwort plants out of the grass. The ragwort has all gone into an old feed sack to be burned on the next bonfire. The wretched poisonous weed seems to regrow if just a fraction of root is left in the ground and the seeds blow in on the wind. Thankfully it is not palatable when growing fresh, but dried parts of the plant can easily be eaten by mistake.

These day by day jobs in the fields seem a chore, but they give time to be part of the life of the land. The ponies follow me around for a friendly word and a rub or a scratch. I might bring a brush to fluff up their winter coats against the cold. Wagtails and meadow pipits go about their business, finding insects to eat . Blackbirds squabble over hawthorn berries in the hedge. A red admiral butterfly passes and seems to be flying south, maybe on a migration route across the channel.

The last wheelbarrow is emptied onto the muck heap and I am warm from the exercise. There is a sense of satisfaction as I leave a cleaner field, but with each pony producing twelve piles of manure a day, I know I shall be back again tomorrow!


Morning's Minion said...

I was thinking of Robert Frost today. His Vermont home was about a half hour drive from where we lived.
You might enjoy the above link which describes the Robert Frost trail.
I'm interested to learn how many piles of manure a horse may produce in a day!

Dartford Warbler said...

Thank you for that link MM. I shall have a look.

The poo picking....well, we have six to clear up after so that makes seventy two piles every twenty four hours! Thankfully I do have some help a few times a week.

I expect you have the same "pleasure" with Pebbles? Hoping that she is better now.

Bovey Belle said...

Ah, the joy of poo picking . . .

Thank you for the Robert Frost poem. That's a new one to me.