March on the Farm (2022)

Green Woodpecker. Photo: John Sheppard

Richard Fonge writes:

March the first month of Spring. Bird song, new life and growth are all around us. This year the sound of the woodpecker tapping away has been sadly missing for some reason. The ash trees up the Moreton Rd are a favourite location as are the Manor trees, but quieter this year. Roe deer are to be seen on the farmland adjacent to the village, usually in groups of four, as are the muntjac deer, a much smaller deer who are voracious eaters of vegetation in gardens and woodlands and along with the grey squirrel need to be controlled when planting any size of woodland.

This week I witnessed a special sight of three pairs of hares charging around in a field, with one pair having a boxing match. There were also three more hares in a field of some twenty acres. What a privilege to be in the countryside at this time of year!

The crops are coming out of winter with most of them having had their first application of nitrogen fertiliser. The barley up Barrow hill will soon be turning green from its rather yellow colour, the oil seed rape on the Moreton Rd is beginning to come into flower, the beans on the Stuchbury path and what I think are oats planted up the concrete Rd are all starting to grow.

March is the main lambing month, and soon the fields across to Weston will be filling up with them. It is so important therefore to keep to the countryside code and keep dogs on leads at all times when walking through stock, and do remember dog faeces need bagging up at all time.

Presenters of countryside programmes and others have the annoying habit to those of us who are countrymen of not using the correct terminology and trying to sanitise the reality of nature at work, and using human terms. For example. Cows have calves, birds hatch chicks, dogs have puppies, they do not have babies. Cattle, sheep and horses produce dung or muck, not “poo”!

Another factor not always understood is that when a lamb, calf, foal or whatever is weaned from its mother, they have completely forgotten each other within a two or three days.

A true event involving cattle manure was an instalment of “Keeping up Appearances” filmed near Leamington Spa where the sitcom was set. A near neighbour of mine had to drive his full muck spreader down a lane and as Mrs Bucket approached in a car, start to spread the muck!

Richard Fonge.



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