Farm Life, Living with Nature, Uncategorized, Uvie Farm

New openings; new energies

The new gateway is made but still wired. The gate is hung and swings between the closing post and the line wire against which it may be held open. There is an opening but no passageway. The animals cannot yet move between the muddy calving paddock and the hayfield where they will dry off their hooves, expose their damp coats to drying breezes.
There is risk though – a pregnant mother will take herself away to find a secluded corner; there is no shelter here from rainladen westerlies that batter the house now. Winds like this suck warmth from a newborn, mock the efforts of cramped new legs to unfurl and support small weight long enough to latch onto a lifegiving teat.
So, for the time being I leave the animals where they are guarranteed shelter – it is another night of storms.
Water is now the language of the landscape. Two nights of heavy rain, with hilltop snow melting in the mild weather, has swelled the river Spey to the top of the flood banks and beyond. The curling depressions in the valley floor floodcarved now supply alternative passage to the ambition of water; skyreflecting meadows replace fields of tussocky whitegrass.
The water sluicing under the farm road travels as a small fierce torrent to the field fence where it disappears. In previous years it spread across the top of the field, where rushes began to overtake the grass. Five years ago I dug a drain- that clogged. Chris cleared it last summer – and now I check the outflow to the pond to find a healthy rope of clear water twisting into the pond. I am pleased by this modest success in improving a few square yards of pasture. It is a sort of testimonial to my tenure.
The gateway also represents a new conduit for the life of the farm, another phrase in the language of the place.
I need more stones to bind the gatepost: they may be in the burn, released by the flow of water. I slosh upstream, intent on the watercourse, my attention to the task blending with’ the forgotten pleasure in having water running around my wellies.