By Harriet Kent
As I write, there are a few visible spindly green shoots in the garden, where last autumn I enthusiastically planted countless spring bulbs. However, our little furry bobtailed neighbours, with equal enthusiasm, burrowed into the ground where bulbs were planted and munched their way through many of them! Even the winter onion shoots didn’t escape their attentions, and endured a ‘little trim’.
The evenings are drawing out little by little, which is a blessing to all those equestrians and farmers. No more dragging ponies through muddy gateways in the dark to their stables, not knowing where the deepest divots lie as you bumble your way through the field. You can always guarantee your wellington boot will find them! No more juggling the workday with the daily double commute to the livery yard as the fight for a little more daylight lessens.
A few years back, I kept my horse at livery where the fields would turn particularly boggy in winter. The yard owner was easy-going and allowed us to keep the horses out all year round. At that time, I had the misfortune to have to go to work in the dark and come home in the dark (many of us still do). Luckily our horses, when called from the gateway, would gallop across the field without us having to do the muddy trek to fetch them. The sound of galloping hooves in the pitch black was a little unnerving, not to mention the field resembling a boggy mess.
One afternoon, arriving somewhat earlier in the weakening daylight, my friend went to get our horses in. That was the day they decided not to gallop across to greet her. She had no sooner walked beyond the chalk-based track, head collars in hand, that she got both feet stuck in the sinking quagmire. As she tried to free herself, she lost balance and stumbled out of her boots into the cold, claggy mire and ended up on all fours!
Needless to say, a few choice words were expleted, and there were mud-encrusted clothes and bemused equines, who spooked at the footwear! I was duly nominated to retrieve said boots.
So, come on springtime – we’re done with the mud and are ready for you!As I write, there are a few visible spindly green shoots in the garden, where last autumn I enthusiastically planted countless spring bulbs