I love winter. The crisp, frosty mornings, cosy nights snuggled up in front of the television with the dogs, hearty casseroles and mince pies, fresh out of the oven (yes, it’s acceptable to eat them in January and February, well, it is in this house). I know many who wouldn’t agree and long for the warmth of summer to return, but for me, each season has their own role and winter is no less endearing.
This year, I am planning on writing a series of seasonal updates, so keep an eye out for an overview of what winter looks like on the farm. For the time being, here is a poem I wrote, inspired by the soothing morning ritual of my father and many other livestock farmers throughout these chillier months…
The Morning Routine
Peach tones unfold above the hedges,
Rustling leaves and birdsong drift through the morning air,
The dew begins to lift, as the farmyard springs into life.
With the turn of a key,
The cows are awoken by the familiar sound of breakfast;
One by one, scruffy heads appear at the front of the shed,
A chorus of moos, directing the sweet smelling silage bale towards them.
Amongst the jostling to be the first to take a mouthful,
Hierarchy is easily observed,
As a deep red figure stands rooted to the spot,
Tucking in. Oblivious to all the squabbling.
Her width and height create an imposing sight,
But it’s the steadfast, focused expression,
Which dissuades others from interrupting her munching.
Whilst mothers are occupied,
Their offspring turn feral,
Fighting and frolicking around the deserted straw bed.
Those few minutes of freedom are cherished by all,
Until instinct kicks in, the one only a parent knows;
As she slowly turns and scans the scene,
To see her precious daughter, playing roughly,
With the equivalent of an unwashed teen.
The merry atmosphere shatters,
As with one, furious look, the other calves scatter.
Outside the cowshed, the atmosphere is bustling,
As each species is enticed from their slumber,
By the tinkling of cascading grains,
And splashes of fresh water.
With the stillness quickly fading,
A pause for a breath to assess the day,
Reveals a black cat in the bushes, stalking their prey.
Villagers’ voices trickling down from the lanes,
A reminder that the world is awake, once again;
With everybody now content,
It’s time to head inside, for some steaming porridge, or homegrown eggs.