It’s been an unusual day.
I started the standard round of ffarm chores relatively early, before the sun had even slipped over the treetops in the valley; although of course the days are growing ever shorter with the subtly relentless onset of autumn. There was a heavy dew on the grass; so thick it coated each blade with a pale ghost of silvery droplets, translucent in shadow & diamond-bright where the sun cast its early spell. The sky was perfect, brilliant blue; the air, clear & still; one of those days of tranquil, almost ethereal, beauty.
I drifted peacefully through the morning, despite the tangle of the goats as they jostled for their breakfast, bustled onto the milking stands & hurried out into the sunlit pasture; with the whinnying of the ponies, clucking of chickens, quacking of ducks, honking of geese & grunting of the pigs all adding to the general cacophany. But the chorus quickly quietened as the near-sacrosanct silence rubbed off on all the animal acolytes; the Ffarmyard had the hush of a temple, so magical was the loveliness of the day – indeed there was something sacred in the air of this ancient landscape & we all felt it to our core.
I did a little work in the greenhouse & hothouse; cleaned out the hens, & took Nanuk for an energetic walk, before submitting to hunger & tucking into a simple meal of conchiglie pasta with basil & coriander pesto supplemented with some freshly-picked herb salad. To follow I tested myself with a variety of quality homemade cheeses & some selected biscuits. The more robust cheeses were married with my formidable pickled onions; the lighter ones were accompanied with a handful of plump purple plums freshly selected from the tree in the orchard & by a tumbling vine of ripe, golden ‘Sun Baby’ tomatoes plus one of my more ‘gentle’ chutneys. The whole made a satisfyingly delicious lunch – albeit I am ever-critical of my cheeses, so perhaps do not unreservedly open myself to the complexity of their flavours, quite as I should.
The necessary growl of a tractor engine interrupted the sanctity of the afternoon: Will was turning the hay Lloyd had cut for us late yesterday evening. Confusing feelings of gratitude for our friend whisking across the field coupled with the mildly grating annoyance at the peace of the afternoon being interrupted, were soon shoved squarely into context as an old RAF pal of mine who was in the area decided to give me an impromptu (but mercifully & carefully high!) aerobatics display in his Tornado aircraft, whilst obviously enjoying our local scenery (judging by the number of ‘circuits’ he performed over Ffarm Fach). It felt so strange, as I scattered pig nuts to an appreciative audience in the sty, to be studiously aware of the multi-million £’s worth of technology twisting & turning in a complex aerial ballet overhead; whilst I performed such a simple, earthy, but vital act – both, so close to all that I am; yet now, the military manouevres, a world away from where & indeed who I once was.
I hurried down to the barns to commence evening chores earlier than usual as I wanted to help our neighbouring farm with their hay crop; however they’d started earlier than I’d anticipated so by the time I called in to visit friends after finishing the evening milking, the hay was already stacked in the barn. I gratefully spent a few pleasurable hours in the company of friends Janet & John, before returning reluctantly home to give the kids their last feed of the day, which was the usual ‘scrum’ over who-has-which-bottle.
I switched off the ffarmyard light & gazed up at the sky: whilst the day had lived up to its’ promise of tranquil beauty, the stars were also certainly rising to the occasion with the moonless night all the more startling for a superb view of the Milky Way (uninterrupted by light pollution); the deep, complex web of stars weaving a delicate, misty trace which arched gracefully overhead from dark horizon to dark horizon.
A perfect day such as this, is all too seldom.