Thursday, 10 May 2018

A year in the fields

During spring 2017 I took some images showing the rapid change as a "green wave" of fresh growth spread across the farmlands close to home, developing into summer gold. I hoped to continue a series of images taken through the year from the same viewpoint to show the change as the wheel of the seasons turned.

21st April 207 and the "green wave" was just starting; the fields changing almost daily as barley began to push through the soil.  All the fields in this image apart from the two at lower left had been sown a couple of weeks previously, the other two were kept under gras through the winter.

Just over a month later, in the second half of May and the change is really noticeable.  Lush growth despite a somewhat cool spring had given a good start to the season.

By mid June the barley was fully formed and beginning to take a slight golden colour; a cut had been taken from one of the grass fields.

Mid August and the barley was ripening fast, a litlle later than in an average year as the summer remained cool and changeable.  The field (fields are known as "parks" here in the north east) at lower right contains potatoes.

Most of the barley crop was cut in mid to late September - by 4th October the harvest was home and the fields were dotted with "tractor eggs" waiting to be stacked as winter feed and bedding for the Aberdeen Angus cattle.

November brought the start of winter, sweeping showers of hail trailing across the landscape.  The "tatties" were all harvested and the stacks of hay bales can be sen close by the farm.

The top field in this image had contained barley, undersown with grass.  Once the barley was down the grass could continue growing, giving an early start for grazing.

Late November and all was quiet as the winter shutdown began - the sun dropping lower by the day.

Early December and winter's grip tightened; spells of snow becoming more frequent.  Late December into January had less snow than usual, but the winter had still plenty of bite to come.

By mid February the farming year had begun again, fields gradually going under the plough to start the turn of the wheel again.

February and March brought the worst of the winter, as is often the case here.  Falls of snow built up rapidly - this image was taken at the start of a run of bitter easterly weather which lasted most of the month.

On 28th April, there wasn't much growth to be seen, just the green of the grass parks breaking the bare brown palette of the area.  It's interesting to contrast this image with the first in this post - taken a year previously and a week earlier.  The effect of a cold, prolonged winter is clear to see, the crop about three weeks behind already at this early part of the year.

The migrant birds have been affected by the cold conditions too, we usually see our first Swallows and House Martins on about 20th April, this year it was 28th April, and just a day later we had Willow Warblers and heard the first Cuckoo on 30th April - all very compressed compared to a "normal" year.

On 6th May the change is in full swing though, the green wave washing across the land.  A warm spell has helped to bring things on after a really slow start.

So that was a year in the fields, and the wheel continues to turn.......


  1. Nice set. Like the splash of yellow gorse in spring. Much better harvests on the east coast. I think they have all but given up trying to collect harvests in the west but I do remember seeing hay harvests and hay stacks here as a boy, unless summers were drier then around Glasgow.

  2. Thanks Bob, it was an interesting process to document the same view over a year, and I'm currently doing the same with a bit of a wider view. Summers were possibly a bit more stable formerly, but I guess the east coast has always had the better farming ground