Seth Pascoe envies early spring on return to UK

I took a break from the winter landscape of southern Alberta and returned to England last month. While driving around in a hire car, I felt envious of the flurry of activity going on across the countryside.

Spring had certainly sprung, with daffodils in the hedgerows, lambs scampering around fields and tractors busy top dressing. Also, I take my hat off to the craftsman who did a cracking job of hedgelaying somewhere alongside the A43. I was less impressed, however, when I stopped to refuel the car. Daylight robbery.

Returning to Canada I was relieved to see most of the snow had melted. But it didn’t last long, as the following day I woke to find another four inches of heavy snow. March was in like a lion and out like a bear with a sore head, chilblains and an upset stomach. It won’t be an early spring on the Prairies.

Daytime temperatures are slowly creeping up and the snow is melting, but the ground is still frozen. There are huge volumes of meltwater with nowhere to go. Ditches are packed with snow and drainage is slow or non-existent. Most low areas in fields are now lakes. It will be a soggy start to the season here.

Nevertheless, spring wheat seed is on the farm, we are trucking potato seed, cultivators have new steel on them, fertiliser is bought and the John Deere fleet is clean, serviced and ready to roll. I’m convinced the winter wheat is greening up – it’s a pity that four hectares are under water and occupied by a smug-looking flock of hungry Canada geese.

A week of Alberta Chinook winds and sunshine and we’ll be into the spring planting campaign. Come on Mother Nature, poke Father Winter with a stick and chase him away, it’s time for spring to arrive.


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