Waking up (472 days to go)

by Max Akroyd

With all four kids off school for the holiday, family time and the mundane chores around the smallholding take centre stage, and rightly so. When the time comes, I don’t think I’ll lie on my deathbed bemoaning the lack of time I spent with beetroot seeds.

The fragments of time left over for this project are few and far between but there are possible areas of overlap. I’d saved things like planting potatoes and broad beans for just these occasions, really child-friendly jobs. But then the frosts returned, making the soil inaccessible. The scene, then, is slightly different from the one I’d envisaged: me and my daughter doing lots of pruning while the boys swirl around on their bikes… We started work on our new chicken barn but then my pick snapped, testimony to the power of levers rather than my own brute strength!

Maybe it’s just saying I should give in and tread water for a while.

But, despite yet another cold snap, I can feel nature’s force massing beneath the surface. With the lengthening daylight it will brush off the cold and pierce the surface, breaking into the light and into our dreams. Somewhere in the forest the adders are waking up.