2013 – Big Bales and Blackberries in Abundance

1I should start by wishing all our friends, real and imaginary, on Facebook and all the very best for 2014.

In tomorrow morning’s issue of The Maine Valley Post we’re taking you back on a photographic journey through the twelve months just gone.

This is the first of our monthly publications and we sincerely hope that our followers and loyal readers will enjoy the journey.

We also wish to take this opportunity to thank all those who sent messages of support – by one mode of technology or another – since our launch at the end of August.

To our advertisers and columnists, occasional contributors, constructive reviewers and well-meaning advisers – we wish you continued vigour in your every step throughout the year.

In looking back through the year that was 2013 one can’t but recall the deep sense of anxiety and foreboding felt right throughout the farming community in the early part of the year.

That dreadful feeling of despair continued right through May and almost into June before growth began to appear in the perished fields.

If the inclement weather stretched its icy fingers deep into the first half of the year its counterpart warmed and caressed every fibre of growth to well beyond its time.

If any plant epitomised this feeling of bounty it was the berry laden briars. Over the past few years Blackberries got a terrible doing and never got a chance to bloom or ripen. They rotted in their sockets from the constant rain.

In 2013 they bloomed with abandon as wave after wave flowered, greened, reddened and darkened in the kind of timely procession that we should have been ashamed to miss.

If Blackberries and Haws and the like were the least of your troubles and your mind and eyes were on the bigger picture you will have seen bees and farmers making the most of the summer-long harvest. They both suffered badly in the run-up to this period of plenty. They both had dug deeply into ever depleting stocks and were on their last legs when the heat of the sun and the softness of the summer rain came to the rescue.

Of course, personal experience will mark out the past year as bad or good for many people.

However, if 2014 is anything like its predecessor in the weather department it will be all right. It will, after all, be the final year of free water. Enjoy it and good health to you all. – John Reidy  14-1-2014

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©Photographs: John Reidy