All in The Farmer's Year

March: Threshing

Quiet lies upon the fields and the wood this morning. No one is 'at plough', no one is carting. One might wonder what has happened but the familiar humming noise comes up from the rickyard, and skeins of black smoke are blurring the outlines of the leafless elms. Let us walk down to the farm, for surely this means they are threshing . . .

January, Lambing

Out on the wold the shepherd sat huddled in his hut over the charcoal stove ... A bleat roused him. At his feet by the stove lay his latest newborn, lanky and damp. He turned it over and stretched out for the bottle of warm milk. First tying the teat himself, he placed it in the lamb's mouth. Tenderly, with all the wisdom of over fifty lambing seasons, he seemed to breathe life into the inert huddled mass of legs, gently caressing the tiny body that was hardly as big as one of his own enormous hands. 

A Calendar of English Husbandry

'In the early 1930s Clare Leighton began work on a sequence of wood engravings depicting traditional farming in England over the course of a calendar year. The country was in the grips of the Great Depression at the time. Unemployment had doubled. Hunger marches were beginning to spread through towns and cities. Machines were replacing men and women on the land . . .