Getting ready for spring work 

Back in 1908 Henry Stephens commented on the “spring preliminaries”, an important part of the spring work.

This is what he said about them:

“But besides field operations, other matters require attention ere spring work come.  The implements required for field work, great and small, have to be repaired,-the plough-irons new laid; the harrow-tines new laid; the harrow-tines new laid, sharpened, and firmly fastened; the harness tight and strong; the sacks patched and darned, that no seed-corn be spilt upon the road; the seed-corn threshed, measured up, and sacked, and what may be last wanted put into the granary; the horses new shod, that no casting or breaking of a single shoe may throw a pair of horses out of work for even a single hour;-in short, to have everything ready to start for the work whenever the first notice of spring shall be heralded in the sky.”

Quite a lot of preliminaries to undertake – and no doubt a few trips to the blacksmith as well!

You can read more about spring work from Henry Stephens’ Book of the Farm, 1908, at

Photograph: Getting ready for spring work at Pilmuir, Balerno, Midlothian, 1990s.

© 2016 Heather Holmes