February fill dyke

This photograph of nearby fields is my take on an old country saying ‘February fill the dyke, be it black or be it white; but if it be white, it’s the better to like.’ The saying perfectly describes early February when full dykes or ditches is a good sign that there is a plentiful and vital supply of water in the ground for the crops growing in the months ahead. The water can be from rain (black) or snow (white). Good for the crops, but not quite so good for walkers wishing to use footpaths. Sturdy, waterproof boots are certainly required.

There is a famous painting with the same name by Benjamin Williams Leader, first exhibited in 1881. February Fill Dyke was greeted with lukewarm reviews when it was exhibited at the Royal Academy but it became popular at later showings in Manchester for the Royal Jubilee Exhibition.

February fill dyke by Benjamin Williams Leader 1881

My search for more information about the painting revealed that the scene was not painted in February but is actually a November evening after rain. Artistic license perhaps? Having discovered that, I have no qualms about telling you that my photo was taken in January and not February!