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"We all learnt a great deal about Farming - it helped the children to understand the idea of Farming more. A real hands on experience!"

By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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August 2016

August 2016

11 Jul 2016

Englefield Schools Days were yet again an outstanding success.  Local primary schools are invited to Englefield Estate on two days in June.  They arrive, and feast on a huge diet of experiences that only the Estate can offer, and all nestled in the landscape of this beautiful part of England.  An Anderson shelter, the local church, a tour of the House, the Estate yard, steam engines, wagons, ferret racing, sheep shearing, forestry, game keeping and, of course, trailer rides keep the children busy all day. It is always a happy occasion, with clusters of children being shepherded by teachers in outdoor education dress and mode. There is also the farming section, where milking is demonstrated by a wooden cow, while the real pedigree Englefield Hereford one proudly shows what her milk can do when it all goes to the calf she has borne. There is a long line of tractors and machinery old and new, and the story of wheat.

That’s my job, starting with the ploughing and planting of the crop in the autumn through to harvest. What do farmers do?  Is it just to produce food and crops that benefit us, or to be good stewards of the land? If one grain is planted how many grains are produced? Was Jesus right in the parable of the sower – thirty, sixty, or one hundred fold, and does where the seed falls really matter? The children examine an ear of wheat, look at the yellow stamens producing hay fever pollen and the tiny featherlike stigma which catch the annoying stuff. Yes, one ear of wheat can produce 60 grains but from one seed there can be 10 ears or more.  Something to go WOW about, and all in the vital 28 plus days of grain fill!  Then, a quick lesson in hand grinding wheat and energy use and how to make bread.  Yes, it is just ground wheat, water, yeast, some salt, a little sugar and maybe some oil and it is life-sustaining.  Finally, the opportunity to sample “one I made earlier” and off to the next stand, or sit in the sun, have a break and watch the swallows gathering food for their broods.

John Bishop