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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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Farmer John’s December ’15 blog

Farmer John’s December ’15 blog

27 Nov 2015

Three of our grandchildren arrived on Wednesday to be placed in “our care” for 48 hours. The leader of the pack Eli, aged five, wanted to build a tree house.  He is very focused and single minded.  With the need to hand back in much the same condition as received in mind, I managed to negotiate the construction of a simple shelter.  While I paused for a cup of tea with my daughter he raided the shed and soon had a wheelbarrow load of loppers, secateurs, saws, axes (large), string, bricks and, for some reason, jam jars.

I sighed as we trundled to the woods, Olivia aged three and Isaac two, at heal. We quickly had the main frame in place like an old ridge tent, hazel tied both sides and bracken woven in to limit the effect of the light rain which was falling. The floor was swept with a homemade witches broom and much time was devoted to shaving a rotten stem of wood which featured in the design.  Occasional shouts of pain occurred as the axe hit the user rather than the tree. No evidence of blood assured me that the damage would merely appear as a bruise.

With picnic lunch came matches, and several boxes later we had a small fire.  Jumping over the fire or through the smoke was the next game before the serious business of making the MIX; leaves, acorns, clay, dirt and water. The hours simply went by just as they had done when I was the same age.  It was, after all, the reason I chose to go into farming and look after sheep.

Not so for the shepherds in the time of Jesus.  They had no choices.  Shepherds were despised and considered only just above the animals in their care.  They couldn’t testify in a court of law and were uneducated, rough, and not to be trusted.  But they witnessed the heavenly host of angels, they were told not to fear, they were given instructions where the Messiah had been born.  They went and found Jesus and assured Mary in the confusion of the circumstances that it was all OK. A mystery isn’t it? And I never did know what those jam jars were for. That’s another mystery.