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By Reading School Year 4 teacher

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Farmer John’s February ’15 blog

Farmer John’s February ’15 blog

27 Nov 2015

A large number of years ago I went to Arctic Sweden on a six week expedition. I was part of the natural history fire. During the scientific phase my brief was to collect mosses and lichens for the Natural History Museum in London. I had never been particularly interested in these curious forms of greenery and haven’t been since. However, I had noticed that they are now more evident in recent years because of the absence of acid rain. The other day, walking through Great House Woods there were masses of mosses covering the bases of trees and any fallen timber. The almost florescent green was a striking contrast to the fallen leaves and deadness of the surrounding woodland. Probably with moist conditions and sunlight penetrating the normally dark canopy, winter is their time. Far from being just green decoration, mosses are said to create forests in their own right with excellent habitats for other plants, insects, frogs and fungi. The nearby motorway was busy and I wondered whether the natural world reacts to the constant noise and fumes from the M4. After all, some of us at times do get quite annoyed. The winter sun was low and yet so bright as I walked toward Rushall. You can’t look at the sun and yet its light sustains everything we do.
So, spring is on its way. Hazel catkins, primroses, snowdrops and the woodlands change every day. So does farming, except for prices. This year values of wheat and other grains are the same as they were in 1984. The farming press reports the low morale prevalent in farmers throughout Europe…….pause for sympathy for such a vital industry. Lambing will start later this month and the cows should be nearly finished calving. There was plenty of good silage made last year and a new Keenan feeder ensures the correct mixed diet for all the animals. We are expecting good numbers of school parties and other visitors.
You are always welcome to park at Rushall Manor and enjoy the opportunity to walk from there or perhaps just sit and enjoy.