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Farmer John’s May 2012 Blog

Farmer John’s May 2012 Blog

5 May 2012

The other day some friends came round for the evening. Just as they arrived a people carrier and car pulled up outside the house.

The other day some friends came round for the evening. Just as they arrived a people carrier and car pulled up outside the house. Eleven men, ranging from 15 to 60, emerged from the over laden vehicles, enquiring of the need for a walk and some proper fresh country air. They were Orthodox Jews from Hackney dressed with hats or skull caps, black suits, hair appropriately shaved with ringlets and beards if old enough. One, the older man, was the Rabbi. I directed them to the barn to see the foster lambs, donkeys and cows and suggested a stroll across Oaktree Meadow through ewes and twins to the Black Barn, and returned to our guests. The evening passed and our friends went home, but although it was after 11pm we still had 2 vehicles outside the house. I decided to track the walkers down and eventually met this band of Old Testament figures happily striding out of Stanford Dingley none the worse for their 8 mile hike. Back at the farm they nervously gathered in our kitchen, but were soon chattering together in Yiddish and sang some songs in Hebrew while their kettle boiled our water to make their coffee with kosher milk in their cups. It was a simple reward for the evening’s activity. I embarked on a long conversation with the Rabbi about Moses and the Torah, Abraham, Isaiah, good and evil (all had German family connections). We talked of our love of the first bit of the Bible, whether God chooses us or we choose Him, and then they went home and we went to bed. Some things change but these Orthodox Jews are still faithful to their traditions and teaching of at least 2000 years ago.

Another thing that doesn’t change is the totally unpredictable nature of our weather. We have just had the highest April rainfall since records began. My boss William Cumber reported despairingly how 400 acres of his farm was under water and his 80 cows and calves needed to be rehoused. We were both convinced 2 weeks ago that a 1976 drought was an absolute certainty for 2012.

John Bishop