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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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July 2018

July 2018

10 Jul 2018

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March 2018

March 2018

14 Mar 2018

How do you continue with school visits to Rushall Farm when the wind chill is minus two degrees? We were expecting the phone call from the lead teacher of the Holt School, Wokingham the Monday morning 7-30am. “What contingency plan did we have in place?”  Knowing that many children coming here are likely to be inadequately dressed our first job was to encourage them that, although it may be “COOL” not to zip their coats up, the consequences today would be that they would be very cold. Lindsay had also made very sweet oatmeal biscuits and flapjack in quantity with an urn ready for hot drinks of chocolate or squash. We were faced with over 100 children coming on each of three consecutive days but were determined to do our best. The girl who suffered from epilepsy on the first day was rescued from a muddy field but soon recovered by a warm fire at Rushall House.  However, the lights in the toilets tripping out at peak demand added a sense of drama to the occasion.

Two extra Rhino radiant heaters made the Black barn look quite festive for a session on organic shop and Input and Output processes, but sadly not much warmer. But it all worked out, digging through frozen ground to compare real clay with bright yellow sand and acceptable loam, the sort you would want in your garden.  Then a short walk, being mobbed by 4 very lively Shetland Ponies on loan from David White, one donkey and 2 Alpacas, followed by a viewing of the newly landscaped exposed chalk face boasting It’s regionally Important features. It was the chickens next but sadly two less male turkeys, sentenced for beating up their “up till then” brother and best friend. At last into the lambing shed with new born twins and triplets everywhere and lambs to cuddle.  Somehow nothing else seemed to matter, including the cold, as weary shepherds Steve and Elizabeth look with patience and forbearing at this interruption to their exhausting work schedule. Machinery next, then cows and calves, so adorable and yet how unfair that a cow has four teats for it’s mainly single offspring while triplet lambs have to fight over two teats! There is still land use studies to do, and rotations, maybe even a glimpse at Farmer Steve’s day book.  Then the home trail, removing mud laden boots, washing hands and back on the coach.  Certainly, a day full of learning experiences although the most profound one could have been

“That it is not very COOL to be cool when it really is freezing”.

John Bishop