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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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October 2021

October 2021

18 Oct 2021

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September 2021

September 2021

20 Sep 2021

Last of the Summer Wine?

I am just in quiet recovery mode having had my 11 and 8 year old grandsons, Eli and Isaac, to look after for 4 days.  We operated in a “Last of the Summer Wine” mode, with a long walk through the countryside in the morning.  I was invariably out in front while they paused to climb a fallen tree, bundle on an open piece of grass or attack one another with their newly prized sticks.  There were rarely many cries of pain or discomfort. There was the odd splash when one decided to walk across a deepish part of the Pang but otherwise I prided myself in pointing out self-sown oak trees where vegetation had been cleared just 3 years ago, and how necessary it is to protect newly coppiced hazel from deer grazing.  This was a walk which normally takes an hour and was easily strung out to two and a half hours with no trouble at all.  Afternoon tasks were based around bribes.  Last time the boys stayed I got into serious trouble from their dad for excessive screen time. In fairness it was raining and 8 hours in one day is a bit much.  So tasks were planned; a massive bonfire to clear stuff up on the first night, and mixing food and feeding the birds, at odds I know from the latest report saying we shouldn’t.  There were sand bags to fill (I am sure floods are coming), sheaves of wheat to cut for harvest festivals, some fencing to fix with hammers and drill, new  tyres on the wheelbarrows and coppice thinnings for logging to bring back home. All was well as we loaded from what had become a nice habitat pile.  Indeed it was, because there right in the middle of it was a very fat toad sitting next to a beautiful nest of very tiny field mice. This was too much for Isaac, so we quickly restored the security of their homes.

I feel slightly guilty for not explaining in detail the excellent report by Henry Dimbleby , author of the National Food Strategy, or how difficult this farming season has been for so many, including Steve Waters and his family here.   But it is amazing that once again seed time and harvest have not failed, and thank goodness we can respond with gratitude to God, and generous hearts to those less fortunate.

John Bishop