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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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24 May 2022

    Bluebells at Rushall Farm I first met...


9 Mar 2021


It was at the end of a very wet underfoot walk through the woodlands at Rushall.  We had just seen Graham and Mick, gamekeepers extraordinaire, drive into the woods.  We crossed Scratchface Lane, and passed the huge Douglas Fir when there was a rustling behind us, a sudden crack and crash as a 90-foot beech tree fell over the path where we had been ten seconds ago. It was a weird experience which we were fortunately able to talk through with our spectators who rushed over to see if we were alright.  So today we are burning the top wood and making it safe, and also have been discussing how such an enormous tree does stay upright for a hundred years, and then with no wind, rhyme or reason suddenly crash down in such a violent way?

I am pleased to say that what happened did not affect the flow of great tits, blue tits, green finches, gold finches, woodpeckers and nuthatches streaming down to our bird feeders. I used to be proud of the quantity of peanuts and sunflower hearts fed through 2 massive feeders.  However, I realised that the burgeoning and uncontrollable rat population was all my fault. So too were the many very healthy squirrels who supplemented their diet with unripe strawberries, sweetcorn and beetroot from the veg patch.  Now we have three squirrel buster feeders which shut up the feeding points to anything other than small birds, and the rats have gone.  It is at last lighter in the mornings and the birds are singing.  A big flock of Field Fares briefly visited the field behind us, picking through the pasture and escaping to the surrounding trees when disturbed.  Woodpeckers are drilling by day and tawny owls break the silence of night.  Bluebells are just emerging while snowdrops and crocuses prove that spring really is on its way. Today we saw a lone weather-beaten clump of primroses by a noisy ditch, a few early daffodils, while the greens of the mosses and lichens on trees and fallen wood were amazing. Back home in the warmth of the kitchen we watched the birds feeding. There are loads of them, and a frenzy of action as they jostle for their turn to feed.  The weather man is right – it’s going to be cold tomorrow. But at least we are still here.

 Jesus said “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” Mathew 6 v 26

John Bishop