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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...


February 2022

February 2022

20 Feb 2022

“It is important to stand and stare”

Every Sunday I pick up a friend from Elisabeth Court in Theale.  She comes to visit our mutually owned 19 chickens and 2 turkeys. She knows each one by name.  Armed with treats of lettuce, tinned sweetcorn, corn on the cob, Co-ops best noodles, cauliflower and shortbread she sits in the pen and feeds them. They quickly learn how to concentrate their efforts on what they like most, although there are times when she is mobbed while struggling with a stubborn bit of wrapping.  So she has learnt who leads the flock, the shy ones and the bully ones, whether they are laying and, if one has disappeared, she immediately knows.  So for an hour or two a week she has learnt to sit and stare.

I take great pride in feeding the birds a mixture of sunflower hearts and peanuts throughout the year.  We have three large squirrel proof feeders, so it’s a builder’s bucket full every two days right now.  We get a large number of blue tits, coal and great tits and gold finches, and then woodpeckers and nuthatches, greenfinches, chaffinches, sparrows, robins, blackbirds, doves and pigeons.  I am quick to notice when the feeders are empty.  In fact a sense of panic descends.  But for half the year the feeders are obscured by some wild vegetation so we can’t see them from the kitchen window. It is impossible to count the number of birds, especially when it turns cold and there is a flurry and urgency about their activity.  And it is amazing to see the stream of birds flying down the safety of the hedge line to avoid the dangers of the sparrow hawk, or watch as they take their position in the queue. Then to see when several bully greater spotted woodpeckers assume their right to pride of place.

It is important to stand and stare.  It may be the sun setting, or clouds drifting across the sky, the playful zeal of young lambs or the cumbersome journey of a beetle on a log, the water flowing over gravels in the Pang. Or listening to a skylark singing, it seems, for the joy of being alive.  There is a whole world for us to experience and it is free and right in front of us.  My friend always feels better for her time with the chickens. So it is definitely worth a try………

John Bishop

What is this life if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs

And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,

Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,

Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,

And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can

Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,

We have no time to stand and stare.

W.H. Davies