Today is a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made, and the resilience shown by so many. The legacy of the leaders post World War II is the formation of the United Nations, the Marshall Plan which allowed a vital rebuilding across Europe, advances in technology and medicine which we all now benefit from, and a real and profound effort to work together. Huge progress from our very bloody history through the ages.

The news is so bleak these days; one can become almost closed off to the current state of the world: too awful to think about the waste of life, and the pain and suffering inflicted on so many across the borders from us. Watching some of the interviews yesterday and today, hearing how deeply afraid and upset veterans are at the state of the world, brings to the fore just what they sacrificed, and how our very privileged peace is being toyed with today by egos and misplaced ideologies.

The stories of our ancestors and veterans are not just tales of the past but a guide for our future. While veterans are still with us, they are ensuring that WWII is in living memory – not an historical event. What happens when they pass on? Who will have the strength and courage to hold mankind to account without them standing in front of us? That is why they ask us to remember. We must honour their memory always by striving for a world that learns from this time in history and focusses all our efforts upon unity and peace.

To the farm, a second early morning visit from Gert to study our bird life was organised after the early May morning’s first visit was too cold for much to see or hear. This second time, the north wind was blowing. Hard to believe that this May and Spring were recorded as the warmest, still… this time Reed Bunting were seen nesting on the Scrape, and White Throats were spotted nesting in several sites across the farm. A Yellow Hammer was also spotted, along with an interesting grass species, so the effort felt worthwhile.

In the cattle, New Forest Eye cases were becoming greater in number, but after taking homoeopathic action last week, this week, so far, all is calmer. Interestingly, we share with trepidation of the ‘commentator’s curse’, so far cases are only in the Young Stock. Measures to separate the cases out from the herd are hampered by lack of space. We are working with Crossgates, having sent them a swab, so that we might have help with a workable solution. Use of iodine isn’t appreciated as it stings, which makes getting Euphrasia applied a challenge to. Homoeopathic remedies are currently being added to the water troughs, daily as this is an extreme case, and we hold our breath for continued better results.

The cattle are due blood tests for Johnes, BVD, and to check their mineral profile for bolus treatment and licks to be placed in the fields. This work is for our own records, but also for the Premium Cattle Health Programme, we are working with. Their ambition is to eradicate Johnes and BVD from pedigree herds, and we are happy to help as in the long run, selling breeding stock. We also have to do a faecal egg count in the Young Stock as part of our usual monitoring.

The sheep have been put through a footbath, and lameness has lessened. Our theory is the muddy pastures were getting in their hooves. Hopefully now resolved.  The lambs were weighed and the averages cheering. Only one or two rather less plump than the others.  Last weekend Alice completed her sheep shearing course and came back with resplendent bruises on both legs from the sheer physicality of the work. This weekend, with the days warm enough, she will begin to tackle the flock here.

Boots spotted a baby owl – Barn or Tawny? We are thinking Barn Owl, but let us know what you think.

Hemlock is making a late appearance, but with the ground soft, is easily pulled. Some of the fields were dry enough for rolling to take place, and in other fields still drying out, the ruts were driven over to flatten them out. If the dry-er weather holds we will be able to complete the emptying of the barn, and muck spreading on the fields now accessible to the large machinery. All good news.

We are very excited to say that Rush Farm will be attending Groundswell this year, supporting our fabulous landlord Stockwood Community Benefit Society. For anyone who hasn’t heard of Groundswell, think Glasto but for regenerative farmers! A two-day festival where people can share ideas, get inspiration, see the latest technology, and so on. It is always an inspiring event and (much like Glastonbury) is becoming more and more popular with the mainstream, which is very much a good thing in our opinion. We will be there (stand DFB38!) to talk about biodynamics, community ownership, and the CBS model as a solution to farm succession, and we would love to have a chat with any of you who are also attending. Let us know and we can make a plan!

We host the West Midlands Shetland Sheep Society in July. They are gathering for a post lambing meet up. There is another Foraging course ahead of that, and we are putting grazing plans in place to enable us to support the local Horse Show again this year.  The fields we have earmarked for cutting hay from are looking good, and grass is, right now, in plentiful supply for the sheep and cows.

This is despite the frosts we have had on the rooves the last two mornings. They are likely to be due to the dawn dip, but from the rain to move onto such cold nights and then, when the sun shines, such warm days, is taking its toll.

This is especially so in the field 11 vegetable garden. The seedlings really don’t seem to know if they are coming or going. You won’t be surprised to learn we are not the only growers suffering. Our organic veg supplier has shared there will be no outside grown UK organic veg available from them this growing season. The only veg available that is UK grown, is grown under glass. What a state this wet autumn, winter and spring has genuinely left us in.

In the garden, fleeces are now in place overnight, as is netting to thwart the pigeons. Slugs are fewer currently, thanks to less rain, but we, and they know they are merely out of sight. Alice, thankfully, has been able to console herself with the last of the wild garlic and the Chicken of the Woods mushrooms, which apparently really do taste of chicken, although cooked appeared to be parsnips in disguise!

We are extremely fortunate to have ‘woofer like’ support with a 15-year-old niece of a friend staying with us. Matilda has already proved herself a great support helping across the farm and gardens. She is with us for two more weeks before returning to Switzerland.

This week’s discovery in our reading has been Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. As his first poem is rather Longfellow-faced, we’ve included one more from him to bring us a bit of cheer.

The Rainy Day by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart, and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary

The Rainbow by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky;
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety

Comments are closed.