Biodynamic inspection time

 “This blog is the unfolding story of Rush Farm and an exploration of life by its philosopher farmer.”

Well, the deed has been done as you saw from my Al Capone photo. I have now had the cataract operation for both eyes. The family team got me into a car, Chris drove us to the destination in Gloucester, the family team got me out of the car, the clinic did its job, and then I was returned home. Not quite as easy a business as the first time!  

I suspect you can imagine, over and above the joys of everyday life and the pressures on Anne, my mind has been racing. The thoughts have not all been gloomy but how to present them in a way other than as a stream of consciousness so far escapes me, but I have some days to solve the problem.  

In between whiles you need to hear about the farm but before that, some interesting items that caught my eye: 

  • America has discovered that the solar panels imported from China come from coal fired factories.  
  • Chairman Xi seems to have remembered China is a communist country, while in Siberia the melting of the permafrost is not just realising climate changing gases but causing villages and buildings to sink into the ground and collapse!  
  • And perhaps the best of all, to protect your farm from badgers, as these are territorial animals, mark your own farm boundaries with family urine! 
  • There are apparently complains about the continued use of the word ‘curry’, protestors claiming it is a sign of colonialism – a remnant of our colonial past. Normally of course, the complaint is cultural appropriation. 

And before I go any further, I want to be clear in saying that I have the greatest admiration for individual Olympic medal winners who have achieved their medals through their own interest and determination – in other words have achieved their goals honesty, not through drugs or family pressure, nor political pressure or through inhuman coaching techniques. But my interest in medal tables remains zilch. 

The Farm

The most important event during the farm week was stage one of the Biodynamic inspection. It involved Chris walking Andy – the inspector – through every single field in the farm. A good long walk as you can imagine. 

But the most important thing was that Andy saw much to praise. In the course of the walk, they disturbed deer, a fox and a hare but more importantly the issue of coping with the deficiencies within our soil led to a profitable discussion since our inspector farms sheep himself on very similar soils to us. 

His suggestions were so close to others in similar positions I have written to our Soil Association certification officer seeking lists of approved products we ourselves might use. 

The stage two information required is at least as important, but after so many years we have good recording systems now well able to meet our own needs’ and answer the slightly different questions from the inspecting bodies. 

On the farm, the sheep have again been moved. Sadly, we lost a cow at the end of the week. The time consumingly New Forest Eye is still with us. Fortunately, once action is taken recovery is fairly rapid. 

Given the rain this weekend, should the burst of heat arrive from the South as predicted, we might be able to take a second cut off more than one pasture – here’s hoping. 

With my limited viewing, the most action I have seen in the garden are adult moorhens and chicks from two broods, though I was surprised to see a magpie drive off a young Green Woodpecker which had come across an ant’s nest. I find it hard to believe an adult would have given way so easily. 


I have been reflecting on creativity, its wide range of showing itself, and my awareness that it appears only in my notes, in any way, when I talk about music and language. 

I am anxious to put the record right. I am a member of very creative family; sadly, my own creativity is, unless you redefine the word to include problem solving and helping people make the most of themselves, solely residing in my use of language. I read, I think, and then the need to write becomes overwhelming. Otherwise, any creativity comes from Anne’s family and our children’s spouses who have it all in abundance. They are practical as well as aesthetic, such a bonus and so extraordinary given my own cackhandedness and lack of spatial awareness. 

I have often argued that there are two elements to music:  making it and learning to appreciate & enjoy it. (Not all professional performers, except at interview, actually see what they do as anything other than a job, and the last thing they want to consider in their private time. Fortunately, this is probably a minority) I suspect this generalisation holds true across most of the creative arts.  

It certainly applies to me personally when thinking of painting.  In general, I was a poor companion to Anne when visiting art collections since I am not a linger-er by nature, yet we have visited in our time a significant range of galleries from the ‘great’ to the small. 

For me it was probably the Hermitage that was the greatest ‘let down’ of all. I know one sees only part of the collection, perhaps it was the atmosphere, but all I remember clearly was a long thin room lined with oil paintings of Russian generals, all looking very similar. Not quite as depressing as the Lowry collection in Salford – something like 113 of his paintings and no relief. 

On the positive side the National Gallery of Art in Copenhagen was a delightful experience. I am not sure that we saw any of the ‘great’ paintings of the world, but in a way that was a relief, and the layout and the display was exemplary.  

Thinking of smaller galleries we have visited, one of the most striking features was the difference in national approaches.  

We were lucky enough to catch an exhibition at the Dorset County Museum of 18th and 19th local works – not an ordinary person featured in any portrait anywhere. The museum in Roskilde was so different.  The paintings there were so homely in contrast yet so more interesting. 

When on holiday in England we always tried to explore local galleries and if possible, find a painting which for us summed up the location. Of them all though, Wimborne Minister was a most worthwhile place to visit, and the Warren Gallery in Saint David’s never failed us – expensive perhaps but then David Warren was a professional artist. 

This last 18 months have not been good to the Arts, let us hope things improve now.  

I realise also that I have not mentioned opera, musicals, ballet or theatre. For myself these really are best enjoyed live, though from personal experience ballet should not be watched close up, and full credit to the BBC in its more Reithian days for putting on live plays by the world’s greatest playwrights. 

Next week

In the discussion I would like to initiate next week, my thoughts followed this path – the role of large corporations to corruption, to nepotism, to l had I failed to realize the significance of thinkers like Adam Smith’, to the absolute refusal to recognise the gap between the reality that defines the human instinct to the question whether we had totally lost the plot as to establishing how individualism and collectivism might be better managed.  

That will be next weeks’ range of topics if I can pull it together in my head. 

In the meantime, I have listened to all Korngold’s non-film music, and dipped my toe in the music of Christopher Gibbs. Korngold’s music had me actively thinking of film titles to fit, while I confess Gibb’s third symphony tempted me to find other works by him.  

Most frustrating is that completing a book I am really enjoying is so slow because of my eyesight! A solution thought up by Sophie led me to have an audible book version. Amazingly it held my attention to its end at 03.47 – coming too that morning was not easy! 

The poem I have chosen is by Robert Louis Stephenson, I have left out one verse;


Great is the sun, and wide he goes
Through empty heaven with repose;
And in the blue and glowing days
More thick than rain he showers his rays.

Though closer still the blinds we pull
To keep the shady parlour cool,
Yet he will find a chink or two
To slip his golden fingers through. 

Meantime his golden face around
He bares to all the garden ground,
And sheds a warm and glittering look
Among the ivy’s inmost nook.

Above the hills, along the blue,
Round the bright air with footing true,
To please the child, to paint the rose,
The gardener of the World, he goes.

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