Happy summer solstice!

The longest day is feeling all too soon upon us – perhaps for you all too? The thought of longer nights is not a comforting one, but while the sun shines, and the rain makes an appearance, we are maintaining our good cheer. 

Would the thunder just roll around us, swirling like something from Macbeth? No. Eventually it landed straight on top of us, and we have received enormous rain “splots” (for want of a better word!), and gentle rain drops in almost equal measure, on and off over the last ten days. We still need both the warmth and the rain to continue! The cattle have moved around once more since we last wrote and will soon be moving again!  

The sheep are all doing well, but looking forward to being sheared now it is so warm. 

Midsummer making of 501 was achieved this week, and the silica mix was poured into the cow horns and placed in the soil near our ccp area in the vegetable garden. The 501 preparation is vital to us as it supports strong and healthy growth of the leaves and shoots – the very food our cattle and sheep feed on. We will dig these up in September and have our own 501 for next year.  

Haymaking here has had to be postponed for a little while longer. We don’t have all the necessary machinery to do the work ourselves, so we are reliant on contractors – who are, of course, under their own time pressures. This means we lost our window of opportunity before the rains came, so now we wait for the next opportunity. 

Despite the results of yesterday’s Test match at Edgbaston, it was a great last day of cricket, and we agreed that Adrian would most certainly have preferred a well fought loss, to an easy win. The results aside, we were cheered by the fact that the Rush Farm cattle we sold to Fordhall Farm earlier this year were for sale at the mobile Fordhall burger joint!  

The geranium pratense (meadow cranesbill) that we added to the drive’s meadow are the best ever, and the ladies’ bedstraw has proliferated; The conker trees along the drive are heaving – they are losing more in the June drop than the apples this year! As for the chickens – they have been marvellous company for us all – the moorhens especially, and we shall miss them when they return home later this week.  

The garden is heaving with produce – broad beans when they are young and tender, huge, delicious strawberries, raspberries coming on too. The Sweet Peas are just such a wonder, and the herbs are all bursting forth too. We feel so fortunate to enjoy the garden and are very grateful to the garden and all those who remember to water!  

We were also able to share this bounty last weekend when the farm team supported the Stockwood Community Benefit team in hosting their annual AGM – the tenth – where do the years go?   It was an enjoyable event and gave us cheer to be alongside the investors, board members and interested parties, but it was also a stark reminder that Adrian is not here, and just how much we miss him.  Chris was wonderful in all his roles, and we were all there to feel our way into this new space. 

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene I: William Shakespeare 

The sun has long been set, 
Over hill, over dale,  
Thorough bush, thorough brier,  
Over park, over pale,  
Thorough flood, thorough fire,  
I do wander every where,  
Swifter than the moon’s sphere;  
And I serve the fairy queen,  
To dew her orbs upon the green:  
The cowslips tall her pensioners be;  
In their gold coats spots you see;  
Those be rubies, fairy favours,  
In those freckles live their savours:  
I must go seek some dew-drops here  
And hang a pearl in every cowslip’s ear.  
Farewell, thou lob of spirits: I’ll be gone;  
Our queen and all her elves come here anon. 

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