Preparations afoot for the new barn

Preparations afoot for the new barn

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

I must apologise for this week’s notes being rather thin. The fact is that this week I braved coronavirus and the possibility of uncomfortable results and took action to try and sort out my back injury sustained over 5 months ago and which, apart from the pain, affected my breathing and mobility. As a result, the better part of three days this week were taken out. 

The news about the farm is rather thin as well, but for different reasons. The better part of the week has been taken up with work in preparation for the barn erection. The top four inches of soil had to be removed and then replaced with hardcore covered with planeings. The scraped off soil has been relocated, filling in depressions elsewhere. While Martin has obviously done most of the work, it has been Tim who moved the surplus soil. 

A further positive is that we have sufficient leftover materials to improve one of our farm tracks. The track which doglegs its way to the back of the farm suffered badly this winter in the middle part of the section to the wood. 

There have been positive developments with the birth of what must surely be the last of the progeny from Baachus. Mother and female calf both seem well. The cow which has caused us so much concern has recovered enough to leave the barn and is now in an adjacent field. For some inexplicable reason the latest female calves do not seem to have as good a confirmation as the male calves.  

We obviously await the arrival of Postman’s first offspring with a slight measure of concern. 

On one matter at least our worry levels are low. We have in the barn and adjacent to it sufficient hay, haylage and straw for the winter and as importantly, regrowth on the pastures has been excellent and the extra three fields mean good pastures should be available for lambing. 

We have actually had something in writing from the RPA – not of course about our claim – but confirmation at least that we have an extra year in which to complete our capital works programme. We now also have confirmation that we hold all four appropriate certification’s – Demeter, Soil Association, Red Tractor and Pasture-Fed. 

I cannot pass up the opportunity to share my delight at the way in which a key if unmentioned birthday present – two bird feeders – has lived up to the claim that they are squirrel, magpie, jackdaw and crow proof. 

Pupdates!

Supporters of the current American president..

I had intended to write about quite two quite different issues this week, but as the week progressed my mind was taken over by a different matter. 

I think I am not alone in finding it hard to understand the level of support for Donald Trump among Evangelical Christians and among other religious groups such as the Catholics. Recently I made the comment that the Cromwellian period which was dominated by religious bigotry and hatred taught the people of this country that this was not the way to manage their world. A lesson not learnt in America it seems. 

Reading a range of essays from a variety of American sources has thrown some light on this most puzzling of American issues which must surely be that the majority of declared Christians in the United States, in so far as the 2016 election was concerned and current polling suggests, support Donald Trump. A man who I, from the perspective of an average Englishman, see as exhibiting not a single aspect of behaviour that might even be considered to be ‘Christian’. 

While support is particularly strong in white evangelists, the same is true of almost all white Christian sects, including even the Amish. The temptation is to just share long quotes from interesting articles, but that is not my style, though I shall leave you with authors to refer to if you are interested. The one quote I will use I find totally shocking: 

“The more racist attitudes a person holds the more likely he or she is to identify as a white Christian.”  

The correlation is just as pronounced among white evangelical Protestants as it is among white mainline Protestants and white Catholics—and stands in stark contrast to the attitudes of religiously unaffiliated whites.  

Jones’s findings make for some wrenching inferences.  

“If you were recruiting for a white supremacist cause on a Sunday morning, you’d likely have more success hanging out in the parking lot of an average white Christian church—evangelical Protestant, mainline Protestant, or Catholic—than approaching whites sitting out services at the local coffee shop,” 

Southern Baptists are by definition the products of the southern states. The states that formed the confederacy and were those where slavery was a normal part of life. Though I have not yet read that section of Albion’s Seed yet, we are talking about the states that developed from the colonies of Virginia which were very much royalist in origin. So, to add to the history of racism we can probably add an ongoing resentment about the outcome of the American Civil War. 

To that I suspect we need to add fear. If people in this country can get nervous about the growing percentage of immigrants, of a different colour or religious belief, even though as a percentage the figures are low, for white citizens of the southern states in America who see their world moving to a situation where they may become the minority, how much more alarming it seems to be. 

America, as did the United Kingdom, experienced a religious revival in the mid-1800’s. In this country we saw the growth of Anglo-Catholicism; in America it was more akin to the Wesleyan movement of half a century before. A really key difference however was the return to attitudes towards the bible that were more of the mid-17th century than of a more modern world. 

So, racism, fear, resentment, a perceived destruction of what they ‘believe’ America is about, and in the view of some evangelicals, a strange assumption about what masculinity means. A man is a man who says exactly what he thinks, sees women as chattels and there for procreation and male pleasure, and in general gets and does what he wants – shades of John Wayne, whose avoidance of military service was as successful as that of Mr Trump! 

So, racism, fear and sexism, and a reliance on the Old rather than the New Testament seem to be the main drivers. This is obviously a personal interpretation, but below the poem I list some of my sources. 

After that depressing line of thought I felt the need for something very English by Henry Newbolt even if totally ‘unwoke’! 

by Henry Newbolt 

There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night — Ten to make and the match to win — A bumping pitch and a blinding light, An hour to play and the last man in. And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat, Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame, But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote — ‘Play up! play up! and play the game!’ 

The sand of the desert is sodden red, — Red with the wreck of a square that broke; — The Gatling’s jammed and the Colonel dead, And the regiment blind with dust and smoke. The river of death has brimmed his banks, And England’s far, and Honour a name, But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks: ‘Play up! play up! and play the game 

Sources: 

  • Huffpost America
  • The Atlantic
  • Vanity Fair 
  • Kristen Kobes Du Mez Professor of History, Calvin University
  • Michael Rea Professor of Philosophy. University of Notre Dome
  • Mark Galli 
  • Robert P Jones – quoted in text – and in his time a Professor at Missouri State University
  • Opinion polls
  • Exit poll 2016 

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