Soil Association and Red Tractor inspections!

Soil Association and Red Tractor inspections!

‘Farmer Adrian’ (dad) remains in hospital… and while there have been several false starts when we thought he might be ‘allowed’ to come home, he remains ‘at her majesty’s pleasure’ as his operation site is slow to heal. 

Thankfully, the occupational therapists are happy with his progress in moving after his hip operation, although we all know there is a lot to do once he is home to get his rehabilitation on course. 

The hospital, when one is feeling so very incarcerated, is, it turns out, no place to write. However, be in no doubt, there is a lot to share, and as soon as he is home, the rants will be written up! 

So, this week it is the farm team writing to you. No substitute we know. 

On the farm, Chris represented Rush Farm at the Stockwood AGM last Saturday, and was happy to share all we have done this year in our work as trustees of this farmland. It was lovely to see supporters of our work – all be it through the lens of Zoom! 

On Tuesday we had the Soil Association and Red Tractor inspections – two inspectors made the day longer, but as ever, nervous energy aside, it is always useful to have these moments of reflection and being able to see the farm and all we do through someone else’s eyes. The inspectors enjoyed several hours of visiting each field and seeing all the animals.  

The orphan lamb we had hand-fed, but who is now with the flock, was ever so happy to see two legged-long friends and gave both inspectors a very warm welcome. 

The Inspection was successful, not a given, but always our hope. They were both very positive about all we do here on the Farm. There are new ‘red tapes’ to be worked through regards the transport of cattle, but these just require us to get our head around new paperwork.  

Anne and Chris both did brilliantly, and we were very happy to know that the Inspectors both left feeling very positive about our efforts. 

Beyond that, we have moved cattle and sheep as per our rotation, in our constant battle against docks and nettles, and of course thistles, we have topped fields where the animals have been, and then, as is the farmer’s life, we have crossed fingers and held thumbs that we might get weather good enough to be able to cut for haylage. The forecast isn’t promising, but they’ve been wrong before… 

The butterflies seem to have arrived now, and a stunning sunset was enjoyed on Thursday, and then a Barn Owl in flight was watched crossing from the Ram’s field and down through the field that runs alongside the driveway. A real treat.

The garden is blooming, and Anne has been sending photos to Adrian, so he doesn’t feel like he has missed it all – a selection are below.  

Finally, and with Adrian in mind, we have chosen a poem by John Keats (1795-1821) “To Solitude”. Apparently written when Keats was just 19 years old, Keats writes that if he must be alone, he would rather be on his own in pleasant surroundings rather than in a city populated by ‘murky buildings’. 

We wish Adrian to soon return home and enjoy his own pleasant surroundings!  

To Solitude, by John Keats 
O solitude! if I must with thee dwell,
Let it not be among the jumbled heap
Of murky buildings; climb with me the steep,—
Nature’s observatory—whence the dell,
Its flowery slopes, its river’s crystal swell,
May seem a span; let me thy vigils keep
’Mongst boughs pavillion’d, where the deer’s swift leap
Startles the wild bee from the fox-glove bell.
But though I’ll gladly trace these scenes with thee,
Yet the sweet converse of an innocent mind,
Whose words are images of thoughts refin’d,
Is my soul’s pleasure; and it sure must be
Almost the highest bliss of human-kind,
When to thy haunts two kindred spirits flee.
 

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