“This blog is the unfolding story of Rush Farm and an exploration of life by its philosopher farmer.”
This is my last opportunity in this year to thank you for your continued interest in our farm, and to wish you all our very best wishes for Christmas and indeed the year to come.
That said, let me share the news of the last seven days.
Anne and I, both individually and for nearly sixty years together, have had the good fortune to have led eventful lives with more than enough drama.
Over those, all but eighty years, I would say the Cuban crisis was the most dreadful. This year has in a different way managed to equal that. But it does at least allow me to give credit to Jeremy Corbyn. Without him the Brexit vote might well have been lost, without him we might have achieved a deal under Mrs May’s government, without him Johnson would not have a stonking majority in the House of Commons, without him the conservative party might have at least a few outstanding politicians, and of course without him Scotland might not have all but decided to leave the United Kingdom. Hail to the man of the 21st century! Without his valiant efforts we might not now be in this glorious position organised by Gove and Johnson whereby European transport companies are refusing to deliver goods to the United Kingdom and chaos will reign.
You may feel that is a rant too far, but you then are not living the experience as so many of us are.
Putting that to one side, overall, this has been an excellent year for the farm and Ulula, so I want to celebrate that rather than allow fears for 2021 to dominate all out thinking.
So, in no particular order, the positive changes and experiences:
Moving on, I want to again praise the man whose beliefs gave us great help and inspiration. Peter Proctor who died a few years ago still, so to speak in the saddle, visited us a number of times in our early years of becoming biodynamic farmers and whose book ‘Grasp the Nettle’ is required reading for all biodynamic farmers.
After ‘retirement’ he devoted much time and effort supporting agricultural developments in India. He would have been overjoyed to learn of recent farming developments in two Indian States which have determined to make all faming organic, together with special recognition given to the role of the cow. Sadly, he is no longer with us but his legacy lives on.
His contribution to biodynamics in his own homeland no doubt had much to do with the strength of biodynamic farming there. His strength lay in convincing by action rather than by theorising. He believed that change was affected by demonstrating the value of changing practice and getting your hands dirty in the process.
Typically, rather than this news, all we hear on the news is of the dispute between Indian farmers and the Indian government over changes in practice which would place hundreds of thousands of small farmers into ever deeper poverty.
I am not fond of organ music, but when Radio 3 gave 45 minutes to two organ woks by Caesar Franck I was prepared to try to change my opinion. Though he may have been one if the greatest composers and players of the organ, my views were left unchanged. I suspect my negativity is to do with an association with funerals though I admit listening to organ music in one of our great cathedrals is emotive.
In a week which sees low after low streaming across the Atlantic, and bearing in mind the ‘jet stream’ was unknown in the poet’s time I share this with you:
Winter with the Gulf Stream by Gerard Manley HopkinsThe boughs, the boughs are bare enough
But earth has never felt the snow.
Frost-furred our ivies are and rough
With bills of rime the brambles shew.
The hoarse leaves crawl on hissing ground
Because the sighing wind is low.
But if the rain-blasts be unbound
And from dank feathers wring the drops
The clogged brook runs with choking sound
Kneading the mounded mire that stops
His channel under clammy coats
Of foliage fallen in the copse.
A simple passage of weak notes
Is all the winter bird dare try.
The bugle moon by daylight floats
So glassy white about the sky,
So like a berg of hyaline,
And pencilled blue so daintily,
I never saw her so divine.
But through black branches, rarely drest
In scarves of silky shot and shine,
The webbed and the watery west
Where yonder crimson fireball sits
Looks laid for feasting and for rest.
I see long reefs of violets
In beryl-covered fens so dim,
A gold-water Pactolus frets
Its brindled wharves and yellow brim,
The waxen colours weep and run,
And slendering to his burning rim
Into the flat blue mist the sun
Drops out and all our day is done.