The nutrients have leached out of the soil by the incessant rain, so a little fertiliser on the crops which are looking particularly hungry would be hugely beneficial. But so far, unless one has a hover craft there is little chance.
John is back from India this week and unbelievably the ground is wetter than when he left some four weeks ago. Anyway he is looking tanned and rested and ready for action once ground conditions allow.
The last remaining steers are almost fit and will soon be off to the slaughter house. These Sussex cattle which are fattened on home produced hay, barley and beans produce exceptionally tasty meat which can be purchased at The Oaks Poultry Farm, Ditchling. It will also be available at the soon to open new farm shop at Wayfield Park Farm, Pyecombe, just off the A23.
This farm produces the same specialist pure bred Sussex cattle. They will be selling this as well as locally produced lamb, pork and chicken, and game when in season.
This new farm shop and speciality tea room will offer an excellent opportunity shop locally and support the farming community.
Watch out for the signs, it will be opening in time for Easter.
There have been three stories in the press all of which are interlinked. Starting with the uproar about the Danish giraffe which was culled, dissected and fed to the lions, and witnessed by interested members of the public, including children.
Needless to say there were howls of protest in the British press, and complaints from ‘outraged’ members of the public. I called my Danish cousin and asked him how the Danish media were dealing with it. He was amused and rather surprised by the reaction in the Britain.
Pier is a retired teacher. He explained that school children in Denmark visit farms, slaughter houses, butchers and zoos as part of their education. This ensures they grow up with a healthy understanding and lack of emotion regarding livestock and where their food comes from. They learn that animals are bred and reared to be eaten.
He also said the giraffe incident was a jolly good lesson which illustrated the importance of keeping a firm handle on breeding programmes. He said it was a good demonstration that when livestock, however cute they may be, are dispatched in such circumstances, there is no waste as they supple a useful source of food for what would be in the wild, a natural predator.
What a refreshing attitude the Danish have to nature and education. Sadly the British have become so sanitised and bambified. This is partly through poor education and ignorance, but also through intolerance and the deliberate manipulation of the media and politicians by minority groups.
The temporary removal of the excellent window display of the Suffolk butcher’s shop last week is an example of this. Why on earth would one wish to hide from children or adults for that matter, the actual animals we all eat?
So much of our food is packaged and processed and sold as something quite unrecognisable and totally divorced from its origins. Children brought up to understand where their food comes from develop a very healthy inquisitive attitude and respect for livestock.
It is encouraging that some British schools do make a point of introducing farm visits and attending events such as the South of England Agricultural Societies’ Connect with the Countryside, which last year attracted 2,500 children from schools across Sussex.
The pupils of Christ Church Primary School, located just off the Kings Road in the heart of London, take turns to feed Doughnut, Fluffy and Co which are the school’s very own chickens.
The children collect the eggs which are used in school meals, and parents can buy any surplus eggs to take home.
The Head Teacher Avis Hawkins’s plan is to teach the children not only about nutrition and healthy eating, but also about the provenance of food and how to eat communally.
This story which was reported in the Education supplement of the Sunday Telegraph offers a wonderful blueprint as to how a simple but effective natural tool of nature, such as rearing hens, can teach children so much about life, death, procreation, healthy eating and nurturing livestock for a purpose. Then when the time is right how to let them go without creating an emotional storm. Kids can cope, sadly too often it is the adults who introduce the hysteria.
Carola Godman Irvine