Tagged with farming

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

The Tree of Wooden Clogs

This is one of the first foreign language films I saw, and despite its length, I remember being fascinated by it. Set in a farm settlement in 19th century Lombardy where the families have to give 2/3 of their produce to the landlord, it shows a year in the lives of 5 families. They live … Continue reading

Food Riots

I’ve been interested in this 18th century topic for a long time but always thought it was about food shortages, missing the fact that they were often aimed at stopping food – i.e. local grain – from being shipped out of the country, a matter encouraged by bounties brought in in the 17th century when … Continue reading

Crusoe of the Lonely Fields

A final piece from the wonderful W H Hudson boook, Afoot in England is about Hudson’s inspiration. He wa born on a farm in Argentina, and spent his life roaming the plains before moving to Britain, and there was no shortage of rural poetry and writings, but his favourite author was a young man who … Continue reading

Consumed by Their Land

When most of us think of farmers and their land, we tend to think of something rather idyllic, but this comes from before the Dust Bowl descriptions by Steinbeck. Again, this comes from John Williams’ Stoner. It is when the academic William Stoner returns home for the funeral of his mother, only weeks after that … Continue reading

Misnamed Office

Today’s headline comes from the horrifically misnamed Office For Budget Responsibility which claims Britain needs millions of new immigrants. Where does this idea come from? The notion that they are needed to pay for pensions of the aging population. On one level – a very limited one – this makes sense, but it ignores the fact … Continue reading

Jefferson on Agriculture

18th century England was a country in turmoil. Famines, low wages and land enclosures meant that people who had lived in the same area for generations were struggling to survive, and many fled to the cities or the colonies. People wanted to live in the cities where wages were higher. Across the pond, the reverse … Continue reading

Water Meadows

Water Meadows

Wherever you see the term ‘mead’ in a location, it means it was the former site of a meadow or  floodplain, which should have been a problem, but it actually represented a very valuable resource for farmers in low lying areas. In March each year  sheep farmers usually had a crisis. Their sheep were pregnant … Continue reading

Major Douglas’s Biggest Fan

Major Douglas’s Biggest Fan

My mother’s father lost some toes chopping wood when he was young. That’s why he was turned down for the Australian army in world War I. But he wouldn’t take no. In the early days of World War I it was seen as a big adventure, fighting for king and country, in a country where … Continue reading

Chalk and Cheese

Chalk and Cheese

This is one of the commonest sayings but few people know it is about English geography, specifically, about the two types of soil in this country where the land is farmed. The chalk lands tend to be on high windswept ground, where the grass is thin, so are only suitable for sheep. The deep grass … Continue reading