Tuesday, 14 March 2017


When despair at the world rises in me
And I wake in the night at the slightest sound
And worry as to what will become of me and my children
I go lie down where the Woodrake rests in its beauty on the water
And the great Heron feeds
I come into the presence of wild things

    Wendel Berry

Last night I woke in the night not because of a sound but because of a thought triggered by something one of us had said.
     Upon arrival they said that they he had meant to bring their electric chainsaw but had not managed to carry it.  I fealt a sense of dejavu, like what happened with the Fair Close Field Group upon the arrival of power tools. However in Meadowshare we do not have a foe of the peasant farmer to ridicule and call us Luddites so I feel more confidant to express myself. Thankyou!
     When I started Fair Close Field I did everything by hand without power tools , rebuilding the barn
scything etc and going out from St Edwards in free lessons to turn the hay etc. However when I wanted to go away on holiday I had to buy a milking machine so that the newly formed group could milk Gemma the cow. It was a strange irony that now I had ten times more people to help it appeared that they wanted to do ten times less work. The next thing was an Alan Scyhte so that instead of "Ten Men"mowing to the beautiful rhythmic "swishing" of sharp dewy blades on morning grass we were ten trailing and choking in the wake of a noisy polluting engine.
     When I prepared the Canal field I had to carry all the materials down there on my trustee sack trolley. I cut willow to make the fencing and manger which was big enough so that all the cattle could feed. And I found a scip full of old bricks to create a hard standing so that animals were not knee deep in mud. I layed a smooth path to the barn, made from concrete slabs from Sallies stables.All this was done without power tools. I loved it : squatting in my tea breaks, contemplating the steady progress of that mornings-days-weeks-months work. And always in the back of my mind was the anticipation  that I would be joined by another or others. last saturday I fealt that anticipation being met as we all worked together with Hay forks and rakes
        All my life I have sawn and chopped wood by hand with bowsaws and axes to heat my house and domestic water. Although my muscles have become honed to this work and with balance and rhythm I can make the saw slide through the wood with ease, when joined by another on the other end of the blade the effect is magical.
             It makes me ask " What is work for?" 
If it is to get the job done then indeed get a chain saw. If however it is to connect with nature ; to know the tree and the rhythms it asks of our bodies. then lets use our hands our arms our feet our lungs. Lets make Hook Meadow our Greene Gym
        "You work that you may keep pace with the earth and the soul of the earth.
           For to be idle is to become a stranger to the seasons,----
           When you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music"


Monday, 13 March 2017


Sunday, 10 January 2016

Early Morning Wren Pond

Stealing the common back for the goose

17th Century folk poem
Stealing The Common From The Goose
The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose off the common
But leaves the greater villain loose
Who steals the common from the goose.

The law demands that we atone
When we take things we do not own
But leaves the lords and ladies fine
Who takes things that are yours and mine.

The poor and wretched don’t escape
If they conspire the law to break;
This must be so but they endure
Those who conspire to make the law.

The law locks up the man or woman
Who steals the goose from off the common
And geese will still a common lack
Till they go and steal it back.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday, 21 November 2014

Monday, 11 November 2013

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

summer with woofers 2012


Wolvercote scything Olympics 2012




Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Friday, 6 July 2012

Well and Hen coop



Monday, 12 March 2012

Scything on the Village Green



      Locally grown for thatch and bread

THRESHING WHEAT.   Locally grown for thatch and bread




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