Notes from The Running Hare: The Secret of Farmland by John Lewis-Stempel

p. 25 All farms used to have an untidy corner where machinery went to die, and where thistles and nettles grew. Intensive farming has all but done away with these little no-man’s-land nature reserves; modern farms are as obsessively tidy as showroom Hygena kitchens.”

p. 26 “The Romans, who may well have introduced the hare to Britain, were keen hare-eaters. … Pliny the Elder advocated a diet of hare as a means of increasing sexual attractiveness…. Pliny’s ther proposition concerning hares was almost entirely contradictory: he declared the animals were hermaphrodites – a belief which eventually got worked into Christianity. Hares are a recurrent motif in British church architecture, standing for reproduction without loss of virginity .. p105 As with many animals sacred to older religions, medieval Christians changed the hair into an animal f ill-omen, saying witches shape-shifted into hare form to suck cows dry. Sailors considered hares so unlucky they could not be mentioned at sea. And not just sailors; country folk refused to call the hare by its name. p. 227 Hares have large hearts to enable them to achieve such speed. Up to 1.8% of body weight, compared to 0.3% for a rabbit.”

p. 56 “how ploughmen used to tell whether the earth was warm enough to sow (they’d drop their trousers and sit on the ground: if the bare bottom could bare the earth it was warm enough.”

p. 84 To walk behind a horse and harrow is to bring one into accord with all the ages. .. In harrowing half an acre Willow [Shetland pony] and I walk five miles. No one except kings and clergy was fat in the time of the horse… I am happy harrowing, an emotional state which may, according to scientists at the University of Bristol, be enhanced by soil itself. A specific soil bacterium, Mycobacteriyum vaccae, activates a set of serotonin-releasing neurons in the dorsal raphe nucles of the brain, the same ones targeted by Prozac. You can get an effective dose of Mycobacterim by walking in the wild, or gardening. “
p. 126 “The first wildflowers in my personal ploughland … are scarlet pimpernel, and common field speedwell, both delicate bejewelled creepers over ground, one red, the other blue. Their seed has been harboured safe in the earth for years: common field speedwell can germinate after 20 years. … as common on roadside verges as it is in arable fields, and travellers in years gone by sewed the flower into the lining of their coats as a charm.”

p. 137 Corn marigold is as old as British agriculture itself, since it was probably brought here by the Neolithic people. Arable farmers, however, have never warmed to its sunny splendour, since the fleshy leaves impeded the harvest reaping. Henry II issued an ordinance against “a certain plant called Gold”, requiring tenants t uproot it, which was probably the earliest enactment demanding the destruction of a weed. In A Boke of Husbandry, 1523, John Fitzherbert included ‘Gouldes’ in his blacklist of plants that ‘doe muche harme’.”

p. 141. “Into this admirable scene comes a white cloudburst, puke-and-toffee to smell. Chemical spray from the farm across the lane; and it covers me, it covers the birds. I’m torn between protesting to the farmer, and the need to get home and showered. I choose the latter. For once there is no rain. Unlike me, the birds have no shower.”

p. 215 “By 20 August we are ready to harvest. The grain splits hard, like a nut. (You can use an electronic moisture meter: grain needs to have a moisture content below 16 per cent, otherwise it will rot.) Nature only gives a couple of days between the crop that is ideally ripe, and one which is deteriorating.”

p. 228 Harvesting – “By the time I’ve done half the field I have carrion crows and buzzards shadowing me (a personal black cloud).. The crows and the buzzards are scavenging, the windhowers do not stoop to such unseemly depth today. Two patrol the field, dropping on the voles forced to flee their homes. A cub fox is low in the edgeland grass, waiting for some heedless creature to scuttle into its trap-jaws. Paradoxically, carnage is good. … proof of biodiversity.. While I’m cutting, the Chemical Brothers start on the 20-acre wheatfield. No vultures circle there, no foxes crouch and wait. Why would they? There are no animals living there to be killed.”

p. 289 The what I planted was special, a ‘heritage’ spring wheat called April Bearded, obtained from the Brockwell Bake charity in London, which encourages people to turn lawns into wheatfields. When mature, April Bearded is long (120cm) and hollow tubed. Once upon a time children drank their milk through natural ‘straws’ made from wheats such as April Bearded.”


  • September 6, 2016 - 11:41 am | Permalink

    I see many interesting articles here. Your blog can go
    viral easily, you need some initial traffic only.

    How to get initial traffic??? Read about Jemensso’s tricks

  • September 6, 2016 - 11:07 pm | Permalink

    I see interesting articles here. Your site can go viral easily,
    you need some initial traffic only, you should read about Bushano’s traffic sources

  • September 8, 2016 - 6:19 am | Permalink

    Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a collection of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community
    in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a
    wonderful job!

  • September 8, 2016 - 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for sharing with us, I think this website truly stands out : D.

  • September 9, 2016 - 5:14 am | Permalink

    I am really happy to glance at this website posts which contains lots
    of helpful information, thanks for providing these information.

  • September 9, 2016 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    It’s difficult to find educated people about this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about!

  • September 9, 2016 - 3:04 pm | Permalink

    Hola my names Heiko. You need to build a email subscribers list to market your site to, theres floods of great information on your site! I’ll be the first one to subscribe to your list! I’ve been using which is free for your first 2000 subscribers. I’de love to help you skyrocket your marketing to get you more subscribers! Add me on skype: heiko.viceoffers or send me an email!

  • September 9, 2016 - 4:39 pm | Permalink

    I seriously love your website.. Great colors & theme.
    Did you make this amazing site yourself? Please reply back as I’m hoping to create my own website and would love to learn where you got this from or exactly what the theme is named.


  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *