The Earth ~ Where Would We Be Without It?


View of the Shropshire-Welsh borderland, a landscape shaped by farming communities since at least the Bronze Age some four thousand years ago


“I have seen the sun break through

to illuminate a small field

for awhile, and gone my way

and forgotten it. But that was a pearl

of great price, the one field that had

the treasure in it…”

Excerpt from the  The Bright Field  by R S Thomas



49 thoughts on “The Earth ~ Where Would We Be Without It?

  1. Magnificent capture. Reminds me of the oft declared ‘ Treasure at the end of the rainbow.’ In my travels, I have never not felt joy to be home again in the English landscape…

    1. Yes, indeed, there’s nothing quite like an English landscape. Once you leave the motorways there are so many different ‘worlds’ up and down the land and with very specific regional and local characteristics too – all shaped by the landscape of course – the clay for bricks and roof tiles, slate and thatch, sandstone, limestone. Yet it’s all too easy to forget our connections with our raw materials 🙂

    1. ‘Humanity on the land picture’ yet very many English people have very little idea of how their food is produced. Or where. Cheers, Dina. Happy Sunday, Fab Four.

    1. We are often surprised at how much of this kind of rural landscape remains throughout Britain, even around huge ex-industrial conurbations like the West Midlands. For a small island with even smaller islands we actually have huge amounts of open space.

    1. On the subject of soil, Ark, I can now answer your earlier query re ‘no dig’ gardening, and the effect of covering the soil with a thick layer of organic matter. As per allotment activity yesterday: soil that had overwintered with a mulch several inches thick – could get fork straight into it no problem – a fork’s depth; also lots of worms. Soil exposed to winter wet weather with no cover crop or anything – harder than Hitler’s bunker to break into. In fact, I almost needed a pick to get the weeds out. But then we do have very claggy soil here in Wenlock.

      1. Thank you, dear Tish. Over the next couple of days shall try to cover the area around the recent plantings with as much material as I can find. I reckon frost is on the horizon and these past couple of days have been darn cold at night and in the morning. Come spring I can look forward t relatively weed free veggies patch and some decent soil.

      2. I spread the first layer this morning.
        Grass cuttings and leaves.

        I also read yesterday that chili plants seriously struggle in clay soil as when it compacts it restricts root growth. Obvious really, but I am always yelling at the bus after it has pulled off!

      3. This will help retain moisture, yes? But will it add nutrients to the soil or help encourage worms and break down the rock hard structure?

      4. The grit/pebbles are to improve drainage around the roots in a heavy soil. i.e. so they don’t clog up in the clay and then bonsai themselves, which usually leads to total collapse. It’s the organic matter that encourages worms – like the mowings and leaves. You can also shred up brown cardboard boxes. Worms apparently are attracted to the glue in the cardboard. Or you can lay sheets of cardboard around the plants and then cover with the mulch. Old corn and bean stalks are good, even straw. None of these things of themselves add much in the way of nutrients, but if the worms are encouraged then you will get worm casts that do add nutrients. Natural nutrients are things like seaweed and comfrey, but I don’t suppose you can get hold of those. Otherwise herbivore poo of some description, although it needs to be fairly well rotted down. 🙂

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