Rebanks’ family have been fell (hill) farmers in Cumbria in the north of England since 1400-something. It’s mind-boggling to think of belonging so truly to a particular spot on earth.
This book is best when he is simply describing his farm, and his grandfather, and his father. The past two generations began to ‘modernize’, ‘get big or get out’, mow down hedgerows, specialize, feed silage rather than hay, and above all apply synthetic fertilizers. These things degrade the land and ultimately the farmers themselves. Rebanks is now trying to rejuvenate his farm by going back to the old ways, and the even older ways of setting nature back to rights in certain areas. He thus has to supplement his reduced farm income by selling books; and I’m only too happy to help him along in the endeavor.