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Maureen Boustred writes:

It has been busy here. I suddenly decided to buy books printed by AcresUSA. They comprise sets of four books written in the 1950's by Frank Newman-Turner who at the time was farming in Somerset. The books describe what he was doing to improve the soil, and in turn the pasture which improved animal health. He went so far as to buy in sick animals from the market - animals with TB - and he made them well.

Ken Boustred had attended a talk given by Newman-Turner in Bromley and Ken was very impressed with what he heard. Ken was given the book "Fertility Farming" and when I appeared on the scene I was not allowed to read it, but eventually did..

Later on I read the next two books - "Herdsmanship", and "Fertility Pastures". I could not understand why these books were not available to buy and wrote to the publishers Faber and Faber on that subject. They replied explaining that the printing plates had been removed to the USA. After some years AcresUSA got the plates and printed the above mentioned books together with a smaller one called 'Cure Your Own Cattle'. American readership does not seem to appreciate the books which have been parked in the Acres SALE category for some months..

Frank Newman Turner
Frank Newman Turner

So to try and help out and to bring what I think is good farming advice back to this country I ordered ten sets of the books which are now en-route to the farm at High Halden. I feel that these books would help anyone thinking of buying a small farm or holding.

If there is interest 'up north' and if anyone would like to purchase could they please get in touch with me to reserve a set. Sets will be £50. plus postage.

I did some internet research yesterday and found a website which is run by Frank Newman-Turner's three sons, Roger, Giles and Adam. The site gives lots of history about their father and his work.

Nigel Stewart writes

I've just been looking at Dan Halsey's interview with Angus.

Angus Soutar and Daniel Halsey
At the Global Earth Repair Conference - click picture to watch!

Some points at random:

Upland water storage (peat bogs, etc). While we were doing our PDC, grants came from EU to drain upland bogs, which led to floods in the valleys. A bridge came down and a couple were killed (near Matt Dunwell's, I think). And see Cornwall recently! We must stop up the land drains on the hills NOW.

The next stage of grants was for "farming fences"...

25 year life for buildings. When I left the building industry for LETSGo Manchester in 1994 there was a lot of talk in the building press on how to build in more obsolescence into houses. If houses took 25 years to pay for, they should only last 25 years "for the good of capitalism". I was sometimes working on houses that were 500+ years old! I was disgusted by this campaign to "modernise building practice!"

Modern "fast-grow" timber is such low quality compared to pre-WW2, so it needs really nasty chemicals to preserve the "sponge cake" they sell as wood now.

SO, for me, "the system" demands built-in obsolescence. Resource depletion reduces the quality of harvest. (There's lots available on that, like now we are catching only immature fish. I remember Bill Mollison saying that modern wheat would have been illegal to sell in the 1950s because now there is too low protein content.)

There is a quote somewhere from the American who first used the term "built-in obsolescence". He considered making it illegal to NOT BUY NEW VERSIONS every 3 years or so, or face fines and perhaps imprisonment for not supporting your local consumerist society enough.

That was considered "politically dangerous", so they decided to DESIGN IN obsolescence. (See "Consumer Engineering: A new technique for Prosperity", Sheldon and Arens 1933 - Ed.)

There is a nice study on the chip that counts the pages that you have printed and at a limit, K.O.s the printer. A hacker has made a "return the counter to zero again" program, and your printer starts working fine again.

Then, we have the thermodynamics of diminishing energy returns from "mostly-depleted easy resources". (See: increasing energy cost of energy extracted - Ed")

The obsession with electricity For heat? For mechanical energy? For transport? Storage? Etc. What of the "Trompe" and cold-compressed air? What of hydraulic power?

Anyway, moving on, catch you later,


Angus Soutar replies: A first edition of "Consumer Engineering" is advertised on the internet at $2,200. That's a lot of money to pay for a dirty book! No doubt the perverted readers of the 1930's drooled over treats such as "America, with its enormous natural resources" and “we still have tree-covered slopes to deforest and subterranean lakes of oil to tap with our gushers...”

Watch Dan Halsey's interview with Angus.

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