The last couple of yarns were sort of cliffhangers, and even the ones about lambing were never really resolved. Like so much in life, these stories are not really finished, but at least here’s an update.
All is well, all is well.
Angels and men rejoice
For tonight darkness fell into the dawn of love’s light.
I’ve never felt particularly religious, but then I’ve never felt particularly political, either, until the last couple of years. However, I’ve always loved classical music inspired by faith, particularly the beautiful choral works for Christmas. This year the leader of our small choir (retired professional pianist Roslyn) taught us a carol I’d not heard before, and its reassuring message found a home in my heart, helping to me to stand fast against the feelings of anxiety and helplessness that seem to pervade the daily news.
Fred Provenza’s much-anticipated new book, Nourishment: What Animals Can Teach Us About Rediscovering Our Nutritional Wisdom will be launched next week. Long-time readers of Yarns from the Farm will recognise Fred’s name as the mentor who, along with Alice the sheep, taught me all I know about the interactions between plant and animal grazing behaviours.
“In this magnificent book…Provenza weaves together philosophy, nutritional science, memoir, and his humble appreciation for the natural world into an inspiring meditation on our moment on Earth.”
—Courtney White, author of Grass, Soil, Hope
Lots, actually, when it comes to livestock. Anecdotally, cows with names give more and better milk, and in my experience, named sheep generally grow more and better wool than the flock average. But of course, there's even more, when social structure comes into play. I'm finally back from my self-imposed "summer" break, which has extended well into northern hemisphere summer. It turned out to be an even better idea than I thought, giving me much-needed time to reflect on the business and my life in general. Time away from writing affirmed my love of the work I do.
Back in my university student days, I took up photography with all the enthusiasm you would expect. I even learned how to develop and print my own photos. In my zeal, I took my trusty SLR camera with me everywhere, on every adventure. After a couple of years, though, I realised my world had shrunk to what I could see through the lens: I was framing my experiences by what would fit in the limited rectangle of the viewfinder. So I quit taking photographs, relying on the emulsion sheet of memory to record my adventures, hoping to regain a wide-angle experience. I regret not having a photographic record of those years, but I'm sure I was more present in each moment as a result.
The high-stress, full-on action of shearing seems at first blush to have nothing whatever to do with meditation.