Tuesday, February 19, 2013


I'm reading two books simultaneously, both are about sheep farming and both are fantastic.  One is so beautifully written and makes me cry about every other page, it's so poignant and personal to me at this stage of my life.  Ann Mohin wrote The Farm She Was, while living on her own sheep farm not far from here.  She has since sold her farm for a lot of money and moved away, but stays in local Hamilton during the summer.   The other  is funny and entertaining - Sheepish by Catherine Friend.  Sheepish was preceeded by Hit By A Farm, which I have not read but plan to now that I know who well the author writes about sheep farming.   I don't have a lot of time to read, and tend to devour books quickly so I can get back to work.  I shy away from books about farming ordinarily, as they are often written by people with deep pockets and I become envious of their fine tractors, adequate fencing and nifty farm equipment.  Or they have husbands who love to build hay feeders in their spare time, or fix the chicken room door so the birds are contained where they are supposed to be.   I prefer books about farmers who are scraping by and suffering along, experiencing one tragedy after another, avoidable or otherwise.  I wonder why I prefer those books?   Sheepish is okay.   Her focus is on raising sheep for meat, which I do not do,  and halfway through the book she has not mentioned what kind of sheep she raises.  Not once.  Funny how, to some people, wool is wool and there is only one kind of sheep - a wooly one.  Our local feed store is selling local yarn without naming the breed of sheep the wool comes from.  Feels like a meat breed wool, and that might account for the lack of labelling.   That is ridiculously foreign to me, a spinner, and I mentioned to the proprietor of the feed store that the yarn should be labeled as various sheep produce wool with different qualities that are unique to the finished product.  She stared back and listened politely but did not relate.  I could see it in her eyes.  I'm only half way through Sheepish.  Maybe Ms. Friend will surprise me.  I have another sheep book or two waiting for me.  I pretty much dwell in sheep isolation for much of the year, certainly at work - sometimes I think I'm back in New Jersey as far as that's concerned - so I thought I would make contact through some books.  With Maryland Sheep and Wool looming large - the pinnacle of the sheep year - my life will be crazy for the next eight weeks.  So be it.  A page or two every now and then will be a real treat.  I'll finish Sheepish tonight and tomorrow as it's back to work on Thursday.  Don't ask - not a single snow day this year and we have to report for duty the end of this week.  Figures.

1 comment:

dot said...

I finished The Farm She Was last night and could have turned it over and read it again. What a wonderful book. I loved how Irene kept her mind and sense of humor as she grew old. And the mental image of Donna, the home health aide. She reminded Irene of an old ewe!! Priceless!! But probably an insult to a sheep. I had already read Sheepish and Hit by a Farm, but please recommend books as you find good ones. I love your blog (and your hand cream!!).