News and Blog
We pulled the "volunteer garlic", that had overwintered, that was missed in last July's harvest, that had planted itself (after fencing the sheep away) to make the lamb sausage that New York has been calling for since last Spring. Garlic must be good for the memory too.
It's no excuse, and I'm not he, Norman Mailer said that he was reading, not writing. I have been reading In Search of Lost Time, with others in a Goodreads discussion group, about 100 pages a week taking an entire year, and consequently by coincidence...
A comment to the group on this week's reading:
Marcel Proust wrote: The streets belong to everybody, I repeated to myself, giving a different meaning to the words, and marveling that indeed in the crowded street, often soaked with rain, which gave it a precious lustre like the streets, at times, in the old towns of Italy, the Duchesse de Guermantes mingled with the public life of the world moments of her own secret life, showing herself thus in all her mystery to everyone, jostled by all and sundry, with the splendid gratuitousness of the greatest works of art. Modern Library p. 190, vol. 3
This is a sentence I find beautiful; this is one of the several reasons that I began reading ISOLT (In Search of Lost Time) several years ago and it is one of the many, many syntactical marvels that are to be found in the novel. Let me attempt to tell you of some of its beauty for me.
The subject is "I", the main verb is "repeated" and the object is "The streets belong to everybody" which precedes them. All that follows would be qualifiers of the object or of the verb. I will not bore myself or you too much, I will simplify the exact and correct terms that a grammarian would use in her description of the sentence--in truth I don't know all the terms--and besides they are not required by me to appreciate the sentence's beauty. One intuits language, one intuits beauty.
...marveling that indeed in the crowded street, often soaked with rain, which gave it a precious lustre like the streets, at times, in the old towns of Italy, the Duchesse de Guermantes mingled with the public life of the world moments of her own secret life...
Within this qualifying utterance, telling what he did: "marveling", when he "repeated" the object, Proust has the Narrator further qualify it: "often soaked with rain" and he qualifies that by "...which gave it a precious lustre like the streets, at times, in the old towns of Italy..." and qualifies that likening simile by interrupting himself with "at times" before he gets to what he marveled at, "...the Duchesse de Guermantes mingled with the public life of the world moments of her own secret life...". And the qualifications continue...
This is why I like to read Proust and when you parse the writing like this you understand what Jean Milly says in Le phrase de Proust that the structure of ISOLT approximates the structure of his sentences.
The qualifications, or parentheticals that he uses, permit Proust to elaborate on character or situation in great detail, and greater but minute detail, for which he is famed as a verbal stylist; they enable Proust antithetical formulations: "...with the public life of the world moments of her own secret life..." that we find in subjects made more real to us or more lovely as in lyrical constructions that have a freshness of song to them by juxtaposing contrasting clauses, phrases or words as in "...with the splendid gratuitousness of the greatest works of art."
Thursday we weaned the lambs: we kept them in the barn and drove the eager mothers down hill to lush grass. The lambs had been eating oats and hay for several weeks and gaining weight; occasionally they sucked mother's milk but the milk was decreasing from the first weeks after birth.
There is a maternal attachment that lasts about three days after weaning; both the ewes, a half a mile away and out of earshot, in pasture and the lambs in the barn on free-choice oats and hay call for one another, mostly from habit—a real John Cage cacophony.
But all is well, calm and quiet now. Tuesday the lambs go to pasture and they will become sheep as the seasons turn and as night becomes day.
60 Blue took a sheep taxi up to the shearing shed.
Dominique leads Saxon Merino ewes up to the shearing shed to be shorn a week from today.
I took the photo above with my iPhone and tweeted the following but what's been running through my mind is that Twitter is for people who have nothing to say and who say it all the same. I'm afraid, I'm one of them.
Evening sheep check: "Not a mouse stirring," said Francisco to Bernardo waiting for the Ghost in Hamlet. pic.twitter.com/UO7gq1cf
The sheep pictured are bred Saxon Merino ewes who will be shorn on Monday March 4th as they were shorn 12 months ago on the first Monday in March. The average fiber diameter of the wool will be 17 micron; it will yield 65% of clean wool upon scouring and will have a staple length of 3.5 inches. No one else, outside of Australia, can boast of such figures.
The barn on the horizon is our shearing and lambing shed. Next week we will slowly lead the ewes up the hill with a Kelpie sheepherding dog, Poem, following attentively behind. We are preparing the barn to house them inside in case of rainy weather over shearing. You can't shear wet sheep. The rest of the year they live outside under the stars, rain or shine.
About 20 days later, on the 23rd of March we will formally begin lambing but every year there are several early arrivals the week before which is good for us as we are able to get our 'lambing system' running smoothly for the scheduled deliveries of about 12 lambs a day for the first 18 days then lambing will slow to an average of 6 births a day for the next 18 day ovulation cycle.
After that, we're finished. The preceding October, 5 months ago (the time of gestation), we separated the rams from the ewes after two 18 day ovulation cycles.
It's now the 1st of May; the grass is green and growing. Another year has begun.
We dye yarn that we've sold out of. We began this Umber with a Gray Heather yarn that was custom spun for us at the Green Mountain Spinnery in Vermont; where we specify the percentages of dyed black & undyed wool to be carded lightly before spinning. At the farm we overdye the gray with blue, red, purple, green and umber colors.
Our skeins weigh 2 oz (50 g) and measure 140 yd with 5 stitches per inch on US 8 needles.
Take a look at our work in the Yarn Store.
A post to the Goodreads discussion list 2013: The Year of Reading Proust.
An instructor at the Arts Students League, begun in New York in 1875, told the painting class I was in that "Picasso proves that you don't have to be a nice guy to be a great artist." and we could say something similar of one of Proust's characters that, 'You don't have to be a nice guy to have an aesthetic experience,' when describing M. Charles Swann.
Aesthetic is defined by Merriam-Webster: "of, relating to, or dealing with aesthetics or the beautiful" as in aesthetic theories or beliefs. Foregoing the Greek root, let's talk of a more homey word, the beautiful. I read Proust is for the beauty of his sentences and Proust uses many of them when he describes the varied inner-workings of Swann as he listens to "the little phrase" of Vinteuil's sonata. A sentence fragment describes Swann and music at Mme. Saint-Euverte's party:
"(Swann)...who experienced something like the refreshing sense of a metamorphosis in the momentary blindness with which he had been struck as he approached it, Swann felt that it was present, like a protective goddess, a confidant of his love, who, so as to be able to come to him through the crowd, and to draw him aside to speak to him, had disguised herself in this sweeping cloak of sound." Moncrieff
This is Proust's version of figuralism http://bit.ly/11IWXjh (eyes wide shut K ;-) that comes from Ruskin's adaption of it; it is about the experience of beauty and it is so beautifully written. On the other hand we have Jim Everett saying, "To write about Proust’s aesthetics is necessarily to contradict Proust’s intentions. For him, art begins where rational explanation ends." in The Proust Reader http://bit.ly/VgIgkU.
The views are opposed and I believe them both as did Proust, I suspect.
February 15, 2013 Marcel Proust and Swann's Way: 100th Anniversary opens at the Morgan; I'm hoping that there will be translations in English or at least printed transcriptions of his hand-written drafts, complete with additions and crossings out, in French to examine his writing/editing process. Nick provided BnF notebook transcripts in another discussion but I found Proust's hand hard to read.