News and Blog
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.
A post to the Goodreads discussion list 2013: The Year of Reading Proust in which over the year we read as a group about 60 pages a week and discuss it or not. There are now over 1000 members worldwide.
Almost three years ago I began reading Proust for his sentences; I still read him for his sentences. Jeremy Eichler, the Boston Globe music critic, writes in The Proust Project edited by André Aciman, "His long spiraling sentences unspool in the mind the way a warm sinuous melody by Brahms might unspool in the air."
Swann on the little phrase from Vinteuil's fictive sonata:
Of those sorrows of which it used to speak to him and which, without being affected by them, he had seen it carry along with it, smiling, in its rapid and sinuous course, of those sorrows which had now become his own, without his having any hope of ever being free of them, it seemed to say to him as it had once said of his happiness: "What does it matter? It means nothing."
Swann's Way, the Lydia Davis translation of Marcel Proust, p. 361