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Posted 3/16/2014 10:22am by Eugene Wyatt.

In addition to Rosemary lamb sausages, which Rebecca grills to sample at the Union Square Greenmarket, we bring out a newly seasoned lamb sausage every couple of weeks.

One of our latest was a Scallion Coriander lamb sausage which of course has scallions, coriander, salt and a small amount of garlic that we grew on the farm. Our sausages are 100% local lamb; they have a lamb casing and never have any synthetic preservatives in them. Our lamb contains what the label on it says.

You can choose lamb sausages from: Merguez, Mergueza, Curry-Pomegranite, Garlic-Fennel, Red Pepper & Fennel, Sage, Maqaniq, Apple Maple, Garlic Merlot, Sun Dried Tomato & Caper, Apricot Merlot, Roasted Garlic & Tomato, Mint & Onion and more.  And when our garlic sprouts in April, you can have a Spring Garlic lamb sausage made with the garlic greens from "volunteers", garlic that was overlooked at last year's harvest, overwintered in the field and sprouted again.

Free of synthetic preservatives, we also have Lamb Bacon, Lamb Pastrami, Lamb Liverwurst and Lamb Jerky to please your palate along with the wholesome and traditional chops and roasts that are available every Saturday at Greenmarket and from our Lamb Store online.

Posted 3/12/2014 9:41am by Eugene Wyatt.

I don't like being negative in print but you've got to call a spade a spade.

~

After several years of not smoking cigarettes, last year I thought I'd have the best of both worlds: a nicotine feeling and the safety from smoking a pipe by not inhaling the smoke. I was wrong; I got my nicotine alright but I started coughing, not from the direct inhalation but who is closer to secondhand smoke than a pipe smoker. I was inches away from it and a cloud of tobacco smoke was before my mouth and nose as I puffed my pipe. Many people told me burning pipe tobacco smelled good and it wasn't as objectionable as sour cigarette smoke was—I liked smoking Solani Silver Flake, a "ripe red Virginia and spicy dark fired Kentucky" blended by the pipe tobacco masters of Denmark—and, what I liked, was that it was not from Big Tobacco (Philip Morris, Reynolds, and Lorillard); pipe tobacco is a crop from small farms and it has been artisanally blended for 100's of years. Nevertheless I coughed, pipe smoking wasn't safe or healthy; I had to quit it but I did like the feeling of nicotine.

On my computer I searched for "chewing tobacco", a smokeless tobacco that one puts in your mouth between the lower gum and lip. The problem was you had to expectorate the tobacco juice from time to time. I thought of Lenny Dyksrta, a baseball player who chewed tobacco, the Met's centerfielder in the 80's, upon the inning change, an opposing centerfielder remarked that centerfield was a "toxic wasteland" when he had to inhabit it after an inning of Dyskstra being there. I thought of Leman Robbin's father in Fresno, a farm labor contractor, when I was 15 and his new cream yellow 1958 Ford Fairlane of which the front and rear doors were streaked with a dried, brownish-green tobacco juice as he spit out the window driving to a peach orchard at 60 MPH in the hot San Joaquin Valley. It looked like he'd gotten sick. I didn't want to spit.

I read on and I came to Snus (pronounced "snoose"), a smokeless tobacco from Sweden, and because it didn't make you salivate, you didn't have to spit. You put the tobacco between the upper gum and lip; one Swedish company has been making Snus since 1822; users said it wouldn't hurt you; but, as for almost everything else, naysayers said that Snus wasn't good for you, that it would cause cancer, etc. You could only order it from Sweden. I was intrigued and continued reading.

Let me interrupt my little tobacco narrative and talk about what's good for you from the point of view of a grower and provider of small food and tell you what I believe and what some of my customers believe too. Belief is a good word to describe what one deems healthy to eat in America; before 1940 food was from pure soil and from animals grazing it; since then the soil has been adulterated with chemicals and the food modernizations (made for corporate profit and not for health), coming year after year, have been silent or tacitly agreed to by the consumer who says about the food that corporations produce, "it's bigger, it's prettier, it's fresher, it's cheaper..." not knowing how their produce got that way or caring that the cheap cost of nutrition is damage to their collective selves. There was little scientific evidence about food growing and that continues today; part of the reason for this information vacuum is that Big Food (McDonalds, Frito-Lay Cargill, Monsanto and including many other food producers and marketeers) wants an uninformed consumer (look at what they spend to ban labeling) as food corporations make more money feeding our blind beliefs rather than by disclosing the facts of how they produce their products; their practices (sanctioned by the USDA and FDA) may make us ill, and certainly, the way they farm and distribute their products will continue to make our environment unsuitable to support the complex web of life.

Historically the human is an omnivore; a feast in 800 BC (Homer's time) was eating a fire roasted leg of lamb and drinking mulled wine as one listened to a bard play a lyre and sing sweetly of the gods. There is little mention in The Odyssey of fruit and vegetables but they have been eaten since before history was recorded even, and of course you know the biblical story that Eve gave Adam an apple to bite into...

My father was obese for all the eating reasons and my mother smoked cigarettes. Both died at the age of their parents who were not excessive in the same way. Within reason, longevity and health have genetic causes rather than being caused by the food we eat, or so I believe. Insurance and medical corporations statistically think this too; you will be asked on a form in the doctor's office, at what age did your parents die and from what? 

Yes, eating well is the best revenge and there are caveats (nurture cautions) to this genetic interpolation of eating, good health and longevity; I believe in labeling and in my good awareness to choose no synthetics in my food, no herbicides or pesticides used in it, no unlabeled GMO's, no antibiotics in livestock feed, no high fructose corn syrups as I don't want to eat food (healthy or not) treated in this way. Or in other words NO Big Food as food corporations have been the perpetrators of producing, what I call, a tainted food.

Corporations, big and small, are chartered to make money—they won't go away unless the money goes away—they are rather dumb entities (and annoying like stink bugs) even though they employ smart people. Corporations follow the money, as Deep Throat said to The Washington Post about exposing those responsible for the Watergate burglary. But you can change corporate direction by how you spend your money.

Day-to-day, you should eat what you want and spend accordingly, you buy what you're hungry for, but you eat for your own health (my recommendation is to eat food the way it was produced for your grandparents)—listen to your body and trust it because it's hungry for what it needs—not something as falsely patriotic as the financial health of Big Food or The American Way or jobs and tax paying or some other metaphorical sugar-substitute mouthed by elected officials. 

As Ben Franklin stated, 'Moderation in all things for a virtuous life' and that means in all things including moderation in what you eat. Michael Pollan ("The Godfather of Good Eating," as someone described him to me) confessed a love for Cracker Jacks—what absolute food crap Cracker Jacks are: now made by Frito-Lay, they contain GE corn and peanuts, are raised with herbicides and pesticides and have a high-fructose sweetener (but "molasses-flavored") sprayed on them, etc.—but Michael Pollan enjoys Cracker Jacks. And that is very good.

The point is that he generally eats well such that on occasion, and on many occasions too, he can eat poorly without becoming obese or making Big Food richer, or if you believe, without making himself sick. He eats in moderation, he says. And eating Cracker Jacks do moderate his good eating habits as eating bad food is a win-win for an omnivore—and he seems to be a virtuous man. Anyway, he is a food champion and I might remind myself that this morceau is about eating and not about virtue.

Call this my rationale of synthetic additives, if you will, and Michael Pollan might smile too—but Snus has a small measure of propylene glycol in it to maintain a moisture which obviates wetting the tobacco with saliva and the spitting one finds with American smokeless tobaccos—I call this a moderation.

Another thing that won me over to Snus, like being banned in Boston, it is banned in the EU. Why, I don't know. I am not endorsing Snus as you must be over 18 years of age to read me. I like the feel of nicotine and I like a way to ingest it without having smoke in my lungs and I like the absence of the oral ritual—the habit—of smoking. It's been over 30 days since I've smoked my pipe; I seldom miss it and certainly don't miss the coughing and the shortness of breath that went along with inhaling the smoke, even inadvertantly. I'll probably continue Snus through April until I start riding my bike in warmer weather, but who knows. Moderation in all things, even in health.

Posted 3/12/2014 7:37am by Eugene Wyatt.

After shearing, I truck the wool in shearing bags to Adamstown, Pennsylvania, to the Bollman Hat Company where until 10 years ago they custom scoured the wool having a scouring train that was put in their factory in 1941. It's become unprofitable to scour there now; instead, I have it compressed and baled to truck by common carrier to San Angelo, Texas where Bollman has their new, higher-capacity scouring train.

Yesterday I rented a diesel truck from Budget with a 26 foot bed and filled it with 49 wool bags of Saxon Merino lamb's wool: 17 micron, Saxon Merino sheep's wool: 18 micron and crossbred lamb's wool: 22 micron, sired by Corriedale rams bred to Saxon Merino ewes.

Next: the scouring in Texas, the trucking to Vermont for spinning at Green Mountain before it appears at the stand for sale in the Union Square Greenmarket on Saturday.

I forgot the ear buds to my iPhone, I couldn't listen to a recorded book as I usually do on these hour long drives and that was a good thing; as even though the truck was new, it was hard-riding and bouncy plus it slowed considerably on inclines, full or empty—it required attention and sometimes anticipation while driving.

Tags: Wool
Posted 3/9/2014 11:31am by Eugene Wyatt.

I always have a hard time finishing one book and starting another—what should I read now—now that I've finished a tandem read of The Odessey by Homer and Ulysses by Joyce? I tend to gravitate to things I've read before and read them again...the comfort of ending one author's style and beginning another way of writing—at first seemingly foreign—is, if not traumatic, certainly somewhat immobilizing in the beginning of a new novel.

One passage that I remember from Marcel Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu is the party at the Marquise de Saint-Euverte's in Swann In Love from Swann's Way and I wanted to visit it again.

http://www.catskill-merino.com/party-at-the-marquise-de-saint-euvertes

Where the lovelorn Swann climbs the staircase of the Marquise to attend the party, is repulsed by the stupidity of the society people there, sees his witty friend the Princess de Laumes and hears Vinteuil's sonata again. Vinteuil's sonata contains la petite phrase which so enraptured him when he'd first heard it with Odette and hearing it again he is reminded of the futility of his love for her.

I thought of art, I thought of Diane R. Leonard's Ruskin and the Cathedral of Lost Souls in The Cambridge Companion to Proust, 2001 edited by Richard Bales where she talks of impressions as a way to appreciate art and of Susan Sontag, Against Interpretation1964. 

I saw Susan Sontag in the 1980's exiting the movie I had just seen, Floating Weeds, 1959 by Yasujiro Ozu. Yoko, a friend and painter, pointed her out to me heading toward First Avenue in the company of a young man: she had the shock of a gray forelock in her dark hair—God, she was beautiful—or that was my interpretation.

Or was that my impression? Things get murky with some definitions: they have a tendency to overlap their meanings depending on who you read.

A Susan Sontag disclaimer to focus what she says,

Of course, I don't mean interpretation in the broadest sense, the sense in which Nietzsche (rightly) says, "There are no facts, only interpretations." By interpretation, I mean here a conscious act of the mind which illustrates a certain code, certain "rules" of interpretation.

And Diane R. Leonard says,

Ironically, Proust himself is in a similar situation here: despite the fact that he is reading (Stones Of Venice) inside St Mark's, he is reading the text of Ruskin (interpreting), rather than the figural language of the mosaics. Moreover, the inscriptions on the mosaics prevent him from having that innocence of the eye indispensable to the truth of impression.

Both Sontag and Leonard want that innocence of the eye indispensable to the truth of impression when approaching a work of art. A 3rd grader has that eye but one must school one's self into it if one is an adult or even a learned scholar and unlearn a little.

Art dealer Michael Findlay in The Value of Art: Money, Power, Beauty, 2012 cries out vociferously in his book against the audio guides in museums and the people who are consuming a curator's interpretation rather than looking at art with an innocent eye and forming their own impressions.

But what about Swann, Proust's character, when he hears the sonata again? Why do I like this passage? Part of the answer is I like Swann; he is who I'd like to be, if one can so wish of a fictional creation. He is wealthy, he gets all the girls, he is socially accepted by the most "fashionable" in Parisian society, he is knowledgeable about art and is writing a piece on Vermeer and he falls in love; he is a sensuous man.

Part of the answer too is that Proust writes about art, about Swann's views of Vinteuil's sonata, about la petite phrase, and that interests me. Another part of the answer is that Swann is flawed and flawed about his considerations of art. He compares people he meets to paintings, he doesn't take his acquaintances as they are. He interprets them. In this respect, as much as I wouldn't like to be Swann, to Proust's credit, he's real.

And another part of the answer is I don't know why I like this passage—perhaps it's the silence of it—that I will always think of it is to Proust's credit too.

And Diane R. Leonard again,

"(Proust) thus puts into practice an idea that (John) Ruskin himself had elaborated in Sesame and Lilies:

And be sure also, if the author is worth anything, that you will not get at his meaning all at once ... Not that he does not say what he means, and in strong words too; but he cannot say it all; and what is more strange, will not, but in a hidden way and in parables ... I cannot quite see the reason of this, nor analyse that cruel reticence in the breasts of wise men which makes them always hide their deeper thought. They do not give it you by way of help, but of reward; and will make themselves sure that you deserve it before they allow you to reach it ... 

Apparently Proust was struck by this passage, for he comments on it in a footnote, observing that a beautiful book is characterised by ' ... sa noble atmosphere de silence, ce merveilleux vernis qui brille du sacrifice de tout ce qu'on n'a pas dit ... '(Sesame, p. 85, n. i) ' ... its noble atmosphere of silence, that marvellous varnish which shines with the sacrifice of all that has not been said ...'"

Notwithstanding, I like what I see. Overall I like Proust's style; I like his long sinuous sentences. I like his freshness of figural language but I'm a little bored with his numerous people in sickness similes; one knows Proust was ill and because of that he makes use of illness to make a reader see; however, this fault becomes a method of seeing, by contrast, what one likes in À la recherche du temps perdu: Swann listening to Vinteuil's sonata at the Marquise de Saint-Euverte's party,

As though the musicians were not nearly so much playing the little phrase as performing the rites on which it insisted before it would consent to appear, as proceeding to utter the incantations necessary to procure, and to prolong for a few moments, the miracle of its apparition, Swann, who was no more able now to see it than if it had belonged to a world of ultra-violet light, 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.

Marcel Proust translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff.

Posted 3/8/2014 7:51am by Eugene Wyatt.

Now Dominique has a week to ready the barn for our scheduled lambing and the slew of babies coming; almost all the ewes are expecting.

I'm in New York at the Union Square Greenmarket and will break the market day at the Met seeing 19th century French photographs of Paris in the early afternoon.

For her break, Dominique will coddle the dozen or so unexpected lambs that arrived last week sired by a Saxon Merino ram who jumped the fence and was with the ewes for less than a day.

Posted 3/7/2014 7:06am by Eugene Wyatt.

Quiet :)

Posted 3/6/2014 9:00pm by Eugene Wyatt.

...at 9:25 PM.

Posted 3/6/2014 7:56am by Eugene Wyatt.

Text from Dominique at 7:35 AM : No new lambs...

~

Music by Frank O'Hara, 1964

If I rest for a moment near The Equestrian
pausing for a liver sausage sandwich in the Mayflower Shoppe,
that angel seems to be leading the horse into Bergdorf's
and I am naked as a table cloth, my nerves humming.
Close to the fear of war and the stars which have disappeared.
I have in my hands only 35c, it's so meaningless to eat!
and gusts of water spray over the basins of leaves
like the hammers of a glass pianoforte. If I seem to you
to have lavender lips under the leaves of the world,
I must tighten my belt.
It's like a locomotive on the march, the season
of distress and clarity
and my door is open to the evenings of midwinter's
lightly falling snow over the newspapers.
Clasp me in your handkerchief like a tear, trumpet
of early afternoon! in the foggy autumn.
As they're putting up the Christmas trees on Park Avenue
I shall see my daydreams walking by with dogs in blankets,
put to some use before all those coloured lights come on!
But no more fountains and no more rain,
and the stores stay open terribly late.

At 61st Street and 5th Avenue looking south toward the Plaza Hotel.

Posted 3/5/2014 6:12pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Dominique found him this morning. Oh well, he's a pretty newborn; but maybe he's a girl. I didn't look, but I will when I do a lamb check at 9 PM this evening.

~

A lamb is a lamb and he is a boy.

Posted 3/4/2014 4:15pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Twins. Hopefully these are the last lambs bred by the ram who jumped the fence 5 months ago pre-breeding. There was supposed to be a break after shearing before lambing, "No rest for the wicked," as my grandfather, Augustus Lee Goff (1876-1955), would have said. 

When one came up with an excuse, another thing he'd say, "If the dog hadn't stopped...(grandfather didn't say what the dog might have stopped for)...he would have caught the rabbit." When my grandmother heard this said in front of the children she would look sternly at him and say, "Lee".

The planned break between shearing and lambing was to prepare ourselves: readying the barn with 30+ jugs (we will have a week of ~20 ewes lambing a day) and ordering supplies that we will need, etc.

One of the things we need is ear tags; each year's lambing has a different color ear tag that we apply to the newborn. This year's tags (to be delivered this week) will be red and will be consecutively numbered. Last year's color was pink, the year before was black and the years before that were blue, green and yellow. Before that we used a different shaped ear tag. We like to know how old a sheep is at a glance; his or her ear tag number will tell us the lambing performance as we record the sire and dam of every ear tagged newborn and comment on the birth: date, sex and whether it is a single, a twin, a triplet, etc. This is the sheep's pedigree.

I will go to the lambing barn tonight again and take care of those who need it. If the dog hadn't stopped...

~

Lamb check at 9:20 PM: No newborns. The gestating ewes we lying about the barn or standing near the walls and were either chewing their cud or some were eating hay from the round bale; they were relaxed and barely moved out of my way as I walked through them with my flash light. Occasionally, I had to say, "Sst-Sst" to the sheep who blocked me and they would clear a path then stop after several steps and go back to doing what they were doing with that dreamy but inscrutable sheep look in their eyes. They treated me as if I were another sheep.

I slowly stomach-tubed (inserted a 14" long by 1/4" diameter flexible plastic tube mounted on a large syringe in the mouth making sure the lamb's head is back and the neck is stretched to prevent the tube from going into the lungs) 3 smaller and weaker newborn lambs in jugs with 2 ounces of ewe's milk. We will continue supplementing them every 3-4 hours on cold days until they are perky.

Then I turned off the lights and said good night; they ignored me and I liked that.