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Posted 2/22/2012 6:50am by Eugene Wyatt.

The Scream Edvard Munch 1895

New York City - Sotheby’s is honoured to announce that Edvard Munch’s masterpiece "The Scream" (pastel on board in artist's original frame, 31" x 22") will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on May 2, 2012.

The iconic work is one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa. This version of "The Scream" dates from 1895, and is one of four versions of the composition, and the only version still in private hands.

It will be on view in London for the first time ever, with the exhibition at Sotheby's opening on 13 April. In New York, and also for the first time ever, it will be on exhibition at Sotheby's in advance of the sale beginning 27 April. The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbour and patron of Munch. Possible sale estimate: $80 million US.

From Art Knowlege News

In a page in his diary headed Nice 22.01.1892, Munch described his inspiration for the image thus:

I was walking along a path with two friends – the sun was setting – suddenly the sky turned blood red – I paused, feeling exhausted, and leaned on the fence – there was blood and tongues of fire above the blue-black fjord and the city – my friends walked on, and I stood there trembling with anxiety – and I sensed an infinite scream passing through nature.

From Wikipedia

Posted 2/19/2012 10:21pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Saxon Merino Ewes Grazing In February

Monday morning Dominique and I drove about 20 minutes from the sheep to Warwick NY, where she grew up, and at her direction we wound around country roads then past a sign that said "Lowland Farm."  We pulled up to a barn and parked next to a beat up old farm truck that was once shiny and slathered with new car pride but now was mostly forgotten except when needed for a muddy chore that rusted it out further. 

We got out, saw Will coming up the road and said hello. The farm was hilly and had been cleared long ago, judging by the stonewalls and tree lines that surrounded the open grazing areas which were small; the farm had been founded when you needed less livestock to make a living farming. Will opened a gate and we slowly walked across a field up toward the cows.

The ground cover was brown and had died back from the frost that had come in late October. It looked similar to what I had around the farm. Will said it was principally canary grass; mine is orchard grass. I wondered how this dead brown grass and crunchy weeds could entirely support livestock.

The cows looked healthy; they had a good fat covering on them. I asked him, "You're feeding no grain?" He replied, "No grain." I nodded. I thought about the thousands of dollars I'd spent feeding grain to sheep this Winter that Will didn't spend feeding his cows. Dominique was talking about sheep, about how she wouldn't like not-feeding the bred ewes.  

I was looking and listening. Livestock are a farmer's charges; you take on animals, you take on the responsibility of caring for them "in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health..." It's that kind of a commitment. I looked at Will and stated in a questioning way, "You decided to graze your cows and if it didn't work out, you could feed them as a back up?"  He said, "Yes."  I nodded. I looked back at the brown grass at my feet, which had a little green growth in it, "Of course," I thought.

It was decided.

I said to Dominique, "OK, let's get the rams out grazing; we'll cut through that fence line to the un-grazed hay field; I'll chainsaw the brush and clear an opening, and we'll open the lightly grazed pastures behind the pond to the ewes."

"Rebecca and I can put up the portable electric fence in the new field," said Dominique, "but I still want to feed the bred ewes."

I nodded.

Posted 2/19/2012 6:56pm by Eugene Wyatt.

A 17 Micron Saxon Merino Ram

Wool is measured by its average fiber diameter (AFD) expressed in microns (one micron equals one millionth of a meter) and by its yield, which is the percentage of clean wool that remains after vegetable matter and grease have been washed out.

We always shear the first Monday in March, about two weeks before lambing begins. This year that Monday falls on March 5 with lambing beginning on or about March 23; that date is dependent on when we put the rams in with the ewes. Gestation in sheep takes five months.  

Shearing the ewe before lambing makes birthing easier for all involved: the ewe, the lamb and the shepherd.  The ewe can better mother her lamb, the lamb can better find the teat and the shepherd can better see how the mother and newborn are doing.

Shearing in late pregnancy: there is no danger of premature birth or of losing the lamb to an abortion (the sheep term for miscarriage) as there would be if the ewe were shorn in the early months of gestation. We schedule no handling of bred ewes in the first 3 months of pregnancy, no feet trimming, no deworming and no vaccinating for fear the ewe will lose her lamb. 

Last year at shearing we separated the lamb fleece (wool from sheep born a year ago) from the fleece of the older sheep by sorting the sheep into two age groups before shearing them.  After shearing I ended up with 1 bale of lamb's grease fleece and 4 bales of the grease fleece from older sheep.  The bales weigh about 600 lb.; they are shipped to the scourer for washing.  The yield is simply determined by weighing the grease wool before and the clean wool after scouring. For micron testing, core samples of the clean bales of wool are taken and sent to a wool lab for laser analysis.  I can have the wool micron tested at Texas A&M or privately, as I did, at Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories.

The micron test results came back Friday:

The AFD of lamb's wool, which is 100% Saxon Merino, measured 17.4 microns with a yield of 63.7%. This is an Ultrafine wool.  

The sample was from about 150 fleeces; some lambs had finer wool (sub 16 micron) and others had coarser wool. Green Mountain will spin it into yarn in March or April depending on their schedule. I suspect they've never spun a wool as fine as this.

The Superfine wool from the older sheep (also 100% Saxon Merino), which is coarser because older, had an AFD of 18.7 microns with a yield of 65.3% which is a record or a near-record yield in the United States. American sheep usually yield less than 50%.

For your inspection: the Sirolan Laserscan Micron Test Report from Yocom-McColl on the core samples of my Saxon Merino lamb's wool.

Posted 2/16/2012 3:33pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Saxon Merino Rams Winter Graze

Farmers are always learning. The week before last Dominique and I visited Will, a neighbor of hers, at Lowland Farm in Warwick, NY. He markets grass-fed beef and his cows were still on pasture grazing without being fed grain or hay; this grazing without supplementation interested me. It seems like winter grazing operations are always south of here but  his farm was 20 miles away, the climate would be similar. I wanted to see his 80 beef cows grazing in January. And Dominique had said that he'd been to a 'holistic' pasture seminar in Missouri put on in part by South Africans (it was Jan Smuts, a South African, who in 1926 coined the word "Holism") and I've always wanted to learn more about pasture management. Truly, I was skeptical about grazing livestock in Winter, particularly bred livestock, without feeding them; but Will was local, he was credible, he was someone to talk to (We'd met briefly at the Florida, NY Farmers' Market last August), I could look at his cows (some were bred too) and more importantly I could look at the condition of his pasture and compare it to mine at home.

I had hoped that if he could do it with cows I could do it with sheep. I'm not interested in making people believe they are 'more healthy' by increasing the Omega 3's in their diets by eating grass-fed meat (see my report of a discussion I had with Michael Pollan at Greenmarket), I'm simply interested in cutting costs by feeding less to the sheep, and at the same time, keeping them well nourished.  

I feed whole oats, my sheep love them, they are healthy; but oats have become expensive. Their price has tripled since I began farming 26 years ago and it has risen exponentially in recent years. When I asked the feed mill why oats had gone up so dramatically, they said that all grain prices were linked to the price of corn, "When corn goes up, everything goes up." Nobody seemed to know why.

Corn is mashed and distilled to make ethanol, an additive to gasoline, and it is supposed to make a gallon of gas cost less—but how can that negative be proven—gasoline is still expensive and now meat has become dear too (along with most other foods; recall that "When corn goes up...") because corn is a primary livestock feed. Corn's price is tied to ethanol production; the demand for ethanol has increased and so has the price of corn. It was once the cheapest feed a farmer could buy for his livestock, but no longer. 

Posted 2/16/2012 3:11pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Happy Brown, From Citric Dyes
A Sport Yarn From Our Saxon Merino Sheep

Available in Sport Yarn.

"Received yarn and have to say the Happy Brown is stunning!!!! Will be designing a fall sweater utilizing this yarn." O.S.

What more can be said.

2 ply, 2 oz (50 g), 175 yd, 6.5 stitches per inch on US 5

Citric dyes are true and beautiful and very fast; they are quicker to do and well priced.
Posted 2/14/2012 1:50pm by Eugene Wyatt.
"In His Book The Vegetable Lamb of Tartary (1887), Henry Lee describes the legendary lamb as believed to be both a true animal and a living plant."

Vegetable Lamb of Tartary  from Wikipedia

Posted 2/12/2012 1:16pm by Eugene Wyatt.

36 and 417

The rams enjoy winter pasture; to me, the grass looks to be gone but the sheep find bits of nutritious green hidden in the brown roughage and eat both.  They prefer this forage to the hay in bales I put out for them.  

Today the temperature is in the 20's, the wind howls; it's cold for me but not for them.

Posted 2/9/2012 8:50pm by Eugene Wyatt.

At Amazon I couldn't find a book with an example of Cicero's famed periodic sentence style (other authors were exampled; but not he, the original master) where the sentence is not complete and does not make sense until the last word, phrase or clause is written. Nothing in print, I was dumbfounded.

I appealed to Anthony Whalen, a professor of Latin I know from Greenmarket, for a translation showing me one of Cicero's periods as it appears verbatim in Latin. He chose the first sentence of De Officiis, "a doozy" to quote him, which had been chopped up into smaller (more understandable?) sentences by the modern translators whose books I'd leafed through. 

"Conventional modern English loves short sentences and hates long sentences; it is my dim recollection from Freshman Composition that the worst term of opprobrium that Strunk and White could wave at a passage was "run-on sentence". Therefore, modern translators have spayed (Cicero's) periods. Even in the Loeb Classical Library 1913 version, the translator is rather cheating with his semicolons, which are virtually independent sentences. Mine is a period."

Although it must be true, my son Marcus, that you, having heard now for a year the philosopher Cratippus in person, and that in Athens, must abound in precepts and principles of philosophy on account of the depth and deep learning of the teacher and of the city, the one of whom is able to augment you by knowledge, the other by examples, however, as I myself have for my own benefit joined Latin studies with Greek studies and not did I do this in philosophy only, but also in the discipline of forensic training, I maintain that same this should be done by you, so that you may be equal in the faculty of each language, indeed, by which thing, as it seems to us, we have rendered a signal service to our countrymen, so that not only those who cannot read Greek, but even the learned suppose they have gained something both in relation to oratorical training but in mental training.

After searching I found a 19th century version of De Officiis by Marcus Tullius Cicero 44 BC translated as On Duty with the original periodic sentence structure mostly intact by Andrew P. Peabody, 1887. 

Posted 2/6/2012 6:51am by Eugene Wyatt.

The term "essay" means "an attempt."

Others shape the man; I portray him, and offer to the view one in particular, who is ill-shaped enough, and whom, could I refashion him, I should certainly make very different from what he is. But there is no chance of that. . . . I cannot fix my subject. He is always restless, and reels with a natural intoxication. I catch him here, as he is at the moment when I turn my attention to him. I do not portray his being; I portray his passage; not a passage from one age to another or, as the common people say, from seven years to seven years, but from day to day, from minute to minute. I must suit my story to the hour, for soon I may change, not only by chance by also by intention. It is a record of various and variable occurrences, an account of thoughts that are unsettled and, as chance will have it, at times contradictory, either because I am then another self, or because I approach my subject under different circumstances and with other considerations. Hence it is that I may well contradict myself, but the truth . . . I do not contradict. Could my mind find a firm footing, I should not be making essays, but coming to conclusions; it is, however, always in its apprenticeship and on trial.

On Repentance Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), translated by John M. Cohen.

Tags: Montaigne
Posted 2/1/2012 8:13am by Eugene Wyatt.

Giandomenico Tiepolo (1727–1804)

Portraits by Tiepolo shown publicly for the first time at Fundación Juan March in Madrid.

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