Well, it’s one of those days. I had a lovely post all completed and ready to go, something about a cool gadget, and it’s been swallowed whole by the ethers (the post, not the gadget). It’s a mystery. I can recreate it, but it will take more time than I have available right now.
So instead, I’m posting a few images of some of my favorite meadows around our village.
They grow wild every year. Sometimes they are used for grazing, some years they’re just left to their own wild devices.
The composition of wildlflowers is different with each year and each season. Some years have more purple. This year is trending yellow.
Each of the fields, even if they are only on opposite sides of the small country road, goes its own way when it comes to plant life.
And these are a few of the herbivore fertilizer units that populate the meadows at various times during the year. They are also the happy recipients of the meadowflowers and grasses that get cut and baled, once at the end of spring and once at the end of summer.
The local stud, that big white fellow in the middle, amongst a few of his admirers.
The air is alive with cowbells, birdsong and the hum of insect activity.
All in all, not a bad life for a dairy herd, or for the runner who passes them on a daily basis.
Image of the suovetaurilia, a Roman sacrificial rite in which three animals – a sheep, a pig and a bull – were offered to the god of Mars. “That with the good help of the gods success may crown our work, I bid thee, Manius, to take care to purify my farm, my land, my ground with this suovetaurilia, in whatever part thou thinkest best for them to be driven or carried around.” This 1st century Roman engraving is found in the Louvre.
Sheep have been domesticated and a part of human life and agriculture for something around 10,000 years.
The annual sheep herd that grazes in the meadow next door to our place arrived over the weekend. They’ll forage here until December, when they get carted off again by a sheep farmer who places sheep in meadows all across our region like shaggy pawns in a large chessgame of milk, meat and wool.
French sheep farmers released a small flock of sheep into the Louvre Museum in Paris last week to protest cuts in subsidies to small farmers which are under discussion in the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).
Herd of sheep in the Louvre.
From a Reuters article, “They were objecting to the effects of the industrialisation of agriculture, saying they feared for farmers’ jobs.
“What we can see today is a desire on the part of the agricultural ministry to impose a marginalising policy which will get rid of farmers so we came here to say we don’t belong to a museum and that our place is in the countryside, where we can revitalise the countryside, create jobs and develop quality produce, that’s why we came here today,” said a spokesman.”
The sheep next door in the cherry orchard.
Photo: PK Read
The farm next to ours, and many around our place, unequivocally add to the life quality of our area, and not just in terms of food. The small farms here ensure that the area isn’t paved over with suburban and apartment developments, and that the farmers who have been here for generations carry on the knowledge of land and farming they have inherited.
I do feel a bit badly for the sheep that were herded through the Louvre, probably in panic and without any time to enjoy some of the lovely pastoral paintings there. But I do have a deep appreciation for the fact that no arrests were made – all protesting farmers and their sheep were released without charge.