Ovine Appreciation

Image of the suovetaurilia, a Roman sacrificial rite in which three animals - a sheep, a pig and a bull 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. Source: Wikipedia

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.
Source: Wikipedia

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. Photo: antenna

Herd of sheep in the Louvre.
Photo: antenna

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 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.

Pocket of Protest

We were in Trondheim, Norway, last week – the third largest city in the country. It’s a tidy collection of picturesque wood houses, some modern developments that blend in well to the existing architecture and environment – and then this small stretch of alternative existence between a posh harbor development, an industrial area of what used to be WWII submarine docks, and a natural park. It came as a bit of a surprise – a sort of free-wheeling, politico-enviro encampment that resonated of the 1970s and early 80s.

The ‘environmental experiment’ known as the Reina area is co-administered by the self-named Svartla’mon residents and the city itself. Lots of shared urban gardening in the more private space behind this row of 19th-century buildings, lots of activist shops and cafés tucked here and there, a free shop (Gratisbutikken) and a large anarchic-looking playground/kindergarten that reminded me a bit of my own early childhood in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury.

Alternative neighborhood, Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read

Alternative neighborhood, Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

At the end of the street, just before the neighborhood morphed suddenly into a large natural park, was this piece of wall art which I imagine is a statement on plastic, consumer goods, recyclability, as well as being a good signpost to the pocket protest area itself.

Recycled wall. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read

Recycled wall. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

A couple of close-ups:

Recycled wall detail. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read

Recycled wall detail. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

We noticed that none of the items were spray-painted – they were ordered by their original colors. A nice, sassy installation. I particularly liked the bathroom segment below, including the plastic soap holder, as well as the old typewriter above, very similar to the one I learned on myself.

Recycled wall detail. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read

Recycled wall detail. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

A ten-minute hike from this area, the Lade neighborhood looks like this:

Lade Walk. Trondheim, Norway Photo: PK Read

Lade Walk. Trondheim, Norway
Photo: PK Read

An abrupt transition, but no less interesting.