Search This Blog

Monday, March 24, 2008

Just some thoughts....James Herriot

Spring is a bold time of year. Here, where I live in Alaska, spring is very long. Not the spring I remember of youth, but several months of melting show interspersed with rain or snow showers, some days of sun, some days of 60MPH+ winds...everything mother nature wants to throw at you so that once summer does actually arrive, you are GRATEFUL for it. Sunburns and windburns now. Shearing sheep, a half dozen or more a day, as the weather and time allows. My shearer is older than I, so we both take our time rather than making it an all-day affair of pain and agony.
Visiting Jenny's blog in the UK reminded me of something.....those wonderful books all of us animal lovers have read - James Herriot. Could there be a better set of books in which to understand the people who raise and care for animals, the animals themselves, and the often desperate plight of the caregiver when something goes wrong, including the poor vet stuck in the middle of instant decision making?
Perhaps with spring being so long, it would be a good time to re-visit an old friend, maybe pick up The Lord God Made Them All, and sit down in between spring's furious moments and it's quiet read and remember we are not alone in our joy and our grief, our urge to forge ahead and our conflicting delight to stay put.
A cup of tea and a James Herriot book - what better way to settle down all those personal dilemnas that spring brings, yes??


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Oh, that sounds like a lovely idea! I have all the books, but no peace and quiet in which to do it. Busy six-year-old boys and nearly six-month-old puppies can't stand to see someone sitting still and relatively unoccupied - ha!

Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Ahhh, but that's the thing about spring! You MUST find time for yourself somehow, some way...perhaps after all the young ones are in bed, then it's your time. I have 12 dogs, 52 head of sheep, 35 head of dairy goats, and a load of poultry and cattle...somewhere in there if I don't make time to relax I will never function properly for the next triage. LOL!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Okay, I bow to your insanity - TWELVE DOGS?!? You must kennel them. And do you milk all those goats twice a day? That is a LOT of livestock, any way you cut it. Whew!

If I take a little time for myself, it's usually spinning or on the computer. A book is too hard to put down after 15 or 20 minutes....

Jenny Holden said...

What a good idea. I must have read those books so many times that I can recite passages! You're right, they get right under the skin of what farming folk are really like and how they care for their stock.

If you're coming to the UK then do give me a shout, I expect your friends in Shropshire wouldn't argue with the idea of a trip to the Lake district either. I'm afraid we're not quite trialling ourselves yet (but we are working on it!!) but we could certainly go and watch a traditional Cumbrian trial.

I'd love to visit Alaska some time, it looks so wild and beautiful.

Can you squeeze some of those beautiful spotty lambs in your suitcase?!


Alaska Shetland Shepherd said...

Jenny - you lucky girl! You're close to the Shetland Islands....close enough anyways. You should take to a few of the folks on this list who know the breeders there that may have spotted lines, and get a few lambs of your own. It's still quite possible that yours carry the recessive! All you might need is a spotted ram to help.

As far as visiting, spring is taking me over already. I was trying to come over but I can't seem to spread myself thin enough to make it until the fall. How far north or ???? are you from Whitchurch, Shropshire???

Jenny Holden said...

It would be quite exciting to have an expedition to the Shetland Isles in order to find new stock! I'd have to share costs with someone else though!! I've never visited Shetland but my parents when there on their Honeymoon and loved it.

I know that some of my sheep carry various spotting genes, I'm afraid I'm not entirely up to speed with the genetics yet. I'm inquiring about borrowing a spotted tup this autumn. I was going to buy one but I think borrowing will be a better idea first time around while I'm still setting up the land the way I want it. The barn isn't up yet and it was one 30 acre block which we are splitting into fields.

Shropshire isn't a million miles away. It's 130 miles north from Whitchurch to my village (but only about 100 to where the sheep are kept).

It may be better to chat about this over e-mail j_f_holden @
spaces need removing from address, it's there to stop spammers! :o)

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Very eloquently put! I love James Herriot and his myriad characters who all enriched our lives one way or another; one story I remember in particular was the woman and her dog with 'flop-bottom' was it? :) ...yeah, now I need to dig them out and read them again!