Monday, April 4, 2011

ruminant ramble

Gouda-evening.

It's monday night. The night I have to myself - or as a friend recently put it - the night i tie scarves on my wrists and ankles and dance around to fleetwood mac. In reality; the night I snack on cheese all night and drink wine and try on all my jewelry at once and smoke a single cigarette...all alone.
Well, there it is.

sweetgrass


I've been haunted this past week by Sweetgrass, a film by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Ilisa Barbash about the last great american sheep drive through the highlands of Montana. Seen it? I can't stop thinking about it...

I listened to a podcast of Lucien talking about his experience trailing the herders for a summer in the mountains. He talked a bit about the giant pyrenees mountain dogs that live amidst the herd and will fight to the death when wolves or bears come around looking to eat a sheep. Curiously, in the movie you see the dogs one evening devouring something that looks a lot like a lamb...

Lucien explained that although the dogs are often starving (only so much kibble can be brought in to replenish the cowboy's supplies) they would never kill a sheep. But! as soon as a sheep is dead - they tear into it. Like white on rice. I find this so fascinating.

Also want to tell you the pyrenees mountain dogs are thick as bricks. Very different from the working collies that rally and round up the sheep.

Also also want to tell you that apparently sheep farming has been declining in the US for decades. Americans simply don't eat lamb and don't wear wool. (In fact last night Eric and I fashioned a pizza with lamb sausage, carmelized onions and ricotta. I would say it was the best pizza we have ever made. A welcome break from our mostly vegetarian regimen which is boring, but important to me. Sadly most lamb you find in groceries comes all the way from New Zealand, where sheep farming is part of the national identity.)

Also want to tell you that Lucien said that sheep farming is the one of the few industries that has not been vertically integrated into the modern farming system - that is to say that sheep can't be brought up in feed lots.

I really want to have a sheep farm someday. or next year.



14 comments:

Shayna said...

When you have a sheep farm, I'll come help you make the wool into yarn. The knitters, we love sheep.

Ringo, have a banana! said...

Oh wow, I need to see this! My parents have a small flock and I grew up around sheep and wool and the smell of lanolin. I miss seeing (and getting to name) all the lambs in the Spring!

fleur_delicious said...

somehow knowing that American sheep aren't raised on feed lots makes me feel better about wearing wool and buying wool cloth (I stick to natural fibers) and how much I like lamb (though I only eat meat once or twice a week, generally speaking, and I rarely get lamb since my husband doesn't like it for some reason).

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Bárbara said...

Hi, Sarah!

It's my first time around here... What wonderful blog! I know your shop (the online) Saipua and I have to tell you: you're my source of inspiration.

I live in Brazil and work with Ayurveda, specially with women, and with the time they started to asking me to make personalized soaps for them. I was in doubt until when, last year, I came across with your online shop. So beautiful! My heart got so inspired that I decided that I should try to make something to help my ladies. Now I am making soaps and dreaming to one day be able to make soaps as beautiful as yours.

Thank you!

Love!

Michelle Stiles said...

I will buy lamb from you and your farm some day.
I steer clear from meat most of the time but when I see lamb on a menu I get uncharacteristically giddy and order it with great enthusiasm. The flavor of lamb is subtly wonderful.

The Oak Leaves said...

Go for it!

...and me too...

Susan said...

Time to buy the farm.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

I just missed that film. It was playing in a tiny theater on Bainbridge Island and I happened to arrive on the last day it was showing. It was gone the next. Thanks for sharing these interesting bits. Now I'm even more intrigued.

D said...

Then you can make & sell sheep's milk soap!! I thought I read somewhere the fat content is higher so it has more moisturizing qualities than cow or goat milk.

Ella said...

Oh dear, I suppose sheep farming really IS part of our national identity. Sigh. Such is our lot.

Your are hereby cordially invited to visit our sheep farm (in NZ) and pretend to be a sheep farmer. Sadly it isn't nearly as picturesque as your photo there. (Mental note: must watch Sweetgrass, somehow)

I have a lot of nicknames, my favorite is Megs. said...

Giant Pyrenees are such awesome looking dogs, but I am disturbed by the visual of them eating sheep. Logical tells me that dogs are carnivores. Fantasy says that fluffy puppies only eat kibble and nothing else.

Miz.November said...

There are several folks around here that own Great Pyrenees dogs to guard their goats and cattle. We have a lot of coyotes lurking about. They always remind me of the sheepdog on the Loony Toons.

Anonymous said...

That was the best film of the past 5 years. I loved the part when Lucien fell asleep. Saw it at Film Forum, then walked out into new york, which was strange. Glad someone else liked it. On instant Netflix btw.