I’ve always loved the word “pastoral.” It is derived from the Latin word pastor, shepherd, and originally was used to describe people and landscapes devoted to raising and grazing sheep and cattle. (The Greek-derived equivalent is “bucolic,” from βουκόλος, cowherd.) Thousands of years ago, however, “pastoral” acquired a sheen of nostalgia. The Roman and Greek poets rhapsodizing about the simple peasant life with sheep and cows were not out there tending livestock — nor, presumably, did they want to be.
However, it’s always been high on my list.
Yesterday morning I was so tired I couldn’t think straight. Still, the cool, sunny, rain-washed day was so beautiful and the animals so evidently contented that I said to myself, This is pastoral bliss.
I took the panoramic photo below from the top of the south pasture after moving the sheep. [Double-click to enlarge.] As with all of my fields, the grass is green but poor quality — lots of weeds the animals don’t like to eat, patches of sour moss. There are broken branches and rocks to collect and dispose of. The whole expanse could use tons of lime.
Nevertheless, after years of work my farm is now definitely a pastoral landscape . . . and that makes me happy.
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My summer list is so long and my goals are so high, I am aware I will have to work hard to stay disciplined every day to get even a fraction of the work done. Kyle’s problems have been ironed out and after a handful of days mowing, he has gone back to his regular job. I’m happy for him, of course, and the mowing was a great help.
But I’m on my own with the list.