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Pastoral Song: A Farmer's Journey

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The highest soar far above the field like children’s kites, anchored by lengths of invisible string. His grandmother too is remembered with fondness, as she toiled in the kitchen, looking after the menfolk, forever cooking, baking, making jams and chutneys, and I felt an immediate affinity, as I was reminded of my own grandma, who was a terrific baker - it took me down memory lane, right back to her cosy kitchen filled with love and warmth, with the most delicious aromas, and watching her slice generous chunks of her home made bread, still warm from the oven, smothered in golden butter, with a slice of creamy cheddar, or home made jams of various varieties - and her cakes and pastries, oh my!

Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey - Country Guide Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey - Country Guide

Out of a sense of duty toward future generations he made a decision to farm in a more sustainable way than he had been doing, but especially unlike the bigger farms in his area and those that he saw after he made a visit to American farm country in Iowa. When we plough to the edge of the meadows, when we remove hedges, when we sow crops several times a year and make silage instead of hay, we impact nesting birds, insects, mammals, myriad plant life. As a young boy, Rebanks describes himself as work shy and easily captivated by the TV, "in danger of becoming a disappointment," that is, until his grandfather takes him under his wing.My grandfather turns backward and forward, half-focused on the straightness of the furrows, using two landmarks ahead, far beyond the headlands, to guide his line and keep it honest.

Pastoral Song - James Rebanks - Hardcover - HarperCollins Canada Pastoral Song - James Rebanks - Hardcover - HarperCollins Canada

Many well-meaning, largely urban and middle class people have taken to the streets in the name of the planet in recent years. We sit silently in the waiting room, perched awkwardly, like nervous crows, on the stiff-backed chairs.Rebanks begins by recounting his romantic upbringing, largely under the wing of his grandfather who, even in the 70s and 80s was something of a throwback to a simpler time. Although his first book, The Shepherd’s Life, was also replete with rural tales, Pastoral Song takes a big step back from Rebanks’s personal revelations to examine his homeland, the Lake District in England, within a larger global-industrial context. Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Pastoral Song - James Rebanks - Harper Academic Pastoral Song - James Rebanks - Harper Academic

We experience that esoteric life through Rebanks’s evocative storytelling, learning with him to appreciate not only the sheep and crops he’s learning to tend, but the wild plants and animals that live among and around them.

He does not, by any means, make his life seem easy, and he also concedes that “to have a robust and resilient food system we need many different kinds of farmers.

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