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Posted 3/28/2011 7:48pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Dominique takes the early morning shift (when most of the lambs were born, 10-12 a day over the last 10 days) while I look in on the ewes about 9 PM every night to see if anybody needs a hand lambing.  If I come upon a newborn, for identification, I'll spray mark/color code the ewe to the lamb then dip its navel in a 7% iodine solution to prevent infection. 

There are some weak lambs born recently, usually twins, who need 2-4 oz. of milk replacer to keep them going through the night as their mothers are not producing enough milk yet; I deliver nourishment with the insertion of  a flexible plastic tube into their mouths, run it down their gullets and into their stomachs, then with a 2 oz. syringe connected to the tube I slowly introduce the milk replacer, made by adding water to powdered milk specially formulated for lambs.  Stomach tubing is faster (you can treat more lambs in the same time) than waiting for lambs to consume what they need from a latex nipple. 

It's still cold—19F tonight—the colder it is, the more nourishment a sheep needs.

Posted 3/28/2011 4:54pm by Eugene Wyatt.

I asked Dominique to pick up 072 so I could photograph him.  His mother is 159 and his Birth was recorded 6 days ago.  He was the 72nd purebred Saxon Merino born this year, hence his ear tag number.

I'm amazed that he, and his dam too*, know that he is a special sheep (good sheep seem to know their excellence and it is this self knowledge that amazes one); I can see by his calmness and the way way he carries himself that he is special.  The way he looks at me. He has that sense of assurance that only good sheep have; being that he is a purebred Saxon Merino, he will have superior wool, better wool than his peers have, in those important fiber qualities of fineness, uniformity and density; he should pass these qualities along to certain of his offspring when I breed him two years from now.

*Two days earlier I had tried to photograph him as he stood in the barn with a very dear Nikon 14 mm-24 mm  zoom lens on my D-700; as I bent over to get close to him, his mother, 159, interceded and bumped me leaving her nose print on the convex glass of the wide angle lens. "What you doin gettin so close to my boy?"

Posted 3/27/2011 8:34pm by Eugene Wyatt.

The Duck has taken to hanging out with Canadian Geese who are now flying in; last week two Mallards splash landed in the pond, he held his beak in the air and would have nothing to do with them. They flew off.  He is a duck of different sorts.

Tags: The Duck
Posted 3/27/2011 3:49pm by Eugene Wyatt.

On the way to a recital at the house of the Duc de Guermantes, travelling along the Champs Elysées, Marcel's carriage reaches the Rue Royale.

I was not traversing the same streets as those who were passing by, I was gliding through a sweet and melancholy past composed of so many different pasts that it was difficult for me to identify the cause of my melancholy. Was it due to those pacings to and fro awaiting Gilberte and fearing she would not come? Was it that I was close to a house where I had been told that Albertine had gone with Andrée or was it the philosophic significance a street seems to assume when one has used it a thousand times while one was obsessed with a passion which has come to an end and borne no fruit like when after luncheon I made fevered expeditions to gaze at the play-bills of Phèdre and of The Black Domino while they were still moist with the bill-sticker’s paste?

Le temps retrouvé 1927,  Volume VII of À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. Translated by Stephen Hudson.

Tags: Proust
Posted 3/25/2011 8:01am by Eugene Wyatt.

On second thought, it's not to restart reading À la recherche du temps perdu, but to continue what I enjoy: looking at Proust's syntax, diagramming the more curious structures,  questioning the translations, reading the original in French when I do question them, and so on.

My bedtime reading is Jean Yves Tadié's biography, Marcel Proust, A Life which is lighter for the late hours of the day; on clear mornings, before following Proust into his daunting music, where I often feel clumsy like I'm learning the tango, "Show me that step again, s'il vous plaît," I read a section or two of Virginia Tufte's helpful Artful Sentences, Syntax as Style to better understand the grammar (noun phrases, verb phrases, etc.) that Proust uses in À la recherche du temps perdu, pedant, or verbal danceophile, that I sometimes can be.

Since my name was on their visiting-lists, my long absence from Paris had not prevented old friends from sending me invitations and when, on getting home, I found together with an invitation for the following day to a supper given by La Berma in honour of her daughter and her son-in-law, another for an afternoon reception at the Prince de Guermantes’, my sad reflections in the train were not the least of the motives which counselled me to go there.

I told myself it really was not worth while to deprive myself of society since I was either not equipped for or not up to the precious “work” to which I had for so long been hoping to devote myself “to-morrow” and which, may be, corresponded to no reality.

In truth, this reasoning was negative and merely eliminated the value of those which might have kept me away from this society function.

But what made me go was that name of Guermantes which had so far gone out of my head that, when I saw it on the invitation card, it awakened a beam of attention and laid hold of a fraction of the past buried in the depths of my memory, a past associated with visions of the forest domain, its rich luxuriance once again assuming the charm and significance of the old Combray days when, before going home, I passed into the Rue de l’Oiseau and saw from outside, like dark lacquer, the painted window of Gilbert le Mauvais, Sire of Guermantes.

For a moment the Guermantes seemed once more utterly different from society people, incomparable with them or with any living beings, even with a king, beings issuing from gestation in the austere and virtuous atmosphere of that sombre town of Combray where my childhood was spent, and from the whole past represented by the little street whence I gazed up at the painted window.

I longed to go to the Guermantes’ as though it would bring me back my childhood from the deeps of memory where I glimpsed it.

And I continued to re-read the invitation until the letters which composed the name, familiar and mysterious as that of Combray itself, rebelliously recaptured their independence and spelled to my tired eyes a name I did not know.

Le temps retrouvé 1927,  Volume VII of À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. Translated by Stephen Hudson.

§

My long absence from Paris had not prevented old friends from continuing, as my name remained on their lists, faithfully to send me invitations, and when on my return I found—together with one to a tea-party given by Berma for her daughter and her son-in-law another to an afternoon party with music which was to take place the following day at the house of the Prince de Guermantes, the gloomy reflexions which had passed through my mind in the train were not the least of the motives which urged me to accept.

Really, I said to myself, what point is there in forgoing the pleasures of social life if, as seems to be the case, the famous "work" which for so long I have been hoping every day to start the next day, is something I am not, or am no longer, made for and perhaps does not even correspond to any reality.  

This reasoning was, it is true, completely negative and merely deprived of their force those other reasons which might have dissuaded me from going to this fashionable concert.

The positive rea­son that made me decide to go was the name of Guer­mantes, absent long enough from my mind to be able, when I read it upon the invitation card, to re-awaken a ray of my attention, to draw up from the depths of my memory a sort of section of the past of the Guermantes, attended by all the images of seigniorial forest and t flowers which at that earlier time of my life had accompa­nied it, and to reassume for me the charm and the significance which I had found in it at Combray when, passing along the Rue de l'Oiseau on my way home, I used to from outside, like some dark lacquer, the window Gilbert the Bad, Lord of Guermantes.

For a moment the Guermantes had once more seemed to me to be totally different from people in society, comparable neither with them nor with any living being, even a reigning prince, creatures begotten of the union of the sharp and windy air of the dark town of Combray in which my childhood had been spent with the past which could be sensed there, in the little street, at the height of the stained-glass window.

I had had a longing to go to the Guermantes party as if in going there I must have been brought nearer to my child­hood and to the depths of my memory where my child­hood dwelt.

And I had continued to read and re-read the invitation until in the end, rising in revolt, the letters which composed this name at once so familiar and so mysterious, like that of Combray itself, resumed their in­dependence and outlined before my tired eyes a name that I seemed never to have seen before.

Le temps retrouvé 1927, Volume VII of À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust.  Translated by Andreas Mayor, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright.

Tags: Proust
Posted 3/23/2011 6:28pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Oh the loss! Perhaps I should restart À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust now that I have finished it; over several months, I slowly read scenes that interested me—I even diagramed some of his sentences to better experience them—these were scenes and passages that I noted while listening to the work being read to me (in truth, the last 5 volumes were abridged in the audio format) as I drove upstate and down. The 4300 pages in 7 volumes of The Modern Library Edition contain over 2000 characters—who could know that many people—nevertheless I feel like a companion, one I got to know well, has left me. 

The basic story (really an excuse for the author's pleasure of writing) is of minimal interest—how Marcel begins to write—but Proust's labyrinthine sentences that describe the narrator's feelings about the people he encounters are a treasure, never lost in Time like Marcel's past, always present and available to a reader in the volumes of  À la recherche du temps perdu.

Does not the sign of unreality in others consist in their inability to satisfy us, as, for instance, in the case of social pleasures which, at best, cause that discomfort which is provoked by unwholesome food, when friendship is almost a pretence, since, for whatever moral reasons he may seek it, the artist who gives up an hour of work to converse for that time with a friend knows that he is sacrificing a reality to an illusion (friends being friends only in the sense of a sweet madness which overcomes us in life and to which we yield, though at the back of our minds we know it to be the error of a lunatic who imagines the furniture to be alive and talks to it) owing to the sadness which follows its satisfaction—like that I felt the day I was first introduced to Albertine when I gave myself the trouble, after all not great, to obtain something—to make the acquaintance of the girl—which only seemed to me unimportant because I had obtained it.

Le temps retrouvé 1927,  Volume VII of À la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust. Translated by Stephen Hudson.

Tags: Proust
Posted 3/22/2011 6:16pm by Eugene Wyatt.

159, a two year old ewe and a first time mother, gives birth in the yard.  I watched her circle, lay down and stretch as she contracted.   She got the two front hooves out and the nose of the lamb in a normal presentation.   After more contractions her progress slowed—the lamb was large—I would help her deliver it.

She let me get close to her as do many ewes in delivery.  I knelt beside her and pulled one hoof forward, then the other, unlocking the knee joints.  I grasped both legs and pulled them down in a circular fashion toward her hooves—out came the lamb.  Like the proverbial spanking of a newborn, I swung the lamb forward and dropped it before her nose.  It was still for a moment then shook its head and took it's first breath.  159 began to lick her lamb

All was well.  But it was to snow later that night; Dominique took the lamb and held it like a carrot before the mother to draw her along as she walked to the barn. Sheltered from the elements, 159 would dry the lamb with her tongue then get it to her teat for it's first nourishment.

A day later we find a good mother and a good boy who will grow into a big Saxon Merino ram.

§

Here the lamb is at 6 days of age.

Posted 3/8/2011 7:59pm by Eugene Wyatt.

At day's end from the dirt drive I look up at the lambing barn and usually see a ewe or two silhouetted on the ridge.

Posted 3/3/2011 2:47pm by Eugene Wyatt.

Dominique called at 7:38 his morning.  "Babies, two ewe lambs lambed!"  Sunday, we knew we would face the unexpected when Aaron, while shearing the ewe lambs, called out referring to the sheep he had up-ended and was about to shear, "Hey, you got a ram here." 

This ram lamb was polled meaning he had no horns and easily passed for a girl until you saw his testes (from Latin testiculus, the diminutive is testis, meaning "witness" [of virility], plural testes).  We let him go without shearing him as his place was with the crossbred rams; when we got the ewe lamb group shorn and down the hill we would catch him and put him in with the boys.

Shearing the ewe lambs, Aaron found three who had been bred (they showed udder development); we put them with the rest of the gestating ewes who weren't expected to lamb until the 15th of March, yet knowing these ewe lambs (not even a year old) could lamb anytime. 

Ready or not, the 2011 lambing season is underway.  Also, it may carry on longer than we expected as lambs can be born for 5 months from when we pulled the young ram from his paramours.

Posted 3/3/2011 8:00am by Eugene Wyatt.

Proust, when he's writing a scene, moving his people in and out of the action, as he does here in Mme de Villeparisis's drawing room, writes as clearly as E. B. White; but  when he describes the reflections of his narrator in the same scene he writes as only he can: in a fashion that is qualifying, parenthetical and nuanced as his syntax travels backwards and forwards—even sideways—through temporal realms. This is writing that I'm drawn to.  He writes necessarily; these long and complex sentences can not be shortened or simplified without changing the characters or their concerns.

Mme de Guermantes had sat down.

Her name, accompanied as it was by her title, added to her physical person the duchy which cast its aura round about her and brought the shadowy, sun-splashed coolness of the woods of Guermantes into this drawing-room, to surround the pouf on which she was sitting.

I was surprised only that the likeness of those woods was not more discernible on the face of the Duchess, about which there was nothing suggestive of vegetation, and on which the ruddiness of her cheeks—which ought, one felt, to have been emblazoned with the name Guermantes—was at most the effect, and not the reflexion, of long gallops in the open air.

Later on, when I had become indifferent to her, I came to know many of the Duchess's distinctive features, notably (to stick for the moment only to those of which I already at this time felt the charm though without yet being able to identify it) her eyes, which captured as in a picture the blue sky of a French country afternoon, broadly expansive, bathed in light even when no sun shone; and a voice which one would have thought, from its first hoarse sounds, to be almost plebeian, in which there lingered, as over the steps of the church at Combray or the pastrycook's in the square, the rich and lazy gold of a country sun.

But on this first day I discerned nothing, my ardent attention volatilised at once the little that I might otherwise have been able to take in and from which I might have been able to grasp something of the name Guermantes.

In any case, I told myself that it was indeed she who was designated for all the world by the title Duchesse de Guermantes: the inconceivable life which that name signified was indeed contained in this body; it had just introduced that life into the midst of a group of disparate people, in this room which enclosed it on every side and on which it produced so vivid a reaction that I felt I could see, where the extent of that mysterious life ceased, a fringe of effervescence outline its frontiers—in the circumference of the circle traced on the carpet by the balloon of her blue pekin skirt, and in the bright eyes of the Duchess at the point of intersection of the preoccupations, the memories, the incomprehensible, scornful, amused and curious thoughts which filled them from within and the outside images that were reflected on their surface.

Perhaps I should have been not quite so deeply stirred had I met her at Mme de Villeparisis's at an evening party, instead of seeing her thus at one of the Marquise's "at homes," at one of those tea-parties which are for women no more than a brief halt in the course of their afternoon's outing, when, keeping on the hats in which they have been doing their shopping, they waft into a succession of salons the quality of the fresh air outside, and offer a better view of Paris in the late afternoon than do the tall open windows through which one can hear the rumble of victorias: Mme de Guermantes wore a straw hat trimmed with cornflowers, and what they recalled to me was not the sunlight of bygone years among the tilled fields round Combray where I had so often gathered them on the slope adjoining the Tansonville hedge, but the smell and the dust of twilight as they had been an hour ago when Mme de Guermantes had walked through them in the Rue de la Paix.

With a smiling, disdainful, absent-minded air, and a pout on her pursed lips, she was tracing circles on the carpet with the point of her sunshade, as with the extreme tip of an antenna of her mysterious life; then, with that indifferent attention which begins by eliminating every point of contact between oneself and what one is considering, her gaze fastened upon each of us in turn, then inspected the settees and chairs, but softened now by that human sympathy which is aroused by the presence, however insignificant, of a thing one knows, a thing that is almost a person: these pieces of furniture she would have felt had she noticed on the chairs, instead of our presence, that of a spot of grease or a layer of dust.

Le Côté de Guermantes Volume III of À la recherche du temps perdu Marcel Proust, 1921. Translated by Moncrief, Kilmartin and Enright in the Modern Library Edition, the paragraph beginning on page 273.

Tags: Proust