The Wisdom of Sheep & Other Animals

Observations from a Family Farm

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Pub Date 02 Nov 2023 | Archive Date 09 Nov 2023
Faber and Faber | Faber & Faber

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Description

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

We talk about people behaving like sheep, which assumes that sheep all behave in the same way. That has not been my experience.

Some are affectionate, others prone to head-butting. Some are determinedly self-sufficient, others seek our help when they need it. And some can be trusted to lead the flock home. They are as individual as we are.

Farm animals are familiar to us from childhood but little did we know that their inner lives are full of complexity, deep bonds and family dramas. Rosamund Young has been an organic farmer for over 40 years and this is her record of a life at the beck and call of the animals while observing and preserving the abundant wildlife at Kite's Nest Farm. It is a story of joy, discovery, co-operation and sometimes heartbreak. We learn about sheep growing old disgracefully, the intelligence of supposedly 'bird-brained' hens, 'conversations' between cows and why you should never send a text whilst milking . . .

FROM THE AUTHOR OF THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

We talk about people behaving like sheep, which assumes that sheep all behave in the same way. That has not been my experience.

Some are affectionate, others...


Advance Praise

PRAISE FOR THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

'Delightful.' Alan Bennett

'Extraordinary.' Clare Balding

'A lovely, thoughtful little book.' James Rebanks

'Extremely soothing.' Observer

'Utterly beguiling.' Daily Mail

PRAISE FOR THE SECRET LIFE OF COWS

'Delightful.' Alan Bennett

'Extraordinary.' Clare Balding

'A lovely, thoughtful little book.' James Rebanks

'Extremely soothing.' Observer

'Utterly beguiling.' Daily Mail


Available Editions

EDITION Hardcover
ISBN 9780571368259
PRICE £14.99 (GBP)
PAGES 272

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Average rating from 42 members


Featured Reviews

The Wisdom of Sheep by Rosamund Young.

Farm animals are familiar to us from childhood but little did we know that their inner lives are full of complexity, deep bonds and family dramas. Rosamund Young has been an organic farmer for over 40 years and this is her record of a life at the beck and call of the animals while observing and preserving the abundant wildlife at Kite's Nest Farm. It is a story of joy, discovery, co-operation and sometimes heartbreak. We learn about sheep growing old disgracefully, the intelligence of supposedly 'bird-brained' hens, 'conversations' between cows and why you should never send a text whilst milking . . .
A brilliant insight to a life lived her much loved farm animals featuring main sheep !
I loved the way the writing allowed her obvious love ( and at times exasperation ! ) of the animals shine out of the pages.
I have a farmer friend and can see this as a great Christmas present for them.

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This was stunning. A wonderful narrative charting the course of a farmer's year working with and rearing animals on an organic farm. The perils and pitfalls were as well described as the joyful moments. And the passion the author has for her work and the respect she has for the animals in her care shines from every page.

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A lovely lovely book. The descriptions of every day life on a farm make you feel like you’re there. Recommended.

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A life lived with the land, and its creatures – including sheep

This was not quite what I was expecting. I adore sheep, and always want to get close to them on country walks, though they don’t share, generally, such enthusiasm to get close to me. It was my love of sheep that made me decide, over 40 years ago, to become vegetarian.

Rosamund Young clearly loves sheep – and cows, chickens, turkeys, spiders, trees, wild flowers, ash trees and many more manifestations of the natural world than I do – but she is not a vegetarian. She is an organic livestock farmer. So this was less a book about soulful sheep as companion animal, or scientific exploration of sheep en masse and their history than I thought it would be.

Nonetheless it drew me in. Young and her brother Richard come from farming stock, and made the decision to ‘go organic’ 40 years ago. This is an utterly charming book. Young is most clearly someone filled with appreciation, love and respect for the non-human creatures she shares her world with. She has a sense of warmth and humour, writes well, reads a lot of poetry, appreciates that, and the literary is woven within the very practical understanding of, and relationship with, the natural world and its beauty and fragility.

Despite the fact that a farmer’s life is relentlessly busy, and in the control of climate, weather, and all sorts of events outside human control, reading this account of this kind of working life was a curiously warm and restful experience. I assume Young has always been a patient, warm, and reflective person, but if not, as a hands on farmer, must surely have learned that patience, reflection and tenderness from the bovines and ovines she has shared her life with

The lovely illustrations, too, must be mentioned. They are a delight

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Ongoing observations of a farm over the years. Really well described the ups and down of farming life.

Who said animals cannot talk?

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What an absolute treat this book was! Rosamund Young writes beautifully about life on the farm she runs with her brother and partner and her knowledge both of farming and all the nature around her is wonderful. The way she speaks of the cows, sheep and chickens on the farm brings them all completely to life and her talk of the flowers and birds all around reminded me of Laurie Lee and his writings on nature. You can almost hear the insects buzzing, smell the wildflowers and feel the heat or the cold she describes. The work on the farm sounds absolutely exhausting and she makes light of how tired she must be at times and some fairly serious health issues they encounter, but her love of the place and it's livestock is catching and the commitment to organic farming and food is convincing.

There are so many times that we as consumers now feel a lot of distance from where our food comes from and how it is grown or reared and this book really helps to understand what hard work farming is, how committed farmers are to their animals and fields and how important it is that we all take it a bit more seriously.

An absolutely wonderful book.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an advance copy in return for an honest review.

#TheWisdomofSheepOtherAnimals #NetGalley

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The author has already written one book, The Secret Life of Cows. I haven’t read that one but there seemed to me to be just as much in this book about cows as there was about sheep.

It took me a while to get used to the way it is written. It’s kind of a memoir, it’s not written in diary form but is certainly a journal of sorts. It covers the day to day happenings on Kite’s Nest Farm, but not written in any particular order. It was this, what seemed to me, meandering from one thing to another, that took me a while to get used to. Maybe it’s me that just likes things in order, however once I became accustomed to the sudden changes in direction to a completely different subject, I began to find it quite therapeutic and relaxing and really looked forward to a quiet half hour with this book.

Reading it is like going for a wander on the farm with Rosamund while she tells you lots of anecdotes of her life in farming, meeting her family, meeting the animals on the farm and learning a lot about farming, nature and the countryside. Most of all you’ll learn how everyone on the farm cares deeply about their livestock, and certainly that farming isn’t for the faint hearted, they work incredibly long hours.

There are funny stories, surprising stories, sometimes sadness, with illustrations and literary quotes and passages scattered throughout. I really enjoyed it and was sorry when I reached the end. I found the story of the bull towards the end of the book very moving. I think I would definitely try The Secret Life of Cows, although to be honest I feel like I know quite a lot about cows already from this book. A delightful and interesting read.

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What an absolute delight this book is .It's a bit like opening a mystery parcel, not quite knowing what you are going to find. Rosamund Young's descriptions of her life , her farm, her sheep had me transfixed. She is amusing, empathetic towards her flocks, and obviously very caring about her environment. The wildflower meadows she wrote about made me want to go and walk in them. She is a super writer and I am so glad to have had the chance to review this book.

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Oh, what a delight this book is! A series of short stories from a family farm, written by Rosamund Young, who has been an organic farmer for over 40 years.

Young and her brother, Richard, hail from a farming background and made the bold choice to transition to organic farming four decades ago. This book exudes charm in every way. Young's deep-seated admiration, affection, and reverence for the animals and other creatures inhabiting her world are abundantly evident. She possesses a genuine warmth and a delightful sense of humour. Her writing is skilful, influenced by her extensive reading of poetry, which she values highly. This literary dimension gracefully interweaves with her pragmatic understanding of and intimate relationship with the natural world, embracing its exquisite beauty and delicate fragility.

The prose is poetic and moving, Rosamund skilfully shows the mundane through a compassionate lens of someone who treats animals with true love and respect. This narrative is a tale of happiness, exploration, teamwork, and occasionally, moments of profound emotional impact. The stories are fun and very often deeply moving and reflective. It is the perfect book to have on your bedside table to read is short doses and reflect upon.

It is going to make an incredible Christmas gift, especially for the fans of Raynor Wynn and ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree.

Deepest gratitude to Rosamund Young, Faber & Faber and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC of this little gem.

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What a stress buster!! This book totally transports you to life on a farm, living in harmony with nature in all its forms with walks through woodlands and hills. You are immersed in a totally different life. The author is so in tune with the animals she has cared and cares for and with our planet. Many passages are simply poetic, such beautifully written prose. Even the death of a much loved member of the farm community is portrayed in a very positive manner. Plus you learn so much about cows, sheep, hens and even foxes! Who knew that whether a lamb was bottle fed or not directly affects the quality of its wool? The personalities of animals under the author’s care are fascinating and often amusing. This is a book to suit many readers. Educational in so many ways especially on the subject of organic farming and it’s benefits for our planet, meditative in its ability to totally remove your mind from the stress of day to day life and therapeutic in its ability to help you see the bigger picture and raise a smile. A book to pick up and dip into or to curl up with for a few hours. We all need a copy of this book in our lives!!

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A charming book full of delightful tales, diary entries, poems and anecdotes.
The author and her brother farm organically and even had a visit from Prince Charles.
There are many interesting facts about the handling of sheep and their individuality. Other animals also feature, and there is definitely a bond between the author and her animals.
We learn about life at Kite's Nest Farm, with its many ups and downs.
Rosamund's love of animals and nature shines throughout.
I loved it.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC.

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Hooray for this rehabilitation of the reputation of the sheep. Rosamund Young tell us that some are affectionate, others prone to head-butting. Some are determinedly self-sufficient, others seek our help when they need it. And some can be trusted to lead the flock home. They are as individual as we are.

She has been an organic farmer for over 40 years, working with her brother and partner. She shares stories about sheep, intelligent chickens and cows that will make your jaw drop. It's a beguiling book, full of beautiful writing about wildflower meadows and the passing of the seasons.

Thanks to NetGalley and Faber and Faber for the eARC in return for an honest review.

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What a wonderful insight into country and farming life. I read this book so quickly because, like the cows with the grass, I couldn’t get enough of it. It was delightful to read how the author/farmer has conversations with the cows and sheep and that these conversations are two-way, in that they perfectly understand each others needs. I had no idea that farm animals had such understanding about where to go for help from the farmer and knew when they came home for the day, where they go to, which field etc. Yes, that may sound a bit daft but if you read the book, you’ll perfectly understand what I mean.
My heart melted at the thought of the farmer bottle feeding needy or rejected animals, cows or sheep and that those with a special need are allowed into the closer area of the farmhouse gardens.
This book is an absolute delight. Not only a great read but for the townies like me, a real country education. Thank you so much for writing this book. I look forward to many more.

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I absolutely loved this book; entertaining, informed, inspired. It made me smile more than once and reminded me of a happier world. I grew up in a rural area. Farms were small, milk was collected daily from churns placed at the side of the road, fields and hedgerows were full of flowers and wildlife. Milking cows would walk happily to their stalls twice daily and a nearby farm bottled their own milk. Farmers had a hard life with little time for anything else but somehow they seemed to make a reasonable living and their animals had a quality of life that now, sadly, rarely exists.

I live opposite a farm now and it often breaks my heart to see how the animals are treated. 600 ewes are brought into sheds in November and remain there with their lambs until March ir April. They’re on hard concrete floors, fed by a machine that shoots food at them a couple of times a day and they look so miserable. The same is true of cattle. No milking herd, but they too are kept in sheds to calve and remain there over winter. By the time they come out the next year their costs are hanging off and they’re covered in bare patches. And these farming methods are common. So to read about times when animals were treated with care and respect was a happy reminder. Rosa bud Young has a natural way with words that captures the moment perfectly. I loved the story of the hen marching off across the yard; it was visual and intriguing. She has empathy and understanding and finds reward in the unexpected. This is a truly heartwarming and without glossing over the hardships, it’s uplifting and filled with observation. Brilliant.

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This book is wonderful, a bit like a comfort blanket from the world we live in today. I was drawn in from the first page by the warm comforting language and content. Fascinating to learn so much about the animals and the authors history and lifestyle. I will be buying this for my bedside table.

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Rosamund Young has been an organic farmer for over 40 years. The book is based on her diaries and recollections of various events. Her passion for the farm, the animals and the land shines throughout the book. This is a delight to read and is beautifully written.

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A lovely, quirky book. I watch vet programmes on television and it has been lovely to read about the bonds of animals and the odd things that they get up to.

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I had high hopes for this book as I adores The Secret Life Of Cows, and it did not disappoint! Rosamund has such a beautiful way of looking at the world, and the way she describes the relationships between the animals is so wonderful. You can really feel Rosamund’s passion for farming and the love she has for her animals in her writing. It’s a really comforting book and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who loves animals!

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