Monday, June 17, 2002

Susan and I were up just after sunrise this morning, together with her father, loading wool bags onto the truck. Five bags packed full, towering ceiling high, plus one partial bag. Just over eight hundred pounds of wool altogether, or so say the scales for the Mid-States Wool Growers Cooperative Association. The local pool ships our clip out to the mid-west for bulk sale. Wool used to be packed in jute bags, like giant burlap sacks. Now we are required to use clear plastic. It makes sense for the buyers, letting them see what they are getting. Looks odd though, to see the fleeces from some 140 sheep going out looking like Brobdingnagian sausages. We should clear somwhere around $80.00 if we are lucky. The wool market has not been good, and our Hampshires produce a short, coarse fleece in any event. Truth be told, we are happy just to have someone take it off our hands. It does tend to take up space. Susan had a conversation once with a fellow at a shepherd's seminar who didn't bother selling his. "Well, what do you do with it all?" "It makes a pretty good garden mulch. As for the rest, it'll burn pretty good if you put enough diesel on it."
My family tolerates (barely) my love for Country music. I look at it as the last vestige of popular verse in America. The kinds of sentiments you used to read in poetry in newspapers are now found only on the radio dial. Sure there are some songwriters who can't get past the usual cliches, but they are cliches because they capture certain home truths in a simple way. Here is a Country song in the making; the story of a woman with a heartache so bad it burned down Colorado.