I feel a kinship with the writer
In 2014, I took my hens to a farmer to “process” them after I couldn’t take them to the new house.
I drove an hour with my five hens in a big plastic cage in the back seat of my Honda Accord, wiping away tears the whole time.
I couldn’t take the hens to the new property. This new neighborhood wasn’t the kind of place where hens hopping over the back fence to explore was seen as charming.
I remember how the farmer looked at me like I was tender-hearted fool when I said I wanted them to pass on as peacefully and gently as possible. I think I asked if she had any kind of hen spa treatment.
“They ain’t gonna like it, but it will be over quick.”
I had raised those five girls from 48 hours after they had hatched until almost three years later. Now, they were mature, approaching venerable status. I couldn’t provide them an environment where they would be happy. I couldn’t keep them safe from predators and disease and age. I picked what I thought was the best for them.
Her parties sound really fun
I would def make a drinking game based on the sheep. Like any time somebody interrupts a story because they didn’t realize until that moment she was talking about her sheep, and not a human, you gotta take a sip.
Any time somebody says “you’re joking” or laughs when in dead serious terms she explains something she does for her sheep.
There is no such thing as a famous book of ancient Persian poems
Carole George researches her particular breed of sheep, the Karakul, and then becomes interested in the history and the literature of their homeland. There is a funny moment when she describes how her dad is coming to visit and bringing a famous book of ancient Persian poems. I have to disagree with her at this point. There’s no such thing as a famous book of ancient Persian poems.
NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon is famous. Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing is famous. The Kim Kardashian sex tape is famous.
That book ain’t famous!
No mention of life outside her farm
I day dreamed about Carole George at the small town Piggly Wiggly asking the produce manager when he is going to stock more organic frisee lettuce.
There’s an episode of The Simpsons when George H. W. Bush goes to Krusty Burger and tries to order stew… I thought of that episode.
What do the neighbors make of her?
What does she think about them?
I hope she writes about that. I imagine she did write that stuff, but a savvy editor pruned this book down to just the narrative about her life on her farm, walking with her sheep.
My favorite part
After euthanizing one of her last few sheep, her vet said “any relationship is about knowing that at the end there’s a separation. For all the pleasure, you always know that there will be pain at the end. That is where the beauty of it comes from.”
It’s a sad sentiment, but I think it is true.
Why this is such an excellent memoir
Carole George is now in my head as a real person. Hell, I have had whole conversations with her dad, in my head, asking him about his outfits when he is out walking with the sheep. I think I would have liked her dad plenty. He apparently had a brain packed full of poems, at the age of 90, starts taking classes to learn ancient greek.