Composition (Palm & Coconut)

This post is about a series of drawings currently on show in The Forest Bookstore in Selkirk. 

A milk machine can afford over-worked farmers rest at lambing time – an investment that allows precise feeding to lambs up to weaning and saves much tired time late in the evening mixing milk and hand-feeding lambs. I started to draw Lac-Tek, this electric mummy, on the back of the sack in which the ewe-milk replacer is supplied.

On the front of the sack, the composition of the ewe-milk is printed, including Vegetable Oil (Palm & Coconut)

A healthy looking lamb is pictured next to the Analytical Constituents

I wonder how Lac-Tek produces warm milk from so many teats at once


and notice the complacency with which lambs treat the teat-boards

The surrounding sounds in the lamb-shed include bleats, suckles and a gentle whir as Lac-Tek re-fills. Scenes of razed areas of rainforest from Ecuador crept in from the back of my mind.  Intricate and biodiverse tropical trees replaced by small straight lines of palms, in corporatised monoculture. Look here for yourself. I remember birds from Payamino Community land.

Border lamb becomes all the more of a complex product. Precious life, to be considered carefully before consumption.

How to complete this drawing? I hear about the progress of the last-born lambs of the season, how one hogg has  to be taught to care for her new lamb but another took to motherhood with enthusiasm. She protected her lamb, stamping both feet in its defence. In one of the pens a chubby lamb stands with his mam, he is ready to go out into the field.

Another then I remember a souvenir from the Holy Land,  beyond the Wall in Bethlehem. Another kind of border sheepscape found in a crib factory, made from olive wood.

Notes to accompany this work can be downloaded as a pdf:  lacketinfo

5 thoughts on “Composition (Palm & Coconut)”

  1. Such fond memories of these lambs (well, their cousins?). Amazing connections, Kate. What a tension to negotiate – the care involved in raising these small, beautiful animals, and the responsibility involved with making decisions about the foods we produce and consume. Your work has, once again, highlighted complex connections between places – the very connections that make places what they are.


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