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

Are you prepared to kill your own meat?

A Meat License Proposal, from John O’Shea – insistent that meat-eaters should engage with the source of their food:

lambing shed scenes

an early – premature lamb – brought in. Don’t want this problem to affect the others.

She tried to leap off the ‘Gator’ after her lamb had been removed. It’s been put into the heat with other poorlies, and given milk. The ewe will get another lamb.

ewe in ‘adopter’, adoptee climbs its back

“Sheep are complex creatures, still learning after 18 years.”.. The ewe is being taken to the field, which is getting full. Almost always one lamb is more bonded than the other twin. Will stick to the ewe’s side, the other one can get lost.

Three hoggs in the pen stand, look at me, and settle down

Teeny Weeny, the plucky lamb, won our hearts

For some reason, Teeny was on her own today. Chewing grass and sniffing. Lambs in the ‘hospital’ didn’t get lunch today, getting bigger now.

an ewe in the lambing shed

straw – feed – watering – coffee. sunny and cold. sharp shadows

an ewe got to her feet and looked at me throughout the last drawing.

Gentle chat to the ewes and lambs.

a premature lamb

an early bought in … she tried to leap off the buggy after her lamb had been removed. Its been put in the heat with the other poorly lambs, and given milk. The ewe will get another lamb.

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