A Quiet Life Among The Sheep

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The shepherd’s life. James Rebanks on the ancient and new life of the shepherd.

Life is change, we hear a lot these days. For James Rebanks, that is only partly true. Rebanks is a shepherd in the far north of England, on land his family has farmed since ancient days. He went to Oxford, and then came home. To farm. To his sheep. He’s written the story of that life, the shepherd’s life, in a new book that’s getting raves all over. Maybe it’s a sign of others’ longing for that sense of continuity and rootedness, the land. Maybe it’s your longing. But would you want the work? This hour On Point: news from the hills. "The Shepherd’s Life."
 -- Tom Ashbrook


James Rebanks, shepherd of a flock of 450 sheep. Author of the new book, "The Shepherd's Life: Modern Dispatches From An Ancient Landscape." Also sustainable tourism adviser for UNESCO. (@herdyshepherd1)

Peggy Allen, co-owner of Savage Hart Farm in Hartford, VT. Former VP of programming for Live Well Network. (@SavageHartFarm)

From Tom’s Reading List

New York Times: ‘The Shepherd’s Life,’ by James Rebanks, an English Sheep Farmer — "James Rebanks’s captivating new book about his family’s small sheep farm in England is also a book about continuity and roots and a sense of belonging in an age that’s increasingly about mobility and self-invention. It’s a book about a way of life essentially unchanged for centuries in an era that’s all about change and flux. And it’s a book about a farming family whose history has played out in the fields, hills and villages between the Lake District and the Pennines for at least six centuries."

The Guardian: James Rebanks, Twitter’s favourite shepherd: ‘Sheep farming is another form of culture, just like Picasso or punk’ -- "Rebanks is no ordinary shepherd, even if that is exactly how he would like people to think of him. In 2012 he opened a Twitter account with the handle @herdyshepherd1 – he specialises in Herdwick sheep, the tough mountain breed synonymous with the Lake District. He now has more than 40,000 followers."

The Atlantic: Why This Shepherd Loves Twitter — "If you spend your life working with sheep in the fells (what you’d call mountains) you perhaps don't really need to be 'connected' and you probably don't have time for, or need to have, fancy techno gadgets in your pocket. Our world is one of mountains, meadows, dry-stone-walls, sheep, sheepdogs and managing the landscape much as our ancestors have done over many centuries (it’s being nominated for World Heritage status because of its unique landscape culture)."

Read An Excerpt Of "The Shepherd's Life" By James Rebanks

This program aired on June 4, 2015.


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