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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | Feb 21, 2014

My wife and I enjoy reading the people we follow on Twitter.

We are not active ourselves, preferring reading over adding to many tweets that are not all that good or interesting.

However, there are a few people who make wading through all the messages worthwhile with what they have to say and how they say it.

My wife recommended following a man from Great Britain who calls himself Herdy Shepherd.

He gives almost daily messages about his sheep, dogs and weather, along with pictures of his flock and anything else that looks interesting.

He raises sheep and the Herdy part refers to the Herdwick breed of sheep he raises.

Wikipedia says Herdwick sheep are raised in a mountainous part of northwest England and while they have drawbacks in lambing and wool quality when compared to more popular breeds, they are prized for their hardiness, and the wool is known for its durability.

On Feb. 11, he tweeted this message: “To live here you need to be stoic, have a dark sense of humour and to have thick woolly pants.”

One of the reasons Twitter is popular is that whatever is said, it is limited to 140 characters in each message or tweet. Being terse and concise is a requirement.

In that one tweet, I thought Herdy Shepherd had pretty much defined farming as I know it, except that the thick woolly pants would not be needed in the summer around here.

Stoicism and a dark sense of humor helps when problems have been stacking up and just when you believe they are behind, you learn that your problems are not even close to being done.

One of my favorite phrases when things are going wrong and the end is not in sight is, “Oh, well, it could have been worse.”

And usually, it could have.

Here we are in one of the worst winters in recent times, with extremely cold temperatures, much wind, and snow, week after week.

Oh, well, it could have been worse.

It could? You bet it could. I have not suffered any electrical outages, my home has remained warm and any time we traveled anywhere, we made it home safely every time.

Not too bad.

Looking ahead to spring, I am wondering what we will do about corn selling for around $4 a bushel in the coming years.

That is going to be an adjustment and probably where the dark sense of humor will be needed.

But the ethanol industry and livestock producers will now have their time and exports will have new life.

After this winter, Herdy Shepherd’s thick woolly pants are sounding better all the time.

Perhaps Herdy Shepherd was alluding to the tenacity required to be a producer of agricultural products whether it is wool and mutton in northwestern England or corn, soybeans, hogs and cattle in the Midwest U.S.

That is pretty good for only 140 characters.Terse and concise.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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