On our first day in Scotland this time, my daughter and I went for a long walk. We walked over the River Don, then near it, into the countryside. Later that day, we walked over the river again on our way to town. My daughter told me about a school project, where the children had salmon roe and watched them turn into fry, then released them at a likely and friendly spawning grounds in the river.
I know I've mentioned the two walks in an earlier post, but I've been thinking about the river and the country, and how lucky it seems that my daughter's family lives so close to these animals and rivers, these beautiful things in the world, to have them be a part of my grandchildren's education, to have all of this be a part of their embodied lifeworlds. I've been thinking about this because today we traveled to Beamish, an outdoor historical museum, sited in the coalmining country of northern England. Beamish has a lovingly reconstructed coal mining village, a working historical farm, a town (a company town) from about 1913 (parts of Downton Abbey were shot here), and a Georgian era manse. It's very interesting and the land itself is, here in a late, cold summer, lush and gorgeous.
My son-in-law's stepfather works at the farm--he was and maybe still is the Ploughing Champion of the British Isles more than twenty times. He knows his way around a field of corn or hay or oats, and has great relationships with several enormous draught horses--Prince, Lion, Tom, and Danny Boy among them.
Today, we walked around the place. The first thing we did was see a calf that Jim had rescued--its mother had left it in the field, as sometimes happens. He got the mother's milk to bottlefeed the calf, which now is doing fine. We saw many chickens, geese, cows, goats, a couple of enormous pigs, and a rabbit. The children love these animals and like to get reports from Jim on how they're doing. They also love the two Jack Russell terriers who live in the house and who often have jobs to do, accompanying Jim while the chores get done. We visited with Jim before he was off to cut the hay, and bale it, before tomorrow, when there would be rain.
It was a fine and beautiful day. We found occasions to rest in the shade, because respite from the sun appears to be a near universal need.