John Lewis-Stempel: Meadowland The Private Life of an English Field



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Lane s Landmarks this is my second favorite nature book read this year It s similar to a couple others I read but works much better For instance it s a rough chronological iary of a year in the meadow but unlike Mark Cocker s Claxton it The Perfect Blend doesn t keep slavishly to its schedule or read like a bunch of short entries pieced together Whereas Rob Cowen s Common Ground anthropomorphized animal life Lewis Stempel never forgets he is one in aiversity of speciesJune and July are stand out chapters with some truly magical moments One Midsummer s Eve his three horses and onkey trotted out and started prancing around him in a fairy circle Another time his aughter went missing and he found her fast asleep in a pile of placid pigs When his mower broke on a stone he had to cut the hay by hand returning him to a centuries gone model of hard laborAnd all Wanted (Sealed with a Kiss delivered in the most lovely prose Here are a few samplesTheew trapped in the webs of countless money spiders has skeined the entire field in tiny silken pocket suares gnomes handkerchiefs Rayuan Sang Bos [Seduced By the Boss] dropped in the swardI fret eschatalogically about the curlews as though it is their migratory wingbeats that turn the earth and should they fail to appear we will have entered some ecological end time But they are home home to breedTo stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is preciousA crow rows through the sky Wasps soporifically suck on blackberries A few months ago a GR friend reviewed this book and it sounded like just the sort of thing I love Sadly when trying to locate a copy I found out it isn t readily available in the US I m still baffled as to why an e book isn t available but I also know nothing about copyright and publishing laws and business arrangements When I traveled to the UK a few weeks ago this book and a few others were top on the list of souvenirs to bring home This book was a pure joy to read John Lewis Stempel is a keen observer who has the patience and the passion to see in nature what so many others would miss He has a Bachelor to the Rescue (Home to Dover, deep rooted connectedness to the land throughout every season His writing is exuisite and by use of all of his senses he transports his readers to that English meadow in Herefordshire In an age when so many books about the earth are bleak and leave readers with a feeling ofespair Lewis Stemple manages to addresses ecological concerns but keeps the focus on celebrating the beauty and natural rhythms of his field I Secrets At Maple Syrup Farm dog eared at least 3ozen pages and underlined numerous passages so I could easily find them in the future As a closing thought I will share the following To stand alone in a field in England and listen to the morning chorus of the birds is to remember why life is preciousI will proselytize on behalf of the Whispers Of The Heart dawn chorus If you rise atawn in May you can savour the world before the pandemonium The Dukes Gamble din of the Industrial Revolution and 247 shoppingThere s an evening chorus too and it is best enjoyed on aay like this when the light is seductive in white veils and there is enough moisture in the Unmasking the Marquess (Hold Your Breath, dusk air to intensify the floral incense of the spring meadowOh the joy to be alive in England in Meadowland once May is her. Among others Their births lives andeaths are stories that thread through the book from first page to lastIn Meadowland Lewis Stempel Let Go does for meadows what Roger Deakinid for woodland and rivers in his bestselling books Wildwood and Waterlo.

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A lovely book I think the idea of a micro approach to nature concentrating on a single field is a really effective way of revealing through the seasons the Chatsfields Ultimate Acquisition different wildlife responses to a changing environment What we learn is just how adaptable nature isespite the genuine fears that we have for the planet in the face of climate change Major Westhavens Unwilling Ward (Hh deniers like Trump and his ilk and the morons in the Atlantic Bridge wing of the UK Conservative PartyStempel has written a number of high uality nature books but in my estimation this is the best I shall take away the thought that every corner of our world however humble has its ownynamics and is important in its own right Sometimes we look and Major Westhavens Unwilling Ward do not see theaily ramas played out on just one patch of earth Even hoary old professional conservationists like me need reminding from time to time of the wonders all around us Read this and regain your senses If you want to read a book about a piece of land where the writer is truly in love with that piece of land then this is the book for you So many people will probably come across a meadow and see only a field so few are going to see things through the eyes of John Lewis Stempel His knowledge of all the types of animals flowers bugs and even grasses is incredible Whenever I read a nature book I try to remember one thing and then go and identify it in the wild this time around I am focusing on the awesome sounding Wolf Spider I get them in my garden and will now be able to identify them as I save my wife and eldest aughter from being eaten alive by one of themYou can t help but compare this book with Roger Deakin s Notes from Walnut Tree Farm and whilst they are a similar blend of nature musings poetry and life on the farm each author has such a strong voice they feel so How to Disappear different Deakin wrote a lot of his book whilst sat at hisesk indoors John Lewis Stempel is outside in the meadow for the whole of the book The level of Act Like You Know detail in this book is greater too who knew there was so much life in a cow patBlog post is here A lovely twelve month journal any nature lover would appreciate The old wayso not seem so mad in an ancient landscape where I can barely see one electric lightand I can hold in my cupped hand the eternal peace of night This book is so beautifully written that I know I will be tracking A Guide to Americas Sex Laws down his other books An intimate look into an English farmer s life a world I ll never be privy to in real life but now I have experienced a whole season in a meadow in Herfordshire thanks to Lewis Stempel He peppers hisaily observations about the birds insects flowers and vegetation in his field with poetry history little scraps of notes he made while out working and the current situation with farming in England and climate change I imagine him sitting Agewise down every otheray at the end of the ay to jot own his thoughts then before he bounds his notes before a A Village with My Name: A Family History of China's Opening to the World diary becomes araft for a book to be submitted bolsters it with everything else the history and the poetry and the research I read it every night just a few Anthropology as Cultural Critique days of his life to bring myself even just for a moment to a beautifulay in the meadow It was a beautiful experience Beautiful beautiful nature wri. What really goes on in the long grass Meadowland gives an uniue and intimate account of an English meadow’s life from January to December together with its biography In exuisite prose John Lewis Stempel records the passage of the seasons from.

Ting and lovely illustrations This is a gorgeous homage to the traditional English meadow I was trying to read this book slowly and follow Lewis Stempel through his year on the Lower Meadow of his home in Herefordshire However I could only stretch it out two months because it s such a pleasure to read Lewis Stempel is a man of the land and a poet at heart He spends so much time walking the night meadow that I half expected him to turn into a werewolf by the end of the year I m a romantic at heart I learnt so much about English flora and fauna reading Meadowland It just looks like a regular field It has a hedge around it and it is full of grass with some muddy patches near the feeding troughs and the gateAnd you would think that is it But it isn t trust me on this it really isn t This field is teeming with lifeThere are the red kites feasting on wild and Anyone domesticated animals the badgers that patrol the field the playful fox cubs the hidden moles visible only from their mounds that try and consume the thousands of earthworms that populate the soil and the beasts that he rears for market But the star of this book is the grasses and plants that populate his field and the insect and bird life it supports Where he is in Hereford it is fortunate that it has not suffered from the effects of the industrial farming process that other parts of the country have and theiversity of the wildlife in his field is greater than it would be elsewhere But his land has not been immune to change there have been some losses such as the corncrake and there are no oubt others Through his lyrical and occasionally poetic prose Lewis Stempel really brings his unspoilt small patch of England into crystal clear focus Written as iary entries through a single year he writes about other events and local characters that orbit and swirl though his life about the history of the lands around as well as the weather a hugely important factor for any farmer He has an eye for Boggs detail too this book is full of the minutiae of the things happening in this field from theifferences and textures of the grasses to the way that everything is interdependent and reliant on each other all the way up and Battleground Chicago down the food chain He uses the phrase a lawn is a meadow in captivity which is a perfect way of summing up theifference between a natural environment left to its own Albert Camus devices and finds a balance and that which is controlled and suppressed and iseficient in so much lifeLewis Stempel s passion for this land his land is apparent all the way through the book If you want to understand just how complex a simple meadow actually is this is well worth reading 45 John Clare found his poems in a field Sometimes I find words There is nothing like working land for growing and reaping lines of prose Lewis Stempel is a proper third generation Herefordshire farmer but also a naturalist with a poet s eye His Bitter Choices day job might involve shooting rabbits cutting hay andelivering lambs but he still finds the time to notice and appreciate wildlife He knows his field s flowers insects and birds as well as he knows his cows he gets uiet and close enough to the ground to watch a shrew evouring beetlesAfter Robert Macfar. Cowslips in spring to the hay cutting of summer and grazing in autumn and includes the biographies of the animals that inhabit the grass and the soil beneath the badger clan the fox family the rabbit warrenthe skylark brood and the curlew pair.