In Working with the Curlew Trevor Robinson shares his enthusiasm and joy for his work as a shepherd on the moor at Great Whernside in Yorkshire and later as a farmhand near Leominster in Hereford: "A lovely environment, very busy and hard work with no lorries, no electric motors, no tractors-just nature's own sounds." He celebrates the intricate details of traditional farm life: selling rabbits at tuppence each, the village hop, sheep shearing, lambing, shire horses, haymaking, the warm welcome taste of tea on a snow-bound moor, muck spreading, cheese and bread making, and trout-tickling. During one severe Yorkshire winter six hundred sheep were lost, and he had to leave the job he loved - 'the call of the curlew was still over two months away, when it came I was not there to hear it'. His new job in Herefordshire brought different skills: hedge laying, ploughing matches, haymaking, chain harrowing and crop rotation, and inevitably, the arrival of tractor and combine harvester. Working with the Curlew is an intimate and evocative account of an era before factory farming, when farmers worked closely with nature and the rhythm of the seasons, a smallholding could sustain a family, and there were enough small farms for a shepherd to climb the ladder to ownership.

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