Welcome to the virtual location of Works & Days Farm in Shoreham, Vermont, USA. This is not an interactive website, but simply a point of reference, or proof of life. It is certainly not a blog. It is a wonder to us how anyone who materially participates in a farm and has a day job, as most small farmers must, has time to blog about it. Be that, however, as it may, we are delighted that you have visited our page.
We raise sheep mostly: Dorsets and Scottish Blackface. The Dorset lambs we sell wholesale to markets in New York and Boston. The Blackface are eye candy, and for breeding stock. They are beautiful sheep. (So are the Dorsets.) We keep about 75 ewes of both kinds. We also raise chickens, manage a sugarbush, and dabble now and again in bees, pigs, and goats.
We were not to the manner born, but learned as we went and built everything ourselves from scratch—--house, barns, fences, outbuildings—--without a mortgage, and without a trust fund. We farm 125 acres, most of it reclaimed from scrub. Our three children, now flourishing adults, were born and educated at home. If you ever have reason to contact us, we can tell you the whole story if you want.
The name of our farm comes from the title of an ancient Greek poem by Hesiod—-ΕΡΓΑ ΚΑΙ ΗΜΕΡΑΙ—-about the times and seasons of the agricultural year and the value of honest work. Mark is a Classics professor and Caroline let him have his way with the farm name. Caroline is a professional cheese monger and keeps Mark plied with his favorite flavor of cholesterol. She is also a fine gardener and shepherdess.
In many ways Hesiod prefigured the outlook of art critic John Ruskin, whose aesthetic, political, and moral ideals align closely with our own and are enshrined in this passage from The Stones of Venice (Vol. 2 ): “We want one man to be always thinking, and another to be always working, and we call one a gentleman, and the other an operative; whereas the workman ought often to be thinking, and the thinker often to be working, and both should be gentlemen, in the best sense. As it is, we make both ungentle, the one envying, the other despising, his brother; and the mass of society is made up of morbid thinkers and miserable workers. Now it is only by labour that thought can be made healthy, and only by thought that labour can be made happy, and the two cannot be separated with impunity.”