Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Stories in the Stones

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From the back of the cupboard as we clear small patches of this house--seemingly only to refill others, this photo emerged. It is a photo of the farm where we now live--although these stairs and the building behind it are now gone--victims of a fire several years ago now. I was drawn to it not only because it is from this place but also because I have not known this farm or the other farms around here to have so many people on them. This is a roup--a farm sale. My husband had the tenancy of the farm but the contents of the previous owner, who was retiring to a small house just down the road from here were being sold.

This photo came into mind as we went to a nearby farm to see about buying some piece of equipment or other. I took my crochet hook and my camera with me and went along mostly for the ride. Just before a bit of rain fell, I took several shots of the stairs there. The contrast with the hustle and bustle of this photo was much in my mind.

This farm is still an active farm but the farmer lives somewhere else. As with Isauld, which at one time had seven men working and living here, this farm is now managed on a shoestring and with fewer and fewer hands. Those of us living here and hearing the stories of the farms that are changing what they grow to match the amount of labour available or the young people who have to go south because they cannot find a job here call this another clearance. I suspect that the clearing of strath naver and the villages to the west was nearly as invisible as this one is. In the 19th century, the plight of the villagers caught the attention of socially conscious writers who championed their cause, to little effect, I am afraid. Now the Royal Society of Edinburgh, with a whole passle of academics in a variety of fields has brought together a well researched document of the plight of the hill farmer and the legacy of the current agricultural policy. I hope someone is listening, but in the meantime I'll keep going out with my camera.

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At 9:33 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

beautiful photo of the steps.

At 9:35 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

keep taking the photos--good for you. Just as many people appreciate Morris's published reminiscences, in case most of the farms disappear (I hope they won't), many will appreciate your photos.

At 4:26 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Thanks, Ms Piggy. As you know I have struggled to see how I could fit in here. I like to think that I have made a contribution. Today I received the comment that I had written somewhere in my blog that I would be happy to leave this house. I don't know where that came from and it hurt me deeply.

At 2:23 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

those are absolutely beautiful stone stairs.

At 6:15 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

great shots of the both stairs // reminds me just how much the LOFT STAIRS came into the life of a farm // gives me a topic for a new article all on its own and a good one too // will use both fotos // scorrie //


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