Myth & Moor update

The Chagford Show

A prize-winning cabbage at the Chagford Show

Prize-winning onions

On Thursday, Howard, Jenny (my lovely mother-in-law), Tilly and I went to the 115th Chagford Agricultural and Horticultural Show, one of our favorite events in the local calendar, where we watched dog, pony, and horse trials, admired tractors and vegetables, listened to local music, ate locally-grown food, caught up with village neighbors and friends...and where I was able to thoroughly indulge my inexplicable passion for sheep.

Here are some of my pictures from the day. You can find many more by other folks in the Gallery of the Chagford Show website.

Prize-winning vegetables

Prize-winning peas

“Imagine if we had a food system that actually produced wholesome food. Imagine if it produced that food in a way that restored the land. Imagine if we could eat every meal knowing these few simple things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what it really cost. If that was the reality, then every meal would have the potential to be a perfect meal. We would not need to go hunting for our connection to our food and the web of life that produces it. We would no longer need any reminding that we eat by the grace of nature, not industry, and that what we’re eating is never anything more or less than the body of the world. I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again -- something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature. Every meal would be like saying grace.” 

- Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals)

Prize-winning herbs

Home-made local wine

Prize-winning children's drawings

Prize-winning flowers in the children's section

“Community is a sign that love is possible in a materialistic world where people so often either ignore or fight each other. It is a sign that we don't need a lot of money to be happy -- in fact, the opposite.”

- Jean Vanier (Community And Growth)

Friends serving tea at Chagford Show

Husband, hound, and a vintage tractor

Steam-driven tractor

Dog competition at Chagford Show

Carriage-driving competition

The passing traffic at Chagford Show

“If we are looking for insurance against want and oppression, we will find it only in our neighbors' prosperity and goodwill and, beyond that, in the good health of our worldly places, our homelands. If we were sincerely looking for a place of safety, for real security and success, then we would begin to turn to our communities -- and not the communities simply of our human neighbors but also of the water, earth, and air, the plants and animals, all the creatures with whom our local life is shared."

- Wendell Berry (The Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays)

Prize-winning young cow

Prize-winning calf

I'll be out of the studio over the next week due to family commitments, and back to Myth & Moor again on Tuesday, September 1st. Wherever you may be, I hope the end of your summer (or winter, for those of you Down Under) is a good one.

A lamb at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford Show

Ram and sheep at Chagford Show

Sheep at Chagford ShowPicture descriptions are in the captions. (Run your cursor over the images to see them.)


We have friends who take their horses to the local Derbyshire shows. Sarah used to drive but is now doing dressage with her wilful Connemara, Pearly. We nearly always miss them by being away.

The picture of the the braided mane on that shire made me smile. My granddad used to work with heavy horses and told stories of braiding and grooming his dray horse for shows in London. Gt Uncle was a ploughman, both horse and tractor.

As to the sheep, there is nothing inexplicable about love for sheep, they are wonderful in their variety and character. Thanks for sharing Terri, I really enjoyed the ramble around the show.

Lovely thoughts and photos. I have a passion for sheep. I put it down to having grown up in Cumbria. Even though I'd been on holiday to places without sheep, I was surprised at how lacking Hertfordshire was in sheep when I moved there. If ever I go somewhere where there are lots of sheep, I feel a sense of coming home. Now in the village in Bedfordshire that we moved to last year, we are surrounded by sheep. It makes me very happy, though at the same time sad, knowing that the sheep are not there just for their intrinsic value.

Hi Terri

Oh! These are scrumptious and delightful pictures Wish I had been there but reminds me so much of some of the county fairs I visited back upper or rural New York State. Love those photos of the veggies and sheep, not to mention that lovely old time tractor. My grandfather had one similar abut it was a silver gray. And I wish you, Tilly and Howard a wonderful and peaceful end to the Summer. May it be filled with some sunshine and here, we are praying for rain in the desert.

Anyway, I leave you with a poem, written some time ago, but the fair in late August, based loosely on The Irish Song "She Moved Through The Fair, and memories of NY state (fairs) and countryside in the late Summer into the approaching Autumn--

The Fair In Late August

In the song a young woman
glides through the fair--
a pale chord of satin.

Twilight softens the sky
and the day lessens with crowds
into more shadows and silence.

A few stars waken and swans
(on a nearby lake)
slow the water
in statuary white.
Evening falls into a dream.

Here, the Autumn wind
moves in early making
her presence known. Her hands
smell of cider and wood smoke.
Her pace the saunter
of a doe browsing the field.

A quiet entrance
but the livestock knows
how quickly she can change
scattering leaves like ashes
or covering the lawn in fleece.

Frost sheared off the wide-
spread chill of October
when smudge pots are lit
and left burning to heat
the orchard fruit.

But for now, sun flickers
between the tents and trees
lighting her and the fairground
with its silvery flame,

the last weeks of Summer
kindled with longing
each soul must define.
Something bittersweet
birds amplify in their passing.

Take care and enjoy your family.
So good to hear you and Tilly are feeling much better and getting out.

My Best

Somehow the sweetness of these images made me cry. But a happy tear for the beauty of it. Thanks so much for sharing.

How gorgeous, love the wide eyed lambs with the black noses. We have a very similar show in our little country town (Daylesford Vic Aust). This year will be it's 142nd year! Will be entering my spiced crab apple (ballerina) jelly this year. The grounds are beautiful and the buildings are ancient, a fabulous day. The local school has a kitchen garden, the produce the kids grow is gorgeous. The kids also learn to cook and eat their produce at school.
Beautiful pics. ox

I can't say that I am particularly fond of sheep - the icelandic breed being rather feral and sometimes even a little bit aggressive. But I do love old tractors... Thank you for sharing! It reminded me of the farmers' markets of my childhood, before the supermarkets came in and everybody went for things grown somewhere else.

What privilege to live this way, bless the hearts and hands of all who do. They are the honored of the earth.

"A pale chord of satin.. ." Oh Wendy, sometimes your lines make my heart stutter in sudden recognition. I also picked up that line from the song. Have often gone to New England fairs.

Moving Through the Farm Fair

I simmer with false memories,
a pot on a fantasy boil,
as I move thought the fair.
I dream I am a hireling
on a farm, my arms a sheer
of sweat in the rows, hoeing,
scything, I do not even have
the proper words, and yet
I feel the swing of my movements
a tick of the year clock.

Is it the ripeness of the sheep,
the tall green leeks on the judging table,
the lowing of a cow ready to be milked?
Is it the curl of a dog's tail,
the braid on the heavy horse's mane
as its makes its plod cross the grass?

Or is it something deeper,
remembering Grandpa Dan's garden
in the rich Chesapeake soil,
the tidy rows of greens
in Grandma Manya's Ukrainian plot?
We are tied to the past by farms,
by the memories of farms,
that safety where nobody got hurt
by lashings of machinery, no lambs
were led unblinking to an abatoir,
chickens ran free in the grass,
and the dogs did not slavishly
lick your fingers and nose begging
simultaneously to be loved and fed.

©2015 Jane Yolen all right reserved

for the farm life,
as I move through the fair,

community-where it begins. a wonderful post and place.

Hi Jane

I adore this poem by you and its marvelously vivid details of the fair and the family legacy of farms. These lines ring so, so true with me --

We are tied to the past by farms,
by the memories of farms,
that safety where nobody got hurt
by lashings of machinery, no lambs
were led unblinking to an abatoir,
chickens ran free in the grass,
and the dogs did not slavishly
lick your fingers and nose begging
simultaneously to be loved and fed.

My Swiss grandfather ran a farm and bed/breakfast in uppersate New York During the Depression. He called it
"Pine Grove Farm" I was not born at that time period but he fondly talked of it. Yet, I grew up on the homestead when it was simply a family home and acreage. I do remember playing in the barn, picking Summer corn and other wonderful things from his garden and the tractor, the old antique tractor he used to mow the fields and clear land. And then too, the county fairs. How wonderful they were!! Thank you for these scenes and memories, they are so precious!!

And thank you, too for taking the time to read my stuff!! I deeply appreciated and are glad you enjoyed it!!

My Best

So many sweet faces. (Including the vegetable ones!)

Lovely and heartwarming photos--I'm glad to know such places really exist. And the two poems by Wendy and Jane are just gorgeous. Thanks, all!

I loved seeing these photos...the veggies, wine and art remind me of our SC State Fair which comes every October, though the Chagford set-up is so much neater and cleaner, perhaps because the fair is 10 days long. The other pics remind me of the tractor shows I attend to support my dad's restored John Deere entries. It all twigs my heartstrings with longing for (seemingly) simpler times without big box stores, dollar stores on every corner and the pollution of heavy traffic. The quotes you chose could not have been more accurate and contributed so much to your photos. And my dad enjoyed the Thomas engine. All so many reminders of where we (figuratively) come from. These community gatherings are what really matter, and I am grateful these traditions continue.

Lovely pictures. October is time for the annual Topsfield, MA fair, the oldest agricultural fair in the US. I now live in VT, so just a tad far to go.

I do get some of the feel of the agricultural life at the Norwich Farmer's Market, Norwich, VT.

I wish I were there. I am in North Carolina and our fairs are not like this- more guns and fired pies...
I did think of the wonderful story "A Fairy Went A-Marketing" by Rose Fylem - I am sure you know it.

Beautiful show, and products, are the sheep really that color?, look a golden yellow on my computer, so pretty, my grandson would love the Thomas Engine!

It's a long week without you, Terri. Life is less rich.

Oh God! Counting the days till you're back on line. Need a lift to my day Terri!
In regards to the tour through the Chagford fair, just want to say we appreciate you interrupting your own pleasure of taking in all it's essence by pausing to take all the photos for us to enjoy too.
When I saw the photo of the green peas on the plate it brought a tear to my eyes as I remembered my Uncle Lel used to proudly present green peas from his garden in the summers we visited. My mother's family are in Barkway, Hertfordshire area.
Looking forward to you and Tilly's return........

We have sheep on our farm so I don't find your passion for sheep inexplicable at all. We specialise in the Charmoise Hill breed, which gives a lovely wool. You can come visit them any time, Terri!

Our local show is similar to Chagford's, and I'm very proud to say that one of our cheeses won Second Prize, though of course we're determined to make that First Prize next year. I loved these photographs, so typical of the best of the English countryside. Tilly is adorable in front of the old tractor. Will I embarrass your husband if I say he is too?

Hi Terri'

I have just found your blog and after reading the post on 'judgement' I felt the courage to continue painting. You have given so much clarity and you offer your truth with the understanding of a gentle and generous soul.

Thank you,


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