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Twelve Sheep: Life Lessons From A Lambing Season

John Connell

The twelve sheep have come into his life at just the right moment. After years of hard work, John felt a deep tiredness creeping up on him, a sadness that he couldn't shrug off. Having always sought spiritual guidance, he comes to realise that, in addition to the soothing words of literature and philosophy, perhaps the way ahead involves this simple flock of sheep. In the hard work of livestock rearing, in the long nights in the shed helping the sheep to lamb, he can reflect on what life truly means.

Like the flock that he shepherds, this book is both simple and profound, a meditation on the rituals of farming life and a primer on the lessons that nature can teach us. As spring returns and the sheep and their lambs are released into the fields, skipping with joy, John recalls the words of Henry David Thoreau, reminding us to 'live in each season as it passes.'

Praise For Twelve Sheep: Life Lessons From A Lambing Season

“Connell has written a wise book, suffused with honesty and authenticity”

Salvador Ryan, The Irish Independent

“Twelve Sheep is a small gem, full of quiet wisdom and gorgeous descriptions of the wonder of nature, the redemption it holds, and how the landscape is charged with meaning. It’s been a long time since I read such a positive book”

Martin Chilton, The Independent

“an enjoyable, thoughtful and thought-provoking book”

The Irish Examiner

“A beautiful and soothing book, at once far-reaching and intimate, it serves as a sublime exhortation to stop and savour our precious and fleeting time on earth, to be grateful for the life we're given”

Donal Ryan

“This is such a lovely book, beautifully constructed and crafted. As everyone knows who has enjoyed The Cow Book, John Connell writes like a dream. In Twelve Sheep he returns to the old family farm in Longford, and the contours of a landscape both starkly real and richly imagined, to quarry that inexhaustible seam, the simple yet profound life lessons that come from farming. This is a wise and humane book, a book to lift our spirits in grim times”

Michael Wood

“Twelve Sheep is what I call a real book, an honest book. I can hear John Connell's voice lilting off the page, and telling me the many truths he has discovered: truths I need to know, and everyone needs to know”

Rosamund Young

“Sheep, and sheep farming, are far more interesting than you think”

Tim Flannery

For John Connell, the lambing season on his County Longford farm begins in the autumn. In the sheep shed, he surveys the dozen females in his care and contemplates the work ahead as the season slowly turns to winter, then spring.

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