Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry

Brass Valley: The Fall of an American Industry
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Friday, January 18, 2008

Owl Song


When icicles hang by the wall,
And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipp'd, and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl:
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

When all aloud the wind doth blow,
And coughing drowns the parson’s saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
And Marion’s nose looks red and raw,
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
Tu-whit! Tu-who! -a merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

from Love's Labours Lost by William Shakespeare

After leaving Hollow Farm, I went a mile up the road to Beardsley Farm. The size of this farmstead makes clear it was once the largest dairy farm in the hollow, but it's been a long time since the breath of a cow steamed the air in the barnyard. The barns are in decay and all is quiet. Far to the right, at the foot of the distant mountain, are the intact remains of Straight Farm. As you can see above, the snow was still falling. There would be a few more hours of good shooting, but by this time I was getting hungry for breakfast and morning coffee.