Tenderbellied Introduction

tenderbellied covers 2

I just completed a chapbook, Tenderbellied, with May Day Studio in Montpelier. Kelly McMahon of May Day created the cover design from one of my photographs. The artwork was imprinted by hand on handmade paper from Omaha, and sewn together by hand. Tenderbellied is a limited edition of 100 books, numbered and signed. Please contact me at tamrajhiggins@gmail.com if you are interested in one. $10 each.

For as far back as I can trace my maternal and paternal families, which is several centuries, we have been farmers. We have been farmers because of who we are and who we are because we are farmers. I only have six sheep, but there is nothing like going out to the barn first thing in the morning, opening the door for light to pour into the darkness, inhaling the richness of hay and the musk of lanolin. There is nothing like sheep’s wool to warm your fingers in 30 below, nothing like sheep eyes to warm your heart.

Table of Contents

Breaking Ground
Before the Sun Was Up
Morning
Bray’s Head, Ireland
Tenderbellied
Birth, Iowa, 1932
Still Life
Beginner’s Luck
Spinning
Norn
Farmer

You can see one of the sheep, Merlin, showing off on barn cleaning day. Watch how he peaks out of the barn to see if the others are watching him. The white on the barn floor is lime that is spread to absorb odors and dry the floor before fresh straw is spread.