y a series of fortunate incidents and a few misadventures, kk I found myself in another man's country. I was in my twenties and racing time. Looking back I can see the clear cut path but at the time it was simply the forest. The place was Oxford, the land of gentry enriched by privilege and academia; brim with thoughtful introspection and rich conversation about anything and everything. My flatmates and friends became my family, my culture, and provided an education.
One of whom happened to be the son of the charismatic and eclectic Major Patrick Rance, legendary cheesemonger and an icon for both the organic farmer and farmstead cheesemaker...back then. Tagging along on holidays, all were invited to create their own cheese plate from anything in his cheese shop. Simply opening the door unleashed a plethora of flora and fauna. Part of the fun, was seeing his delight on what we had chosen and the tales that ensued. That narrative became the start of this journey. At the same time, my boy friend was a fourth generation shepherd and holidays were filled helping in the lambing barn and tending to the animals. I had no idea at the time that these moments would come to define who I am. As time went on, I found myself searching out shepherds wherever I went knowing that at some time, I would have my own flock. The problem was I could never understand how one made a living in today's world with sheep. So, I forged a different path—understanding the calling but putting it aside to earn a living.
One summer, I happened upon a Basque shepherd in the Rockies and he told me his story. Intrigue and curiosity led me to his motherland in France to learn more. There I discovered that sheep can be milked and makes the most glorious cheese. An ephiphany of many that have forged a life in the fragile spaces, in all weathers, creating something that is very much heaven sent.

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