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A Shepherd's Watch: Through the Seasons with One Man and His Dogs

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  62 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
At Borough Farm, on North Devon's rugged, spectacular coast, David Kennard and his dogs are embarking on a new shepherding year.

Part diary of one man and his remarkable dogs, part Herriot-like homage to the countryside and its characters, A Shepherd's Watch is that rare thing: a portrait of a real life that is at once authentic and evocative, warm, and compelling. Here, Da
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Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 29th 2005 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published March 29th 2004)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 102)
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Michelle
Mar 11, 2009 Michelle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book outlines one year, starting in Autumn, of a shepherd's life in North Devon (on the coast of Britain). While the dogs (5 border collies named Greg, Swift, Gail, Fern, and Ernie) feature prominently in this book, there is also much about the sheep and sheep farming within these pages. I think the book really makes a good point about the working shepherd's life: it's not all about the dogs. They certainly play an important role. They're both companion and coworker, but tending to the shee ...more
Amanda
Jul 14, 2010 Amanda rated it liked it
This is a book about a year in the life of a working shepherd. Although the subtitle indicates that it talks about the shepherd and his dogs, the sheepdogs are only one part of the story, which comprises sheep, and the turning of the seasons, and David's family.

It is a warm cosy book that leads you season by season through the usual happenings of a sheep farm. Kennard writes honestly and frankly about how much hard work it involves; how little money he takes; how the work of moments can damage a
...more
Carol
Jan 17, 2016 Carol rated it liked it
The book is about a man and his five collies sheep herding on an isolated farm in North Devon, England. There are sheep herding trials, seasonal breeding 'tupping', buying rams and selling ewes, bottle feeding lambs, shearing adventures and working herding dogs. Descriptive writing of life in the fields, recuing lambs off of precarious ocean cliffs and quiet family farm life. It was interesting, though a bit slow at times.
Lizzy
Sep 11, 2010 Lizzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kennard is a great storyteller. I first discovered his farm via the short BBC series called Mist. It's a series meant for children, but I have a soft spot for it. His first book, on the other hand, talks about life on a sheep farm in England. It covers a year in the life of a farmer, and how he relies on his sheepdogs. Kennard paints a beautiful picture of his farm, and the animals on it. He also discusses how sheep farming is no longer enough to provide for a family. In one section, he even sta ...more
Julie
Jul 29, 2011 Julie added it
Shelves: uk-biography
I really loved it. At first it seemed to be more information than I wanted to know. But he is a really good writer and drew me into his world. I learned so much! Sad to learn that it is a vanshing profession in the UK, as profits aren't great enough to live on any more. I'm really glad I read it. There aren't a lot of pictures but the ones that there are are topnotch and show the gorgeous Devon coastline where he grazes his sheep. It is a grueling profession requring tremendous stength, stamina, ...more
Alexander
Mar 14, 2013 Alexander rated it liked it
From the fella behind Mist The Sheepdog, this takes us through a year in the life of a working sheep farm in North Devon. To be fair, I only really wanted to read about the dogs, so all the gubbins about the inner machinations of farming, and his family life washed over me. But I'm sure others will be enthralled. Me, I was happy to read about Greg, Swift, Gail, Fern and the troublesome Ernie. He has an easy writing style, and I'd rattled through the book before I knew it. Personal misgivings asi ...more
Wendy
Oct 23, 2011 Wendy rated it really liked it
Shelves: country-life
Kennard's style is strAightforward and honest, respectful and loving. He doesn't romanticize his life although he very easily could. I enjoyed most when he described the dogs. His stories about the amount of work it takes to have a working sheep farm were overwhelming enough to make you wonder why the heck anyone would ever want to do that. And yet from his writing I can tell amidst all the drudgery and work there are many special moments that make it worthwhile for him personally.
Anne
Jan 17, 2013 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Life got in the way and I never started this back in November, but when I did it just took a couple of sessions to read. A lovely, honest, human account of a year in the life of a shepherd in North Devon - the good, the bad and the sometimes ugly. Not a tear-jerker though. Heart-warming.
JackieB
I enjoyed this and thought it was a pleasant example of the "James Herriot" style of memoir (although I suspect David Kennard could be rather fed up with that description). Mr Kennard had an agreeable writing style and an interesting (and fast disappearing) way of life.
Magda
Feb 15, 2012 Magda rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
Quite different from the Herriot books, naturally, but thoroughly enjoyable in a different way. I especially loved the sheepdog trials, and I'm pretty sure that's what the author loved, too. The whole tone of the storytelling changed for those chapters.
Cat Urbigkit
Nov 13, 2007 Cat Urbigkit rated it did not like it
Such a beautiful volume, but I've been disappointed in the content. I really enjoy the details of daily life with the flocks, but feel like the author discounts the intelligence of the animals he works with.
TheIron Paw
Feb 04, 2009 TheIron Paw rated it really liked it
Shelves: dogs
A great description of a year in the life of a shepherd. It's largely, but not completely, about his dogs, including good accounts of trialing. Has some great photography as well.
Annekanne
Aug 21, 2013 Annekanne rated it really liked it
Shelves: library, non-fiction
i wouldn't really recommend this book to friends (except if they are interested in this topic) but for a book about sheep and a shepherd it's really good hence four stars.
Niki
Feb 19, 2009 Niki rated it really liked it
I love books about animals. After this reading this I found myself looking up sheep shearing and herd dogs on you tube.
Nancy
Aug 09, 2013 Nancy rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Well written. An inside look at sheep raising for a living. There was more too it than I knew, of course. I liked it.
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David Rudin rated it it was amazing
Jan 16, 2016
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Kirsten marked it as to-read
Jan 10, 2016
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Richard Starke rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2016
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Mansfield Public ...: A Shepherd's Watch Review by Karin Dionne 1 1 Jul 19, 2013 07:19AM  
David Kennard and his family farm at Borough Farm on the beautiful, rugged North Devon coast. The farm is home to a flock of 700 breeding ewes, plus their lambs which graze across over 400 acres. Working with David is his team of 9 sheepdogs, ranging from retiree Fern, now 11 years old, down Zola and Colin who were born in February 2011.

More about David Kennard...

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