Peace to you almighty human. May you always be wise, with foresight, contemplation, care and giving. May you always look to the legacy of our cultural treasures with affection.
Our national heritage is a varied and diverse treasure. Stately homes, precious gardens, diverse landscapes, natural resources, intelligence, industry and cultural identity. A past of generosity, of peace, sharing and prosperity. It comes from work, from intelligence and from tenacity.
The land was productive, it enticed the farmer. Immigration was encouraged to a colony needing settlers, pioneers, homesteaders and farmers.
William Miller of Pickering Ontario was such a person. Straight from Scotland, he brought with him a desire for farming in 1839 and began a family business of farming including sheep. One of the breeds he brought to Canada was the Shropshire sheep. A sturdy, productive animal with a good woolen coat and good meat. Straight from the British Iles to the farmlands of Canada, four generations of the Miller family raised, traded, imported, sold and bread Shropshire sheep. A Canadian legacy in family farming that has lasted more than 170 years. In that time, the Canadian breeders have developed a strain of animal that has become the Canadian heritage breed of Shropshire sheep.
A fine and commendable achievement for a farmer of skills and intelligence. A breeding stock of superior animals to call his own. A family farm of such cultural legacy that it becomes a National Historic site.
More than 170 years of raising a heritage breed. Bloodlines, genetics, registries. record keeping. The meticulous work of selective breeding, preservation and control. Only the best, the finest, the purest strain of the stock. The constant attention, the details. For more than 170 years the perseverance to establish a blood line of genetically superior animals.
The Shropshire sheep is only a sheep, but for Canadian cultural heritage, these are ours. A rare breed of carefully selected genetics, which prove the sustainability of a lifetime of pioneering and generations of careful animal husbandry. Carefully selected animals, carefully selected genetics, perfect coats, perfect specimens, good meat. Sheep that eat grass, not grain, in a Canadian environment of long winters and heavy snowfall. An unusual diet in an animal that eventually lost their popularity to their grain fed counterparts. A small flock of significant cultural heritage. A flock of genetically pure animals of 170 years of Canadian farming history. A rare breed in Canada. A significant achievement in Canadian farming history.
The family farm has been our cultural history for hundreds of years. It has brought settlers and pioneers by the thousands to Canada to call this country home and to build a great colony and a great nation. The strength and fortitude of these skilled experts has carved a farming niche in a country of wild, wooded land.
There are a few significant examples remaining in our country, but 170 years is one of the longest surviving farms in this nation and the strain of livestock that it produced is cultural heritage as well.
Which takes us back to the Shropshire sheep and our case. Page 2
written by Dr. Louise Hayes
November 24, 2013