The Twisleton family looked after their animals in the traditional way, with cows kept in stalls during the winter months. Cows were milked by hand, small flocks of sheep were sheared by the family with maybe others to assist. Animal welfare consisted of using traditional methods. Farming was hard work and Tom wrote a funny poem to his brother. His brother had gone away and then extended his leave, so Tom wrote “Letter to the Poet’s brother on his extending his leave of absence” to remind him to hurry back home and help with the work!
Then, as now, dogs could be a huge threat to flocks of sheep. Tom wrote a poem “On shooting two dogs that were worrying sheep” and described how he protected not just his flocks but those of his neighbours. He also wrote about the error of not using the correct equipment in his gun. His poem “Composed on both barrels of my gun missing fire at a hare, one wet day, on account of my not using waterproof caps” explains in an amusing way how he would no longer trust “common low priced caps.” Hares would have supplemented the diet of his family and any additional hares and rabbits were sold at market so it isn’t surprising that Tom was annoyed with himself!
His love of the land and his concern that all would be destroyed by so-called progress is clear in A Prophetic Picture. He wrote his concern that warehouses and chimneys from mills would change the landscape and in the river “poisonous dyes from many mills run downward…”
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