The Covid-19 epidemic has put paid to a great many rites of spring in agricultural communities worldwide. The “farm show” has been put on hold or canceled altogether until next year, frustrating and disappointing many young livestock handlers with dreams of becoming the next Farmer Hoggett, and sometimes disastrously incommoding their elders who rely on the shows to establish themselves as elite and prize-winning breeders, nonpareils at the fiber arts (the woolly and hairy kind, not the Kellogg kind) and producers of the finest meats, cheeses, poultry, and other agricultural products.
It’s a bit of a downer all round. And the reason that the organizers of the local farm shows in Norfolk in the UK came up with the idea of filling this year’s void with the “Greatest Online Agricultural Show,” an event to raise money for charity, in which exhibitors virtually showcase their skills by sending a video to the judges.
Enter three-year-old Barley Brook Sellar.
Barley’s mother sent in a video of her tiny sheep handler answering questions about her best friend, and demonstrating her talent at taking said best friend for a (let’s be clear) non-appropriately socially-distanced walkabout, and also in getting her best friend to follow her barked-out order to “STAY!”
Barley’s been announced as the winner of the “young handlers, under eight, class.”
Here she is. Frankly, if this doesn’t melt your heart, I’m not sure I want to know you.
(For the uninitiated, the transcript of the conversation between Barley and her mother is as follows):
Mum: What’s your name?
BBS: I’m Barley Brook Sellar.
Mum: How old are you?
BBS: I’m three.
Mum: What’s your sheep called?
Mum: And what type of sheep is she?
BBS: Umm. White. Border Leicester.
Ethel: Double Snort.
Mum: Ok. Can you take her for a walk for me?
BBS: Yes [plods off with Ethel].
BBS: Bring her back?
Mum: Yeah, bring her back.
Mum: OK. Stand her up for me.
BBS: [Puts feet together, poses, smiles].
It is, perhaps, possible that we’ll survive the present calamity, that the world will keep turning, and that young people like Barley Brook Sellar will take charge and save us all.