14 June 2018
My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Bodacious: The Shepherd Cat is the heart-warming and charming tale of Bodacious – the most famous farmyard animal since Babe – who tells us about life as the Shepherd Cat of Black Sheep Farm. It’s a beautifully written memoir which captures perfectly the highs and lows of idyllic country living, and all that it entails – early mornings, frosty starts, beautiful sunrises, adventurous rare-breed Zwartbles sheep, hard work, entertaining animals, mouth-watering food and the kind people you meet along the way.
|Photograph by kind permission of the publishers|
Written from the perspective of this extraordinary cat, his charming memoir takes us through a year of life on the farm; from Bodacious’ daily farm duties and shepherding adventures, to his unbreakable bond with the shepherd, Suzanna.
On Black Sheep Farm in County Kilkenny, with gentle fields that slope towards the River Nore, Bodacious the Shepherd Cat can be seen amongst the rare-breed black Zwartbles sheep which give the farm, not just its name but which also produce the rather special yarn from which the shepherd produces beautifully soft blankets.
Bodacious first came to Black Sheep Farm as an abandoned cat and quickly became accustomed to farm life, tending sheep, caring for the lady egg givers and generally making his presence felt amongst the other animals who call the farm home, and as the farm closed itself around Bodacious, so Bodacious lovingly wrapped himself around Black Sheep Farm becoming as one with its rhythms and routines.
This lovely look at a year in the adventurous life of Bodacious takes us through the seasons. From spring through to winter there is never a dull moment in the life of this intrepid farm cat, be it tending his flock, supervising lambing or patrolling against the ever present threat of foxes, what is always guaranteed is that he does so with lively wit and considerable charm.
The very essence of Bodacious is captured so beautifully that it becomes a real pleasure to turn the pages of this lovely book to see just what's going to happen next as he goes about his important farm business. His voice is strong and purposeful as he chivies and scolds and generally makes sure that everything is as good as it can possibly be. However, the book isn't just about Bodacious, although his magnificence shines through on every well written page, it's also a love story to Black Sheep Farm and to the shepherd, Suzanna, who cares so deeply for the land, its soil and its ancient footprint on the landscape.
|Suzanna and Bodacious|
Credit: Clement Gelly
Suzanna Crampton grew up in the USA but spent her summers at her grandparents’ small farm in Kilkenny, Ireland. She studied agricultural and environmental sciences at Sterling Institute in Vermont and returned to Kilkenny in 1997. She now lives on her family farm with her flock of Zwartbles sheep, alpacas, horses, chickens, dogs, and Bodacious, who strolled into her life 11 years ago.
Follow Bodacious on Twitter @1CatShepherd #ShepherdCat
Follow the author on Twitter @zwartblesIE