HONEY ROCK DAWN

Meditations With Cows

If this summer had not been this summer and if I had not been in frantic survival mode for the past six months, I would have done a long, slow rollout leading up to the debut of my new book, Meditations with Cows. But it was, and I didn’t, and my book is going to be REAL in two short weeks! So buckle up and grab a drink, I have like 1500 words for you about the 70,000 words I spent almost two years writing!

The short version: I’m so thrilled to announce that Meditations with Cows will arrive in the world on September 29 and you can order it now! Signed copies are available through my local indie bookstore for orders placed in September ONLY. You can order signed copies HERE. You can also get the book through Amazon or Bookshop. All preorders placed in September will receive a free gift – more info on this below.

Meditations with Cows is the most personal thing I’ve ever written, the most political thing I’ve ever written, and the most well-written thing I’ve ever written. If you’ve been reading my blog for years, you’ll recognize some stories, but most of it is completely new. I put every last drop of my heart and soul into this book. The team at Penguin Random House has done an incredible job with the layout – it’s absolutely gorgeous, with full-color photographs placed throughout the text.

In May, I submitted a chapter of Meditations with Cows to the Wyoming Arts Council Writing Fellowship in Creative Nonfiction and…… I WON! I really, really wanted to win. Not for the money or the prestige, but for the external validation – to know that this book was of a high enough caliber to win.

When I got the final manuscript, I gave it to Mike to read for the first time. He had read sections here and there, but never the whole thing. He read it three times in a row, back to back. And he said that every time he read it, he noticed more and more – little details resonated and clicked on subsequent readings. It’s true – there are puzzle pieces in the first few chapters that you won’t know are there until you read the whole book. This book is FUN and it is DEEP. I’m so proud of it.

The last “real” book I wrote, The Daily Coyote, came out six weeks after the financial crash of 2008. Now, Meditations with Cows is coming out during a global pandemic and an even worse financial crisis. What are the odds? When I think about this, I feel very sad and sorry for myself. My heart has hurt for everyone who has had a book published this year. To spend so much time and energy working on One Big Thing (often alone, often mired in insecurity) and then, when it’s finally ready to share, to be confronted with the reality that many, many people are too stressed to notice that your book even exists brings a strange kind of pain. The pain feels a little selfish, or at least self absorbed, because our current reality is bringing much bigger pain to so many. But it’s also a valid pain – I didn’t write this book for my own gratification, I wrote it because I believe everything this book contains is worthy of being read and shared.

What keeps me from sinking too deep into despair is a very strong conviction (hope? delusion?) that this book will be one that travels through word of mouth. I really believe that when you read this book, you’ll find yourself compelled to talk about it to someone you know, or post a passage to social media, or call someone to read them a paragraph – that people will talk about this book because they won’t be able to stop thinking about it. And that more people will learn about the book through this kind of sharing than through a feature in People Magazine (as was the case with The Daily Coyote).

I feel like I’m getting carried away in a sales pitch and I don’t mean to be – I just think this book is worth your $25. And if, like so many, you don’t have a spare $25 right now, you can call or email your local library to request that they acquire a copy of Meditations with Cows. Requests help librarians and they help the book.

If you would like to order a copy for yourself (or for your library or for your friends), I’ve got links for you!

Signed copies are available through Storyteller Books in Thermopolis, Wyoming and you can order online HERE. Signed books will ONLY be available for orders placed in the next three weeks! This is because Storyteller Books is the closest bookstore to my house, yet it is still 70 miles away and I can’t zip down there to sign books here and there indefinitely. So, if you’d like a signed copy, place your order RIGHT NOW! Storyteller Books is offering a 10% discount for all orders placed online HERE. During checkout, be sure to click “Order Comments” and type “SIGNED BOOK” in the message field. You may also include your name, or the names of those to whom you are gifting books, and I will personalize each copy. No need to place separate orders for multiple books UNLESS you want books shipped to different addresses.

The book is also available through Bookshop, which is like Amazon in that you can find every book you can think of and have it shipped to your door, but unlike Amazon, all sales support indie bookstores. Click HERE to order through Bookshop.

You can also get the book through Amazon HERE.

The audiobook is also available through Amazon and Bookshop, and is read by the same narrator as The Daily Coyote.

Wait, there’s more!

Regardless of where you order the book, everyone who orders Meditations with Cows before September 29 will receive a FREE preorder gift. I’ve designed a set of screensavers and exclusive Zoom backgrounds featuring our favorite bovines and gorgeous Wyoming vistas. You can have your next meeting with Daisy by your side! These Zoom backgrounds are so hilarious. The iconic photo of Ricardo holding council with Daisy and young Frisco? I made room for you in there!

To get the free set of screensavers and Zoom backgrounds, just email proof of purchase (this can be a copy of your receipt or order confirmation) to meditationswithcows [at] gmail [dot] com between now and September 29.

Here’s what early readers have to say about the book:

“How wonderful it is to come across the extraordinary magic of Shreve Stockton’s writing. She writes from a position of authenticity and great love. Her intelligence and sensitivity suffuse everything from the way she describes the personalities of her cows to the much needed lessons on grazing and pastureland. With her work rooted in the land itself, Stockton presents a vivid picture of Wyoming to readers who may not otherwise know or understand what a working ranch is like. Meditations with Cows will enchant and thrill every reader, and arrives at a critical time when understanding each other is vital and crucial to our survival.”
—Marie Mutsuki Mockett, author of American Harvest

“In Meditations with Cows, readers will find themselves in a beautiful world, led on an exploration that connects them back to the land, back to their food, and ultimately, back to themselves. With tales of ranching in the West, a wealth of information about our food system, and an invitation to participate, Meditations with Cows weaves together so many important threads. Stockton is a master wordsmith, the modern Aldo Leopold and Wendell Berry I’d been looking for.”
—Kate Kavanaugh, founder of Western Daughters Butcher Shop and Ground Work Collective

“Meditations with Cows takes you on a provocative and thoughtful journey through the best and worst parts of the modern food system. The relentless forces of industry and profit are straining the biosphere and the relationship with our animal kin, winding up for explosive change in the way we eat. Stockton and Daisy’s story is at once an intimate memoir and an epic journey through this unique moment in human history.”
—Jacy Reese Anthis, author of The End of Animal Farming

“Meditations with Cows is enchanting and profound. Shreve Stockton is a clear-eyed, fearless woman with an enormous heart—her insights on rural life are spot-on, unsentimental, and unfailingly appreciative of the bounties attending the life she has built with rigor and ardor. Don’t miss this book.”
—Peter Coyote, actor and author of Sleeping Where I Fall

I am so excited for you to read this book, and to hear what your favorite chapters are.

Daisy Says Hi!

Leaving this here for whoever needs it…..

Not all men are misogynists, but all men inherently benefit from our sexist societal structure.

I think all women understand this at the core of our being because we live with it every day.

It seems to be more difficult to acknowledge the existence of the systems we directly benefit from, even if we fundamentally disagree with them.

Not all white people are racist, but all white people benefit from white supremacy.

Now without the caveat: all white people benefit from white supremacy.

All white people benefit from white supremacy.

Actively working to dismantle entrenched, systemic white supremacy is the work we must do to be anti-racist.

I’m posting this list from @blackandembodied so that I may continue to refer to it. Maybe you’ll find it helpful, too.

Snippets: Where Am I Edition

I almost missed Charlie’s birthday (and my own) because I have no idea where I am in time and space. Who does these days? Charlie is 13!

.   .   .

I haven’t posted here in ages because I gave everything I had to the book. I just got the typeset pages and the layout is so gorgeous, you will freak out when you see it. The publishing team has done an incredible job. I gave it to Mike and he read half of it in one sitting, stopping only because it was midnight, and finished it the next day. So, that’s a good sign. He’s biased, obviously, but a discerning reader.

I have no idea how this book will be received but my entire heart and soul is in this book, it’s like nothing I’ve ever done before. If you’ve been reading here for years, you’ll recognize some stories, but there is a ton that is new, that I’ve never shared. I have much more to tell you about the book as soon as I get my bearings.

.   .   .

3M is a mama! She had her first calf at the end of March and all is well.

.   .   .

I made a new website. Man, was it fun to play with colors and shapes after dealing with words for so long. I finally got all my scattered bits of internetness gathered in one place: www.shrevestockton.com

.   .   .

I know everyone is struggling right now and finances feel unstable, but if you don’t feel like you’re falling off a cliff, I’d like to ask you to consider contributing to the Food Bank Cooperation Donation.

Food banks are serving more people than ever right now. I’m planning to donate two whole beef this year myself – one this spring and one this summer. It would be thrilling to be able to double that contribution with your help. The Food Bank Cooperation Donation is a crowd-sourced donation. Contribute any amount that feels right to you, and you’ll receive charitable contribution paperwork from The Food Bank of the Rockies to use as a tax write-off.

The money is pooled and essentially buys my grass-finished, humanely-raised beef directly from me at wholesale, and I deliver the packaged beef to the food bank for them to distribute. This arrangement supports the Food Bank of the Rockies, the people they serve, and me. And your donations go to high-quality meat from an indie rancher (me) rather than conventional beef from CAFOs.

You can join us HERE.

If anyone reading this is interested in coordinating a similar arrangement between your local food bank and your local farmers and ranchers, feel free to email me and I’ll happily share all the technical details of how this works between the Food Bank of the Rockies and myself. Every dollar donated supports individuals and stays within the community instead of traveling up a ladder in the corporate food system.

.   .   .

I lost one of my favorite people to COVID19. He was my first friend in Wyoming. He moved away a few years ago and in early March (which feels like forever ago) I asked him if he was ever going to come back to Wyoming. He said probably never but I’ll love you forever and we’ll meet up on the road one of these days………

Snippets ~ Icicle Season

My delicious view.

.   .   .

I went outside this morning with the dogs, wearing very little. The half moon was aglow in the western sky and I remarked to myself how warm it was. Frost glittered across the deck but the air was warm – for winter. I was in no hurry to go back inside, but when the dogs were ready to go in, I went in, too, and went out the door on the other side of the house to see if I could see Daisy. The eastern sky was tangerine but it was still an hour from sunrise. The air was so cold I couldn’t bear to stay outside! It was at least 15 degrees colder on the east side of the house than the west side. I went out the west door again. It was mild. I went out the east door again. It was freezing. Mike was convinced I was hallucinating but refused to come outside with me half naked to feel it for himself.

.   .   .

I found a box of original hardcover copies of The Daily Coyote: Ten Years in Photographs hidden in my office! There are just a few copies left and they are in the shop. Find ’em HERE.

Also in the shop: a massive elk antler chew toy restock. Every size and lots of them, waiting for your pups. Whenever we make these, Chloe and Sage and even the cats creep up to the box of freshly cut chew toys and try to sneak one out for themselves. Find ’em HERE, along with a few new rings…..

.   .   .

Charlie calendars were Mercury Retrograded – my printers printer printed every page crooked. A mechanical malfunction that is now repaired, but it set back production. I picked up a batch of perfectly printed calendars on Friday and sent out hundreds on Saturday, working in reverse order of orders (earliest orders shipped first). I’ll be getting more calendars this week and should be caught up by Friday. They look so good! You can get yours HERE.

.   .   .

My brain is still in book mode. It’s also quite tired. I’ve been getting some really incredible feedback on the book. Final final final edits due in January!

One of my favorite people I’ve never met posted this video and she totally nails the writing process:

 

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I highly recommend this podcast episode in which she is interviewed.

.   .   .

I received this clipping in the mail last week.

Long time Charlie fans will get the joke. Thanks Anna!

.   .   .

Totally amazing instagram account:

 

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ARP271 – An Interacting Galaxy Pair ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Swipe ↔️ to see zoomed and original frame… ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Somewhere around 100 million light years away toward the constellation Virgo, this beautiful galaxy pairing lights up your night sky (faintly). The collection known as ARP271 consists of NGC5427, the larger face on spiral seen here on the right, and NGC5426 on the left. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ These two are currently in a galactic ballet, passing each other close enough to affect each other gravitationally. The subtle bending of the spiral arms can be seen, as well as, a bridge of stars strewn out into intergalactic space. What would the night sky look like from a planet around one of these stars, 😯?! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ For my astrophotography brethren, if you haven’t guessed this is a challenging and tiny target, with a separation of only 2 arc-minutes! Swipe over to see the original frame from my telescope with an effective focal length of almost 1500mm. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ As always, enjoy and let me know what you think in the comments! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ @thevastreaches <— consider following me for more views of your lovely universe. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ✨ —> 🔭 Celestron EdgeHD 8”, ZWO ASI1600MM, Orion AtlasPro HaLRGB ~13 hours total exposure ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #astrophotography #astronomy #telescope #nightsky #zwo #outerspace #deepsky #cosmos #stars #stargazing #physics #longexposure #space #universe #science #nature #naturephotography #galaxy #nightphotography #nightshooters #celestronrocks #ig_astrophotography #natgeospace #universetoday

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