Sheepish

A relatively quiet day:

I started with some paperwork, checking up on the Milk Recording results before having a quick bath, a hasty breakfast & then hurrying out to complete the ffarm chores.  Tony stayed in bed until around 10am & then readied himself for a long day’s work, off to Beirut at lunchtime. 

Just as he was about to leave I heard a plaintive bleating from across the steeply-terraced field which is currently home to the sheep, Parc Gwair.  In Welsh this means ‘the Hayfield’ which these days is something of a joke; years of ponderous grazing by Ieuan’s cattle has caused said terraces to form & it looks more suitable for growing rice or vines these days, than hay! Certainly even the most agile tractor could no longer navigate its treacherous slopes; but there again, many years ago, the crop would have been hand-cut with scythes.  I looked across; & saw the last thing I needed to deal with, on my own: Angelica’s lamb – Bayleaf – had managed to penetrate the field’s seemingly impenetrable defences, wriggling underneath a tiny gap in the tightly-sprung sheep netting & then getting his thick fleece well & truly tangled in the brambles on the other side.  With a sigh, I fetched my shepherd’s crook & a pair of gloves & clambered into the field, to the delight of the rest of our little flock who romped up the hill excitedly towards me on the eternal hope of a bucket of food.  The lamb was thankfully relatively quiet; & a few sharp scratches & swear words later, I managed to set him free.  Then came the equally thorny issue of having to get him back into the field: he was – inevitably of course – at the furthest possible point to a gateway; & the field is bordered by stout hedges which are hard up against the (supposedly) sheep-proof fence.  To compound the problem, at this time of year the hedges are at their thickest with a near-impenetrable barrier of vigorous brambles (hence he’d got stuck in the first place).  So I opted for the big ‘no-no’ but frankly the only real choice left open to me (this was a very large, near-adult ram lamb & I could not possibly hope to heft him over the fence alone) – I hustled him back under the fence via the way he’d got in.  Suitably chastened, he scuttled off back to the flock who of course immediately showed an unhealthy interest in the new ‘doorway’ from which he’d emerged….so I suspect this won’t be the last time that this happens: we’ve found that sheep get out far more frequently than goats, contrary to popular opinion!  Luckily it’s about the right time to bring the ewes in for their pre-tupping ‘MOT’; & we need to separate the ewes & lambs.  The grass on the top fields is just right for ‘flushing’ the ewes, & it’s high time the lambs were weaned; so I think we’ll now be doing that, at the next available opportunity – & hope the higher hedges hold….

The afternoon was comparatively quiet; the weather, grey; so I caught up on a little Blogtime, updating the entry on the ‘Us’ page which seems to get a fair few hits & really needed writing properly. Five thousand words later, I did the evening milking & chores; had a bite of supper & enjoyed a rare hour’s relaxation, watching the wonderfully humorous ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ (thoroughly recommended).  And then, ‘Time for bed’, said Zebedee….   

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About LittleFfarm Dairy

The LittleFfarm Dairy Team: Jo - Goat farmer & Gelatiere Artigianale, plus General Dogsbody; Tony - Airline Pilot & part-time Herd Manager, Product Taster, Accounts Secretary, Handyman etc!
This entry was posted in Diary, Farming, Life, Livestock, September 2007. Bookmark the permalink.

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