Ya bluidy auld witch

It’s a phrase I’d never come across until I started working with sheep. It’s normally directed at the misbegotten mule ewe who wiggles, burrows and climbs through or under netting, snapping off posts and generally creating a gap which the rest come pouring through.

From experience the Mule (normally round here a cross between Blue faced Leicester and Swaledale) is the worst culprit. They’re the normal ‘breeding sheep’, the mothers of this year’s lambs. They have the toughness and mothering ability of their own Swaledale mothers, and because their mothers are fell sheep, they’re prone to wandering.

Down breeds aren’t such a problem, and they provide the sires of this year’s lambs, because they’ve better confirmation, grow faster and taste better. But they’re not as hardy and aren’t such determinedly good mothers.

And we’ve fetched a batch home because they’re coming up to lamb. In another month the first of them will have lambed and things will be hectic. So we fetch them home, pamper them a bit, make sure they properly fed and generally treat them as you’d expect expectant mothers to be treated.

But their condition doesn’t stop the bluidy auld witches ‘ratching’ through every fence looking for better grazing.

The problem is, there is one field with a little bit of grass. We’ve been saving it for them, so they can go on it after they’ve lambed.

But of course they’ve found it now, and they just keep breaking fences down to get to it. And of course I just keep putting them back up again, strengthening the weak spots and generally trying to make sure the fence is as stock proof as I can. But it’s a fair length of fence and bits that appeared OK yesterday were the ones they went through last night.

So after I’ve posted this I’m back out to have another go. There are things I should be doing; after all they’re robbing the world of my deathless prose. (Or alternatively saving folk from having to read my petty scribblings.)


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10 thoughts on “Ya bluidy auld witch

  1. M T McGuire January 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm Reply

    It sounds a bit like dressing small children, the minute you get an arm in you find a leg has got out again somewhere, so you put the leg back in and suddenly, both arms are out again…



    • jwebster2 January 19, 2015 at 6:14 pm Reply

      There’s a similar sense of inevitability about it isn’t there

      • M T McGuire January 19, 2015 at 10:55 pm

        Absolutely. Or that thing where you carry a toddler through a shop and discover that it’s behaved like velcro and various things have stuck to it, without your realising. Then you have to evaluate whether they have been chewed or drooled on so you have to buy them, or whether they’re pristine enough to put back. 😉 It sounds as if sheep and small children are quite similar.



      • jwebster2 January 19, 2015 at 11:20 pm

        One of ours complained of cold hands. It was discovered she’d opened the big container of icecream and had been scouping it out with her bare hands and eating it in the shop

      • M T McGuire January 20, 2015 at 7:25 am

        Fantastic! Mwahahaaaargh! I was ill one. Ithat and my Mum discovered I’d slipped into a parents’ sherry party and then whenever anyone put down a glass then, if it was sweet sherry, I finished it off. So the first time I was drink was aged 4.



  2. jwebster2 January 20, 2015 at 7:51 am Reply

    Waste not, want not 😉 At the age of about seven I had two glasses of sherry at a wedding and promptly went to sleep. Luckily it was the end of the wedding so I went to sleep in the car home

  3. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 13, 2016 at 3:04 pm Reply

    Our oldest, as a toddler, somehow helped himself to the box of Strawberry Daiquiris at his aunt’s garden party and poured himself a drink. The box had a very easy pour lever. He’s 30 now, so it didn’t affect him TOO much. We still tease him about it.

    • jwebster2 April 13, 2016 at 9:56 pm Reply

      Ah but is a mere three decades long enough to be sure about the side effects 😉

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 13, 2016 at 11:57 pm

        That’s another way to look at it. He’s a bit odd, in a nice way, but you never know…

      • jwebster2 April 14, 2016 at 10:11 am

        I wouldn’t reduce to dose of whatever you’re giving him then 😉

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