I must confess to wondering, with modest trepidation and not a little anticipation; whether the title of this blog will provoke a twitter storm. Frankly I suspect the answer is a resounding ‘no’ if only because I imagine not enough people will ever see it.
But still, on with the motley; I have used the phrase, ‘bluidy auld witch’ about sheep in the past. But this phrase needs modification.
Firstly we have here a picture of a texel cross
Then we have a texel cross with a mule in the background.
Finally we have a Suffolk cross.
So now you know. These sheep are pictured in our very temporary holding pens. They lamb, often outside or in the building they’re brought into for night. Then they’re whisked across here with their lambs and they stay for as little time as possible, just so we can check they have accepted their lambs and have the milk to feed them. If all is well and the lamb has a full tummy, next day they’ll be back out in the field as a happy family unit.
But when the ewe has just lambed in the field you have to get the mother and lambs home to make sure they’re all right. A lamb that spends the nigh outside without having been licked down properly by mum and without a full stomach is probably dead. So muggings here turns up with quad and trailer. The routine procedure is simple.
Pick up lamb or lambs, place in trailer. Stand out of way so mum can get in trailer. Close gate, fetch happy family home.
And sometimes it actually happens like that.
Mules, especially those who’ve done it before, tend to be OK with it. Every so often you get one that plays silly beggars, but by and large they’re OK.
Suffolks fall into the ‘nice but dim’ category but by and large they’re not difficult to load.
Your white faced texel cross on the other hand can be mad as a bucket of frogs. In agricultural terms, speaking as a cattleman, they could do with crossing with Limi just to calm them down.
When you put the lamb in the trailer you don’t know whether she’ll knock you down trying to get in; get in and knock you down trying to get out, or run fifty yards away and try and find the lamb over there because that’s the idea that is currently ricocheting around the inside of an otherwise largely empty skull.
But by and large, sooner or later, you get them loaded and get them home.
And sometimes when you’re doing this, it isn’t raining. Which is nice.
But then it’s usually raining. So for your comfort, in paperback or ebook we proudly present
As a reviewer commented, “This book charts a year in the life of a Cumbrian sheep farmer. It’s sprinkled with anecdotes and memories of other years. Some parts (especially when featuring Sal, the Border Collie) were so funny as to cause me to have to read them out loud to my husband. It’s very interesting to read these things from the pen of the man who is actually out there doing it – usually in the rain! A very good read.”