Facing the wrong way

P00547 P24_01

It’s been a day of small surprises so far. I was on the quad taking feed to sheep. Because sheep will follow the quad and trailer, I led them over the hill into part of the field out of sight of sheep in other fields. This is because sheep in one field will occasionally crash through the hedge to get to the food that you are giving to another lot. Hence there is an art to working out just which group to feed first and where.

Anyway on the way back to the road, with an empty trailer I just opened the quad up a bit and discovered that Sal can run at 28mph for a couple of hundred yards and keep up with the quad. It’s a better turn of speed than I could manage.

Anyway the last bunch of sheep I had to feed this morning was the ewes who’ve been turned out with their lambs. I tend not to take Sal with me when I do these. When the lambs are very young, the ewes can be very protective and spend time glaring at the dog and stamping a front foot aggressively at her rather than coming to get the feed.

So with just me and two buckets of feed I went into the field. Immediately those ewes who saw me headed in my direction. I put the feed down in small heaps along the hedge line as I walked and the ewes dived in and started eating.

Now there is a minor problem here. Because there was no dog and hence no threat, the ladies weren’t too worried for their lambs. They just abandoned them and ran for the feed, on the grounds that the first there is best fed. The lambs, who haven’t been outside very long, stood aghast as mum disappeared. Then they pulled themselves together and ran after her, bleating.

I made it to the gate and there met a chap who was walking his dog. He asked why there was so much noise coming from the field. I explained that the lambs recognise their mother by her face and voice as well as by her scent. So when faced by a row of backsides they were a bit lost and wasn’t sure which one was theirs.

He thought briefly and commented, “I doubt I could recognise my wife’s in a line up either.”



What do I know? Speak to an expert on these matters

The fourth of these collections of anecdotes, rants, pious maunderings and general observations on life. Yes we have dogs, quads, sheep and cattle, but in this one we follow the ‘lambing year.’ It starts with ewes being put to the tup in late autumn and finishes in summer with the last of the laggards lambing.
But as well as this we have endless rain, as well as sleeping in a manger. Be brave and you’ll meet young ladies in high heeled cowboy boots, Sir John Moore of Corunna, brassieres for cows, and, incidentally, David Essex.

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.”

Tagged: , , ,

20 thoughts on “Facing the wrong way

  1. Mick Canning March 14, 2017 at 11:10 am Reply

    I feel it would be quite interesting to see that line-up.

    • jwebster2 March 14, 2017 at 12:25 pm Reply

      It brings to mind a toddler I once saw who was trying to work out who was mum when faced with a huddle of ladies talking to each other, all wearing denim 🙂

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 14, 2017 at 12:49 pm Reply

    The gentleman should trust himself more. Humans recognize other humans by a whole bunch of things having to do with posture, shape, bulk, and recognizable clothing. I can pick out my youngest from a throng of people leaving the train station by her gait. Some things are just familiar. The lambs will learn.

    • jwebster2 March 14, 2017 at 1:18 pm Reply

      Lambs do learn, but some of them were only turned out with mum yesterday. Today was the first time it had happened and they probably panicked a bit 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 14, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        Poor babies – mum will find them, or Jim will sort out the mums. A little panic will make them pay more attention, maybe.

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2017 at 5:16 pm

        If the past is any guide, the lambs will grow, start wandering and it’ll be Mum frantically looking for them 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 14, 2017 at 5:26 pm

        ‘Twas always so. Mother/offspring – never an easy relationship.

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2017 at 5:30 pm

        yes it keeps both parties on their toes 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 14, 2017 at 6:11 pm

        Moms never get enough credit. Most of it is pretty thankless – diapers, anyone? – and the recipient of the work does NOT want to be reminded he needed it when he grows up (the daughters sometimes pay it forward).

        Feeling a little grumpy – can’t write – and one of the offspring needed something which took enough energy and interactions that there will be no more brain cell activity today for writing.

        It is what it is – she would have waited, but her father slogged through here in boots, demanding information so he could help her. I’m grateful he did, for her sake. But I’m feeling trampled, and the writing hasn’t been working, and today, with the snow confining us at home, I was set to at least try as hard as I can. No such luck.

        Tiny, tiny problems – but MY problems.

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2017 at 10:00 pm

        I had the joy of cleaning out a sewage pipe this morning, because somebody forgot we weren’t mains sewage and flushed paper that doesn’t dissolve, so if we ever wanted to use a toilet or shower again, a blockage had to be found and eliminated. Literally I got the dirty end of the stick 🙂
        And as you say, no writing

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 14, 2017 at 10:57 pm

        Critical job, that, maintaining the free flow of sewage before it backs up. My sympathies.

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2017 at 6:12 am

        It’s not a nice job but at times it can be more satisfying than endless book promotion 🙂

  3. anisioluiz2008 March 14, 2017 at 1:41 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on O LADO ESCURO DA LUA.

  4. Maria Matthews March 15, 2017 at 8:36 pm Reply

    Loved his comment.

    • jwebster2 March 15, 2017 at 10:31 pm Reply

      Yes his comment made my morning and I just had to share it 🙂

  5. Kate McClelland March 16, 2017 at 5:23 pm Reply

    Reblogged this on Kate McClelland and commented:

    • jwebster2 March 16, 2017 at 5:43 pm Reply

      complicated business life isn’t it 🙂

      • Kate McClelland March 17, 2017 at 12:24 am

        hahaha! Indeed it is, but it would be a lot more boring if it wasn’t :0)

      • jwebster2 March 17, 2017 at 6:50 am

        I bet you’ll never look at a bunch of mums at the school gate, gossiping and playing on their phones, in quite the same way again 🙂

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: