Fear and Greed


Feeding sheep this morning and I took some tub to a dozen gimmers (ewe lambs kept for breeding; these are nearly a year old). They had been chewing some grass off elsewhere but are now closer to home. I walked in with the bucket, shouted to them and rattled the bucket.

They looked up, saw the bucket and came towards me. Then they saw Sal and stopped abruptly. Sal watched them, they watched Sal. Nobody moved. The gimmers drifted forward a little. Sal continued to watch so the gimmers stopped and watched her. Then Sal shrugged and drifted off to follow a scent trail that interested her. With this the gimmers made their way towards the feed which I’d now put into their troughs.

But there were only eight of them, where had the other four got to? I could hear bleating from over the crest of the hill, and suddenly the other four appeared, saw their friends eating and hurtled towards us. Then they noticed Sal. Separated from their ‘flock’ they just accelerated. Sal who has had to deal with this situation before made damned sure she wasn’t between the sheep and their feed.

It did strike me that with her experience of the balance between greed and fear Sal ought to be producing expensive training courses for investment managers and similar. As it is I suspect that she’s too wise to get caught up in the rat race. Growing ridiculously rich isn’t something that seems to appeal to the Border Collie.

Anyway we went to look at the wintering hoggs. We got there and one had got its head caught in the netting. They’re Swaledales so are horned sheep. Sal shot through the gate to deal with the hogg. I parked the quad and followed her. The problem is that in the presence of Sal the hogg can just keep charging forwards which achieves nothing. (Except perhaps to break the fence posts!)

Just as I was shouting, “Sit down Sal“,  to ensure this didn’t happen, she got in front of the hogg which went backwards, unentangled itself and ran off. Sal gave me a look of dog who has absolute confidence in her abilities. She has no interest at all in selling out and training investment managers. She passed the test, she will diminish, and go into the West, and remain Sal.


Oh and more of Sal’s antics appear in


Now available in paperback
As a reviewer commented, “This is the third collection of farmer Jim Webster’s anecdotes about his sheep, cattle and dogs. This one had added information on the Lake District’s World Heritage status. This largely depends upon the work of around 200 small family farms. Small may not always be beautiful but it can be jolly important. If you want to know the different skills needed by a sheep dog and a cow dog, or to hear tales of some of the old time travelling sales persons – read on! This is real life, Jim, but not as I know it.”


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23 thoughts on “Fear and Greed

  1. Sue Vincent February 3, 2018 at 12:35 pm Reply

    Sensible animal 🙂

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt February 3, 2018 at 12:49 pm Reply

    Nice to have a job, know your job, and want nothing else but to be allowed to DO your job.

    • jwebster2 February 3, 2018 at 1:05 pm Reply

      Yes, the wisdom of medium sized dogs 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt February 3, 2018 at 1:38 pm

        With humans, the most successful, on average, are the ones who are more intelligent than average but not super-smart: 120-130 IQ. They cando what everyone else does, better, and aren’t smart enough to want ‘more’ – and get distracted. Sal is in that group.

  3. M T McGuire February 3, 2018 at 9:15 pm Reply

    love it. Sal is clearly very smart.

    • jwebster2 February 3, 2018 at 9:29 pm Reply

      Too smart to waste on the financial sector 🙂
      Although we’ve discovered she does have a love of pizza, but more especially of sausage rolls.
      Somebody gave us some for her, clearing up bits and bobs after a party of sorts.
      Sal is very partial to a warm sausage roll 🙂

      • M T McGuire February 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

        mwahhahaaargh she sounds like my son. 🙂

      • jwebster2 February 3, 2018 at 10:05 pm


  4. jenanita01 February 4, 2018 at 9:52 am Reply

    I am so envious of anyone who has a good dog for a friend!

    • jwebster2 February 4, 2018 at 10:08 am Reply

      Yes, it is one of life’s privileges 🙂

  5. rootsandroutes2012 February 6, 2018 at 5:14 pm Reply

    Well there’s a party of sorts coming our way on Sunday 25th – she may be up for a beanfeast!

    • jwebster2 February 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm Reply

      she is doubtless living in hope 🙂

  6. kirizar February 11, 2018 at 4:52 pm Reply

    So…Hoggs are actually sheep? Is this one of those British insistence moments, like driving on the left hand side of the road?

    • jwebster2 February 11, 2018 at 4:58 pm Reply

      The word hog for pig isn’t much used in English. It’s more used in ‘road hog’ which we might have taken from American anyway. Apparently it may derive from Welsh into Old English
      Hogg is perhaps short for Hogget and is probably restricted in use to people who work with sheep, it’s rarely used by the population at large. However Hogg is a surname, just not a common one 🙂

      • kirizar February 11, 2018 at 5:00 pm

        My only previous experience with the word is from playing Words With Friends. To me, HOGG is an excellent way to dump excess Gs in the game.

      • jwebster2 February 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm

        remember English is what you get when you slam several languages together at high speed and see what sticks 🙂

      • kirizar February 11, 2018 at 5:04 pm

        And American English is what happens when you throw that cobbled together, super collider mess across a pond.

      • jwebster2 February 11, 2018 at 5:19 pm


      • rootsandroutes2012 February 12, 2018 at 5:27 am

        I know at least a couple of Barrovian Hoggs.

      • jwebster2 February 12, 2018 at 7:20 am

        metaphorically or actually?
        There used to be a large family of that name up in the north of Cumbria

      • rootsandroutes2012 February 12, 2018 at 7:40 am

        Ken Hogg used to be caretaker at Trinity CC and his wife Ruth is one of our local organists. I don’t know where their roots are, though.

      • jwebster2 February 12, 2018 at 1:22 pm

        I thought I’d come across some locally!

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