I know, I know. If I start putting pictures of flowers on the blog people will be expecting Latin names and all sorts.
Me, I’ve a stockman, or even more precisely a cowman. So looking at these flowers from a bovine perspective, they should perhaps be called, ‘piquant, with a slight peppery aftertaste’ or something similar.
But yes, all along the hedges the snowdrops are well out and the daffodils are heavy in bud and spring’s about to burst upon us.
And the Met Office is making dire predictions along the lines that ‘Winter is coming’ and by this time next week travel in the UK will be impossible for anybody who cannot hitch their huskies to a dog sled. As an aside I cannot somehow envisage Border Collies taking well to the role of a sledge dog. But if you ever have your sled pulled by sheep I know no better dog to ensure things keep moving briskly and in the right direction.
Well it’s still February and I’ve known March be grim before.
And of course, in theory, on the First of March the ewes should start lambing. As it is, everything is ready for them. All the pens are washed out, disinfected and bedded, straw is in place ready for further bedding round, and in theory everything is ready.
So every morning when I feed our expectant mothers I try to see if there’s anybody looking particularly close to lambing. To be honest this is all a bit hit and miss. I’m the one putting feed out for them; so my view of the ewes is the front end moving towards me at speed as part of a solid phalanx of other equally peckish sheep.
Now it may be possible, if you reach a certain level of shepherding, to be able to tell how far off giving birth a ewe is by the hang of her lugs or the bags under her eyes, but between ourselves I suspect it isn’t. So instead when they’re eating, I circle the group once on the quad just to see if I notice anything, and then go and tour the rest of the fields they’re in to make sure nobody has slunk off on her own to lamb in a snug corner somewhere.
But anyway, early next week we’ll fetch the ewes in and go through them. Those who look like they’ll be lambing first will stay inside then until they’ve lambed. (Especially if the weather does get bad.) Those who’re obviously furthest from lambing will go back outside. They’ve got shelter, silage and feed and they’ll be OK there unless we have the sort of snow this area hasn’t seen since 1947.
Personally I think snow looks wonderful in photographs. But between ourselves I prefer water in a liquid state.
Ask yourself, does she look like a potential sledge dog to you?
As one of the reviewers commented, “Another great collection of bite-sized tales from the author’s farming life. (The first one being ‘Sometimes I dit’s and thinks’)
A gentle sharing of observations from a sheep farmer (and his collie)
More wry observations of animals and humans!”