Taking life as you find it.


There was once a shepherd who dropped his Bible while he was mending a gap in a hedge. A couple of days later, a sheep walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth. The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes. He took the precious book out of the sheep’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

“Not really,” said the sheep. “Your name is written inside the cover.”


It has to be confessed that my experience of sheep is that their level of literacy is so low they struggle to read the writing on the wall.

On the other hand, it’s interesting watching sheep as they go through the year. If you see them in September, they don’t really want anything to do you with you. There’s plenty of grass, you’re a damned nuisance and the dog is a menace.

As November creeps in, the ewes start pricking up their ears as the quad approaches, and if they see you with a bag or a bucket they will follow, cautiously and speculatively.

Oh yes and the dog is still a menace.

By the time we get to Christmas, the minute you fire up the quad, every sheep within earshot starts bleating and they run after you to be first to the feed you’re putting down.

The dog is no longer a menace, merely a speed bump if she gets between the ewes and the feed.

Then we have lambing. Appear in a field with a bag, bucket or quad and you will be mobbed. Sheep are at their most domesticated, you might even think that they regarded humanity as a good and useful thing.

But the dog is a menace, only now “she’s a menace that will have to be dealt with firmly if she comes any closer to my lambs.” Sal tends to watch from a distance when I’m feeding ewes and lambs, on the grounds that it’s easier on her nerves.

Then as spring drifts into summer and feed is slowly cut back, the sheep revert to apathy and by September, you’re back to being a damned nuisance again.

Lambs on the other hand don’t have the memories to dwell on; they’re more creatures of the immediate present. But even they slowly acquire experience. The two lambs born in early January, (photo here https://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/2018/01/07/and-so-it-begins/ )

were kept inside with their mum far longer than usual, mainly because the weather was so miserable and wet. Finally there was some reasonable weather and they and mum were put outside.

Then we had the beast from the east nonsense. We had Siberian winds for a week and it was colder than charity. The two young lambs, with a good mum, full tummies and wearing beautiful lamb’s wool onesies were happy as Larry. We had no real snow to worry about and they were just fine with sub-zero temperatures and biting winds.

Anyway now that other ewes are lambing, these two lambs and their mum have been brought back to join the others. (You can see the two bigger lambs with their backs to the camera next to ewe with a 5 on her.)
The young lambs were put out on Sunday, because it was a nice afternoon. Monday on the other hand was miserable. In the field were the ewes and lambs are living at the moment there is a calf creep feeder. Think of it as a ‘shed’ with a low roof so a calf can go inside and eat cake, but mum cannot follow. One of the ewes and her lambs were sitting under the roof watching the rain. Finally the ewe decides the rain had slackened and she was hungry so she sets off across the field to graze. One lamb followed her. The other waited, realised it was being abandoned, dashed out into the rain, shuddered, dashed back inside again, and stood there in an agony of indecision until it finally plucked up the courage to run out and join mum.

At the same time, I saw one of our two January born lambs sprawled out on the grass, basking in the warmth of the rain; when you’ve seen the beast from the east, a bit of drizzle isn’t worth bothering about.


Ask Sal about it, she knows the job from the inside!



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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27 thoughts on “Taking life as you find it.

  1. Stevie Turner March 13, 2018 at 11:18 am Reply

    Spoken from true experience! I on the other hand have only the experience of visiting a pet farm with my sons and feeding lambs with a bottle, which I found delightful by the way…

    • jwebster2 March 13, 2018 at 11:54 am Reply

      Oh it is, even when it’s just another job to be done, it can be fun. And how often do you see such unreserved enthusiasm? 🙂

  2. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt March 13, 2018 at 11:56 am Reply

    I think their experience with weather and farmers is like mine with doctors: stuck in a codependent relationship. And annoyed by it when things are going well; wishing it would come around when fearful.

    • jwebster2 March 13, 2018 at 12:36 pm Reply

      And secure in the knowledge that nothing we say or do will change a thing?

  3. Sue Vincent March 13, 2018 at 8:41 pm Reply

    merely a speed bump … I laughed so much at that, my poor dog ran for cover… 😀

    • jwebster2 March 13, 2018 at 9:29 pm Reply

      It might have been reading over your shoulder 😉

      • Sue Vincent March 13, 2018 at 11:11 pm

        True… I’m sure some of Sal’s exploits would interest her, as mine is not a working girl, whatever she may try and tell me about herding starlings 😉

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2018 at 6:48 am

        I’ve noticed that a lot of dogs do seem to have this underlying belief that birds ought to be herded

      • Sue Vincent March 14, 2018 at 7:04 am

        Especially starlings and jackdaws. Oddly, she never tries it with the village peacocks 😉

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2018 at 8:01 am

        round here, seagulls are often the target of choice 🙂

      • Sue Vincent March 14, 2018 at 1:20 pm

        We don’t get many of those down here 😦

      • jwebster2 March 14, 2018 at 10:55 pm

        With a good westerly all ours have Irish accents as they’re blown in by the prevailing wind 🙂

      • Sue Vincent March 15, 2018 at 6:17 am

        Ani would feel right at home with her ancestry.

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2018 at 7:10 am

        a good dog feels at home where it can get the delicate aroma of something decaying delightfully 😉

      • Sue Vincent March 15, 2018 at 7:33 am

        That would be why she feels at home with me then 😉

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2018 at 1:58 pm

        High praise from your dog 🙂

  4. patriciaruthsusan March 14, 2018 at 1:14 pm Reply

    Some people seem to think all animals of a certain type are the same. I’ve found with dogs and cats each one has its own personality. I now see other animals are like that also. 🙂 — Suzanne

    • jwebster2 March 14, 2018 at 10:58 pm Reply

      yes everybody is different 🙂

    • oldhenwife March 15, 2018 at 12:48 pm Reply

      My hens have different personalities, people don’t believe me until they see it. Hens are not daft either.

      • jwebster2 March 15, 2018 at 1:59 pm

        Indeed the reason we think they’re daft is that they have different priorities to us. By that definition they’re entitled to think that we’re daft 🙂

  5. patriciaruthsusan March 15, 2018 at 4:01 am Reply


  6. oldhenwife March 15, 2018 at 2:06 pm Reply

    Most of us are daft. All of us on this site are or we’d be doing something sensible … except that it’s raining. As usual.

  7. […] Reblogged from Jim Webster: […]

    • jwebster2 March 17, 2018 at 5:22 pm Reply

      glad you liked it madam 🙂

  8. Marilyn Armstrong March 18, 2018 at 1:02 am Reply

    Merely a speed bump. Oh how the sheepdog hath lost her fervor!

    • jwebster2 March 18, 2018 at 7:51 am Reply

      some days you’re the pigeon, some days you’re the statue 🙂

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