Tag Archives: lamb

Moving through at speed

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Lambs always look sweet frolicking on the grass, kicking up their heels and jumping about. What people forget is that the same animal will often try the same tricks when it weights the best part of forty kilos.

Moving a group of weaned lambs can at times be an interesting experience. If they’re all sort of going in the right way together then it’s not a problem. The problem comes when one has somehow got separated. It’ll look for its friends and run toward them. If it’s standing half way up a bank eating hedgerow plants, the run might well start with a jump. Having 35kg of lamb heading for your chest at about 33km/hr because you’re between her and her friends can spoil your whole damned day.

I got a phone call from a neighbour; one of our lambs had got out and was in his yard and garden. So I nipped down on the quad to see what was going on. The lamb, 40kg of superbly toned muscle, had panicked. She didn’t know where she had left her friends so every time the neighbour approached her; he was obviously trying to cut her off from her mates. So she went everywhere at maximum speed, often at low altitude.

Now it you know what you’re doing and you’re fast, rather than trying to stop them in mid air, you can divert their flight. I’ve seen one person catch one in the air and let it spin him so that when he let go the lamb crashed back into the bunch it had just left. To be honest that falls very much into the ‘do not try this one at home’ category.

But anyway when I got there the lamb had spotted a door open into a shed and had gone in there. So with a piece of rope in my pocket I went into the shed and the neighbour held the door shut. Whilst the shed was a bit cluttered, this was to our advantage as she needed open space to accelerate in. As it was when she did try to run, it was from a standing start and she never got more than a foot before she was caught. Then with her feet tied we whisked her back to her mates. Job done.

Actually there’s been a lot of that sort of thing recently. I’ve spent a lot of time fixing fences, sorting sheep, and generally trying to keep on top of the job. I’m not complaining, I’m just trying to think up excuses for why I’ve not kept up with the blog. I’ve been busy.

On top of that I’ve got back into the writing again. I have a project that is almost finished. The year before last I wrote and published ‘The Cartographer’s Apprentice.”


It was something of a change of direction. Rather than a full novel, it’s more a short collection of stories, all about the same protagonist. They’re tales from the career of Benor as a young man.

This slim volume (can you say that about an e-book?) has been well received so I decided I’d repeat the process. The cunning plan was to release three of these a year. But timetables and life being what they are, I’ve written six, the first is due to be published on the 1st August, and the other five are virtually ready, so they can reliably appear at four month intervals.

Also I’ve produced a slim volume of poetry and literary criticism. Lambent Dreams is a cooperation between various people, both real and imaginary. I’ll let you decide for yourself which is which.

There are Poems based on the work of Tallis Steelyard, friend of Benor with commentary by Benor, and an introduction from noted fictional poet Lancet Foredeck. Cover design by Esther van Raamsdonk.


As a reviewer commented, “This short book really amused me. If you’re familiar with the stories of Benor the Cartographer from the author’s Land of the Three Seas then you will have some idea of what to expect. Tallis Steelyard is a poet. He makes his living that way. Lambent Dreams is a collection of some of his works and his friend Benor comments on them to give some historical or geographical insight. Then there is the commentary from fellow poet and critic Lancet Foredeck. These remind me of the notes you get on wines from some of the ‘experts’ and I chuckled along with them. Perhaps funniest of all was the fact that, somehow, the footnotes inserted by one of the typesetters were left in by accident; a much more refreshing view is revealed!

This won’t take you long to read but I guarantee you’ll smile a lot while you do. A little gem!”

Chuffed to bits I was.

Every so often good things happen at random

So there I was. Every couple of hours, if nobody competent is about, I have to walk through the three lambing sheds to check nothing is happening.

Actually they’re pretty slow at the moment, so at some point everything is going to happen at once and we’ll be swamped. But at the moment we’ve got a couple of ewes lambing a day. This isn’t a lot when 400 have to lamb by the start of April.
Anyway I was walking down on shed and a ewe had just dropped a lamb. Great, open a pen gate, whisk her and her lamb into the pen.

Now according to her mark she’d been scanned for a single. So at this point it’s worth trying to ‘wet mother’ another lamb onto her so she’s got two.

So I go into the other shed where the triplets are and borrow a ‘spare lamb’ from one of them.

This is because a ewe has two teats so really can only feed two lambs properly, so a third lamb tends to be fostered onto a ewe who only has one.

So I collect a lamb, who isn’t entirely impressed by the fuss, and a disposable plastic glove. This is because the lamb is about to be drenched in afterbirth and similar so it smells like its new mother.

Everything prepared I walk back into the first shed, and as I’m about to climb into the pen, I notice that the lady in question has just dropped a second lamb and is contentedly licking that one down as well.

So the ‘spare lamb’ goes back to mum for a little while and I get on with the rest of the day, whistling cheerfully.

It’s funny how such little things do make your day isn’t it.

Like today I got an email from a chap who’d bought Justice 4.1


It read

“You just ruined a day’s work for me. I couldn’t put it down! Please press on with the series – I can’t wait!

My first impression was that it was rather a slim volume, the size would have been normal 30 years back, but 450 pages seems to be the average now. However, I do not feel cheated. The insights into future farming and insurance are breath-taking. I do hope your own insurers don’t get a copy…”

Chuffed to bits I was


Anyway the whole series is now out