Sunday, 5 December 2010


It was a carry on trying to round up and separate the sheep to bring them in.

When the temperature plummeted, I felt the sheep would fare  better in an open sided shed (where some of the straw is stored). They would be easier to feed and lug water to, easier to count and check.

I only have a small flock and am building it up but it is tricky keeping the ones which you want to breed apart from the ones which are this year's lambs. The sheep don't care and just want to huddle or run away in the opposite direction.
So enter Pie! My first dog, a collie puppy who is only nine weeks old. He looks like someone splattered his coat with ink but he is a smart little thing and I think we will work well together.

Husband and I moved the females into their own pen first and things were going swimmingly until the children (all three of them) decided to fuss over the puppy and let him sniff about. The sheep stopped stock still when they saw this tiny fat black and white blob then scattered and ran back into the field. Pie was more interested in sniffing out Bessie the senior farm cat and ruining her day.
The children reluctantly removed the dog and they all skulked off leaving my husband and I to do the chasing.
Now, my husband is a shrewd character and later, I noticed that he elected to stand by the gate whilst muggins, a plump 50 year old, bedecked in a thousand layers of clothing, neatly finished off with a dung brown duffle coat and two hats, ran through over the wellie deep snow to round up the sheep.

The sheep were not having any of it and I suspect they had a laff whilst I had palpitations and started to remove hats and scarf.
Husband camly resorted to plan B, the food and sex lure.....

He shook the feed bag and released the tup (who curled his top lip up, causing hysterics in our offspring). The tup sniffed the air for a nanosecond and charged at the lady sheep - I jumped out of the way; this was Nature at it's rawest- and in three seconds flat, sheep and slavering tup were all penned.
My husband never even broke sweat.
I, however, had. Broken sweat and crumpled spirit. Plus my good woolly hat was all trampled on.

A slight tussle ensued to juggle the correct sheep with the correct tup and then all was well. For them anyway, I got my breath back about five hours later after revival with chocolate and a hot cup of tea.

The sheep are Wensleydales, famed for their long lusterous wool and canny nature <cough>.
They are good lambers, good mothers and good meat sheep (although I breed them for their wool). They are enormous sheep and can pack away an awful lot of food so you are kept fit humphing bags of feed and bales of hay to them.

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