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Monday, October 29, 2012

Sheep........

I have always liked sheep. They are quiet shy creatures that are a big part of the English countryside. We seldom see sheep here in Michigan. Over there they are everywhere, especially in the north and in Wales. Nah......they are everywhere. SheepYorkshireDalesTrafficJamsm The thing is, in the south they are more likely to be in their fields. When you go up into Yorkshire and the Dales or the Lake district and Scotland, well they are everywhere. They don't care about boundaries, oh no......they are on the roads, on the stone walls everywhere. Pretty often one has to wait while the farmer gets them from one field to another. y-dales In that part of the country you can travel on "gated roads" they are interesting to say the least. They are real roads but they will travel through fields and go through farm yards. One time we ended up in a flock of sheep on top of a hill, wonderful views. Had to keep getting in and out of the car to open and close gates. It was awesome. Certainly memorable. We would wind our way through country lanes with sheep standing on the stone walls, sometimes above us.....it made me feel they may jump down onto the car any minute. Those pictures are hidden away somewhere and in any case too small and faded now to bother putting on the computer. So I rely on others pictures to show my own memories. Photobucket One of the nice things about being on my friends farm during lambing time, we would get to look after the babies abandoned by their mums. Mrs Dryden would have them nestled next to the fire on a blanket. We would teach them to suckle and then take a bottle. You have to dip your fingers in the milk and stick it in the mouth, then when it gets the idea to suck you can stick the nipple in its mouth. Their little gums are hard and they suck quite strong unless they are sick. The little hooves remind us its not a puppy dog and the tight curls are rough as well as soft. lambbo The first time I saw something being born was a lamb. Country life can be sweet.........it can also be harsh. I was also aware of things like Anthrax outbreaks in Scotland and the farms around us dealing with Foot and Mouth disease. Farmers could loose entire herds and the smell of roasting flesh permeated the air. Clouds of smoke coming from farm after farm. We would have to wash our boots in disinfectant going on to the farm and coming back off. Glad that for the most part those days are rare now. ............................................................................................... PS someone had asked about the paint marks on the sheep and this is a reply from someone who reads my blog. I thought it would be nice to show his reply (with his permission) "Living on a sheep farm, I can confirm that to reach my house by car in the middle of the 'secret valley' you have to open and shut two gates to stop the sheep from disappearing. They are free to roam over a large portion of the valley but seem to prefer standing in the middle of the road holding up the traffic :-) The sheep also have coloured marks of spray paint on them and the colour can denote many things - who they belong to, which ones will give birth first, which ones are having twins and, I'm afraid, which ones will be going off to market. Loved your post, so accurate. Our Cotswolds region of England has more sheep than people living in it and even has its own rare breed named after the hills - the Cotswold sheep." Johnson

7 comments:

Michele @ The Nest at Finch Rest said...

Do English sheep farmers spray paint their sheep as they do in Ireland? I will never EVER forget seeing bright blue, green and purple sheep markings, was hilarious to us city folk.

Love these pictures!

NanaDiana said...

Oh- You have hit on one of my favorite animals. I love sheep...always have. My Uncle was a sheep farmer. His hands were like silk from working with all the lanolin that comes from the sheeps coat. I loved watching him shear his flock- xo Diana

Tracey@Breathing English Air said...

They often graze sheep up at Ivinghoe where I walk the dogs, they are contained by a couple of cattle grids in the road, but they wander into the road, and are often in no hurry to move when you drive up to them. And as Michele above asks, these usually have blue marks painted on them!
Of course, if the sheep are there, we walk elsewhere!

bettyl said...

Being from Kansas, I can't imagine sheep running free like that. But, having moved to New Zealand, I find a lot of rural life around me. Love your post.

Cindy Adkins said...

I love this post. I remember when I was about 4 or 5 years old, we lived on a farm for a short time (rented the house on the property) and the owner had sheep. I can still see (and smell...lol) them. I didn't think too much more about them until a couple of years ago, I was visiting Lake Erie and stopped at a "petting farm" and became fascinated with the sheep! One came out of the barn and stood and looked at us and let out the loudest "BAWWW" I've ever heard! It made us laugh so hard! Now I love sheep. Nice post.
Cindy

Magic Love Crow said...

I love this post! When I was in England, the friend I was visiting, took me on the country side and I was so exciting see sheep and cattle in the road. I had my head hanging out the window taking pictures! Loved it! That is so bad that farmers would loose their entire herds! Horrible! Take Care ;o)

JOHNSON, Cotswold Hills, England. said...

Living on a sheep farm, I can confirm that to reach my house by car in the middle of the 'secret valley' you have to open and shut two gates to stop the sheep from disappearing. They are free to roam over a large portion of the valley but seem to prefer standing in the middle of the road holding up the traffic :-)

The sheep also have coloured marks of spray paint on them and the colour can denote many things - who they belong to, which ones will give birth first, which ones are having twins and, I'm afraid, which ones will be going off to market.

Loved your post, so accurate. Our Cotswolds region of England has more sheep than people living in it and even has its own rare breed named after the hills - the Cotswold sheep.

Johnson