Sunday, 1 March 2015

A bit of shepherding....

Been shepherding the flock today, no photos though because I have lost the battery charger for my camera having put it somewhere safe last time I used it so this wouldn't happen. Anyway, the sheep can't get on to the main field because of the lake of water which is sitting  across the field entrances,  (geese still loving the water though, ....this is the best time of the year for them) and the side field across the lane is eaten down to almost nothingness,  and because they moan about having to stay in their barn and paddock and eat hay we thought it a good idea to see if they would behave themselves on the back field where the veg plots and pig pens are. They did. Lots of grass on the paths, lots of nibbles along the fence line. They were happy sheep, 'proper grass', wow! you could see the pleasure on their faces.

But we don't have the drive fenced at the moment, so they could, if they have a mind, wander out onto the lane and from there across to the farmer's field opposite which has three inch high oil seed rape growing. So we had to shepherd the flock away from the driveway. It was quite a pleasant occupation. Two chairs, a bit of sunshine, a cup of tea and a slice of cake, me and Lester, chatting away about this and that while watching our sheep wander round. We were reminded of why we love doing what we do, which can be forgotten sometimes, especially during the wetness of this time of year.

So we were thinking about where to put the poly tunnel when we get one, hopefully soon but not this year because we need to focus on the house and getting the chickens and geese out of the courtyard, which means building a proper house for them. Plus we need to finish the fencing off out in the fields, and Lester has loads of gates to make so that we can move the sheep and cows from field section to field section rather than letting them roam over the entire field areas, which is encouraging the animals to be selective about what patches of grass they eat, leaving some patches of grass to grow rough. We think that this will be the last year of putting the smallholding infrastructure in, although the hay bales will be needing a special covered area eventually, but that will be later on, it is not a priority at the moment. Lester also wants to build a low flood barrier to keep the water further away from the house when the river floods. (It is a strange thing but the river never used to flood anywhere near as much before we came here, and certainly not several times every year!)  Anyway, the poly will be a sort of gift to ourselves and will signal the end of the infrastructure work, and we look forward to pottering in it, especially in the not so nice weather.

It was nice being shepherds, watching our flock, feeling the tensions melt away, getting back in touch with being smallholders. We only kept the sheep out for a couple of hours though as we had other things to be getting on with, but they went back into their paddock very easily, and were quite affable about eating hay for the rest of the day, with not a moan coming from them unless it was the ewes calling their lambs to them.

It was a nice day, even though rain set in at lunchtime. The river remains heavily in flood but is stable in its height. The sheep are happy because they got to eat some decent grass. The cows need to get outside to stretch their legs because they are getting bored, so we think we might take them out for a walk tomorrow.

Off to have a search for that battery charger, ....so bye for now.

Vx

14 comments:

rusty duck said...

What a lovely image.. a picnic out by the driveway, sitting watching the sheep. I could get used to that!

Niall & Antoinette said...

Glad to hear your river isn't breaking through. Think of you when we watch the meteo on the French news of an evening and it mentions your region.

Even on our ridge we have little lakes in the dips because of all the rain [our ground is a layer of clay on calcaire]

Mizumatte said...

hope you found your batterycharger.I'm glad you had a good moment today. take care Jaana

Rhodesia said...

I don't know about your area, but we have had almost double the amount of rain this year to what we normally have. A good reason for flooding if you have the same. We record everything, and this year is way more than anything we have had since we bought in 2005!!

Better get the water wings out! Keep dry Diane

Ohiofarmgirl said...

hope you find your charger. i'm absolutely pea green with even over your back door. i would LOVE to be able to scoot out and check the animals without having to go outside. we've always thought it so barbaric when folks, in the old days, lived with their animals... but a shepherd can see the wisdom of it. your geese look like they are loving the ponds. ours are mad they all need some unfrozen water for a bath. *glares at snow*

Kerry said...

You are busy bees with your animals. I haven't even begun to think about having yet but hopefully soon x

northsider dave said...

Poly-tunnels are great for pottering about on wet days and starting off the growing season when it's still too cold to plant or sow outside Vera.

Vera said...

Jessica, so could we! It was a calming and peaceful experience.

Niall & Antoinette, so you must have had quite a bit of rain as well. Ah well, soon we shall be thinking about having to use the hosepipes again because the ground is too dry!

Jaana, no, battery charger not found so have ordered another one from Amazon..it is quite frustrating not being able to take photos to put on the blog!

Diane, the rain has not been so bad here as it was last year, when it did not stop raining for weeks, with no sunny patches in between to give us a break from the wet. Drove us all nuts, animals included! The river is coping alright at the moment, thank goodness.

OhioFarmGirl, no, charger still not found! The back door has proved to be well worth the money we spent on having it done. The sheep and pigs are still away from the house, but we can get to the cows without going outside, and I have less mud in the house because the dogs walk over a straw lined passageway to get indoors. Yes, our geese are lucky in that our 'lakes' are not frozen! Hope your snow goes away soon.

Kerry, animals are the best thing to make a place come alive, although they do need a lot of looking after, especially the bigger animals, but worth it.

Vera said...

Northsider Dave, you have the same view as us about a polytunnel as well, which is somewhere to potter when the weather is horrid!

Tim said...

"...having put it somewhere safe last time I used it so this wouldn't happen"....
you too, huh!!

Glad the sheepz gave you some thinking time...
we all need that for project planning and summing up...
and you have a lot of achievements to reflect on!

For us, this is the parrot-tunnel year...
the potager is bedded out and the pumpkins are back on bed number one this year...
but we desperately need somewhere with more light for the seedlings...
they get far too leggy on the windowsills.

As for the battery charger... we always blame the cat... and she then puts it back!!

the Goodwife said...

That sounds like a simply fantastic way to spend some time! I've always, ALWAYS wanted to live in a house with the goat barn attached....that way I can go spend time with my girls in any weather and any time I want to! It would also make all those trips to the barn during kidding season much easier! Stay dry!!

Tim said...

Vera, your comment on kev's blog about not having room for willow...
I agree with him, you have!
Use it to give sun-shelter to your livestock... and use it to dry out the boggiest bits... it does that very well!

suplemen pemutih wajah said...

great post..
thanks for sharing

Vera said...

Tim, no cat to blame, but have a new battery charger (thanks Amazon!) Sod's law says the 'lost' battery charger will now be found!

The Goodwife, being able to feed and milk our two cows without having to go outside has been a real help for my husband, although he still gets soaked when feeding the sheep and pigs!

Tim, thanks for letting me know about willow. We shall be putting some in, but not this year.