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.