Monday 26 April 2010

And yes! They got here!

Timid they stood, surveying us with watchful eyes. They were the first to arrive: two mums, three youngsters. 

It had been a fretful morning. Both Hubs and myself were both aware of the enormity of this step. Of bringing bigger animals onto Labartere. Of the responsibility of care. Of the step into being a proper mini-farm.

And then the first ones arrived. We watched them unloaded. Watched them as they tried to go back into the trailer, asking 'Take us home, please?' Even Mr T was moved, I think, by their requests. 

And this is the trailer they were shipped in. Now in the proud ownership of Hubs/Flock Owner. Offered by Mr T to Hubs for 200 euros. Knocked down to 50. A good deal, seeing as how it is ancient and in need of lights and number plate, and according to Mr T, is 'Illegal'. Funny that, seeing as how he is a retired member of the local Gendarmerie! And Hubs is so enthused over his 'new' trailer, and full of plans to 'do it up'. Bless. Helped him get over the fright of his foot, which now has a hole it it. A small hole. But a hurty hole. Made by a nail which wanted to become an attachment to his foot, but which Hubs promptly yanked out. 

 And the girls found the Sheep House, temporarily covered in a tarpaulin, and had a quick nap before trundling out into the Paddock and having a munch. 

This is half of the flock. And as they arrived our previous concerns about taking on the responsibility of having a flock evaporated. Because it felt right that they be here. And so while Hubs sallied forth with Mr T to get the rest, including the male who proved reluctant to go into the trailer him being the last one to be loaded and him thinking "At long last I am free of all those females and I can have a rest and stop making babies, and I can retire". Chased round Mr T's garden he was, by Mr T and Hubs. All of them got huffed and puffed out. But Mr Sheep was loaded. Red faced he arrived. Hope he manages to recover. Bless. 


The other Mr T, the one who is helping us with the Sheep House and fencing, well his son made an artistic contribution to the Sheep Project, and out by the front gates of the Paddock put '2010' in the wet cement. I felt very moved when I saw it. Felt as if we were stamping our own history on this place.

And so off to bed. Checking on the sheep, and wanting to tuck them up but couldn't because we don't have a proper barn to bed them in for the night. But we do have a partially finished Sheep House, only they seemed to prefer clustering up by the lane for some reason. Standing in the moonlight they were. But quietly. Probably pondering on their new home. Good food. Plenty of lovely grass, flowers, and other meadow plants to eat. Can't complain about that. Accommodation not so good. Will do. But not great. Noisy, though. Not sure about those other creatures. Especially that little one.(Gus) The one that keeps racing up and down the other side of the fence. Don't like him. The other one is OK, the bigger one.(Bools) He doesn't make a noise. But that little one. Not good. The two legged creatures look possibly OK. Will wait judgement on them, and see if they are going to increase our food table and be kind. (Hubs and me)

Things I have learned: That 'learning curves' are great for keeping one on one's toes! That the smell of sheep is lovely: all sweet and animally. That it feels calm having animals. That it stops one from having time to be bored.

Helpful Hint: If one has a minor accident to one's finger when cutting a loaf of newly made bread with a newly sharpened knife, it might be useful to wrap said digit in a plaster. However, since hands are made to do things, like washing up, cooking, planting seeds, cutting dock weeds, etc, the plaster may become soaked, sticky, messy, and gungy.
To stop this from happening, why not cut the finger off a washing-up glove, and place that over the plastered digit. Sort of like a condom. 

By the way: here is a photo of that Humungous Insect I mentioned in the last blog. Doesn't look so ferocious here because it is busy wriggling about on its back, but when it has it's
wings out it becomes double in size. Anyway, it was rescued.

And now I am off into my day. Have just checked on the flock, and some of them seem to have taken up residence in the Sheep House. Hopefully the rest of them are in the lower part of the Paddock and not out on the lane somewhere, or carried off by one of those creatures I mentioned in the previous blog, or the crow which perched on the fence and watched the new arrivals with intense interest yesterday. 

Au revoir from Labartere.....


Barry said...

Congratulations on your new flock. I'm sure they will come to love their new home.

French Fancy... said...

Oh I do wish you the best of luck with your lovely new additions. My closest friend here (the diet buddy) has a flock and she is always regaling me with sheep and lamb tales. I look forward to hearing yours.

Good luck and ouch about the nail

Ken Devine said...

Well done Vera, they look brilliant! You are a proper outfit now.

Vera said...

Barry, I hope they do. Loved your post today about senses.

FF, thanks. Nice to know someone else has a flock too, and also that you have a close friend here. I am still waiting to meet someone who will fill that criteria for me.

Ken, we are indeed a 'proper outfit', although only a small one!

Roz said...

I can't believe how excited I am on your behalf!! They look lovely and wonderful additions to the smallholding!
Congratulations - I will rush off and raise a glass of wine to you and your flock!!

Vera said...

Cheers, Roz! We celebrated with fruit juice not having anything stronger in the cupboard, but Hubs said we would have lunch out at Chez Sylvie's sometime this week as a late birthday treat for me, a belated wedding anniversary celebration for both of us, and a treat for taking this big step forward. Hope you enjoyed your wine!

DUTA said...

Congrats and Good Luck!
The sheep look lovely! That's a big, significant day for you and your hubby.
Thanks for the tip about the glove finger.

Tommo said...

Sounds like you're having baaaaaags of fun down there in Labaaaaartere.

Vera said...

Duta:) Glad the glove finger tip was of help, Duta! Always like to pass on Helpful Hints. And yes indeed, it was a significant day in many ways, and it is lovely to have them here.

Tommo:) Oh very good comment - and very funny!

The Accidental Author said...

Congratulations on the new arrivals! We're toying with the idea of sheep here too but there is no much paperwork. Is it the same in France? Licences, movement records, etc?

The Accidental Author said...

Oh, and what will you do with your sheep? Are they pets or for slaughter?

Vera said...

Hi Previously (Lost). We bought the sheep from a retired police officer, and there wasn't any forms to fill in, and he also drove the sheep here in a small trailer which was illegal because he told us it was. He took the back roads, which everyone here does, leaving the main roads for the patrolling police who we rarely see anyway. But we will register them, just in case we want to sell any of the sheep on, although we are in no hurry to do so. Also, if you are going to keep the sheep for your own use, and the flock is relatively small, then no one says anything. It is if you go on a commercial scale that you probably would have to conform to the paperwork.

They are not pets, but are here to give life to the smallholding, and will eventually be recycled into the freezer. We will be despatching them here on the farm, so they are not upset by having to travel to an abattoir. Hubs will do the necessary, and hand the end results over to me. But I will be present all the way through, to keep the animal calm until its demise. That is important for us: not to regard the animals as inanimate objects, but to respect the fact that they are living creatures as well.

Thanks for responding. You have reminded me of our ethics.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed your story.. and the photos, too! Lovely flock.