Thursday 6 April 2017

Morning break, me with a cup of coffee and a scone sitting in the courtyard,
and the sheep gathering for their mid morning sit down under the oak tree.
Lester, meanwhile, is out fencing.
But it is not perimeter fencing he is doing.... it is tree fencing.
Now this is a task which is an annoyance for him because it is taking time away from other things, plus it is an unexpected extra expense.
It is the lambs which are doing the damage.  They fill up on grass, have a drink of mum's milk, then have an investigation of this and that, and unfortunately this is including nibbles of bark from the fruit trees, and the leaves of any  fruiting shrubs within their reach, so Lester is having to put wire cages round all the trees and shrubs to protect them.
As I say, this is an irritation to us, but on the whole the sheep are doing  grand job with keeping the place tidy, although I did notice that the wild herbs I was intending to harvest this year are also getting eaten, but on balance this is not a bad thing as the pleasure of seeing the flock walk about the farm is greater than the loss of that particular harvest.
We have also noticed that the sheep have become a family rather than a collection of individual animals and will wait for each other when they are trekking from one part of the farm to the other.
So....... they start the morning off by the oak tree, then start moving along the woodland by the pig paddocks, perhaps pausing to graze in the unfenced and uncultivated Veg Plot 4, then moving onwards to the bridge over the river, whereupon they turn left along the fenced perimeter of Veg Plot 3. Turning left again, they continue wandering and grazing along the fenced perimeters of Veg Plots 3, 2, and 1. Through the open gate and into the Chicken Run, which is minus chickens at the moment, so is still green with growing things.
Then out of the Chicken Run and along the path between Veg Plot 1 and the back of the house.
Turning right, along the side of the Half Barn and the Oak tree.
Pause at tree. Have a rest.
Then maybe go round the previous walk again,
or continue along the path between the woodland and the Main Field.
Maybe make a left turn half way to munch the grass growing on the river path, and maybe even to go on to the river beach to see what there is to eat there, and perhaps to have a drink from the river.
Back to the path by the Main Field, continuing along to the Far Field, where  they will eat their fill. If it is a hot day they will spend the afternoon in the shady far corner of the field.
When it gets cooler they will start retracing their steps until they finally end up by the oak tree, waiting for Lester to call them in to their paddock for the night.
If the weather is cool, then they might do the entire route several times during the day.
On the whole, I think that those sheep are having a grand life, one which is full of interest and good food, including morsels of our trees if they can get to them.
But we still keep in mind that they are part of our meat supply, so while we enjoy seeing their activities close up we are mindful of why we keep them.
They are part of the farm, but we do not see them as pets, but respect them for the meat they give us and for that we are glad that we are able to give as good a life as we can to them.
Meanwhile, we continue on with the Farm Shop Project,
..... feel like spinning round in circles for most of the time as we wrestle with what to do first, but we are making headway of sorts, which is why it is good to stop and watch the sheep and lambs going about their daily activities!
Off to see what the day is doing...
Bye for now,


Rhodesia said...

A friend of ours down the road has had to fence all his fruit trees as the deer were doing a lot of damage. Thankfully we are fully fenced and our trees are more established than his.

I think you must have the happiest sheep herd in France, they are very spoilt :-) Take care Diane

Vera said...

DIANE, I agree...our sheep are spoilt, and they will moan a hell of a lot if things are not going their way!

Coco said...

I do not have adorable lambs to threaten new trees. But I do have a DH with a new strimmer and a lot of enthusiasm. Oops.

northsider said...

Your livestock look like the have very good and contented lives Vera.

Vera said...

COCO, I had to laugh at this,...... I remember my DH getting into quite a temper with me when I 'accidentally' strimmed a couple of his fruit trees. I was banned from using it ever after!

N. DAVE, they do, although they still have their moments when they think they are being hard done by!

minwks said...

Hi Vera,
It's great to have the opportunity to observe animals as they go about their daily adventures without being disturbed by ones presence.
Wonderful to have the time and the stillness to enjoy it.
Regards Janine

Kerry said...

We have rabbits nibbling our trees, not shep, so hubby has cut up milk bottles and wrapped them round the delicate saplings trunks. Seems to be working so far.

DUTA said...

A cup of coffee and a scone, sitting and contemplating the sheep. What an idyllic scene! So different from the rat race that is part of urban life!

Vera said...

JANINE, we do enjoy having the sheep close by, although they getting into a lot of mischief at the moment!

KERRY, that's a good idea, and one we would try except that we use our plastic water bottles as pots to put our seedlings in!

DUTA, ....and a life I would not change for the world!