Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Romance is in the air at the Sparrowholding...

Mungo the Magnificent - ready for action
November may be a dull, grey, tedious month for most of us, but if you’re a tup (the Scottish word for a daddy sheep), it’s the best month of the year, as it’s the time you are unleashed on those lovely woolly ladies you’ve been ogling through the fence for the past 10 months!

So it was that on the 15th November, our amorous ram was shown an open gate and let loose in the hill paddock. At first he didn’t notice his wannabe wives perched on the horizon. But it didn’t take him long, and soon he was galloping uphill – no doubt all the while trying to remember the chat-up lines that had worked best for him last year...

Romeo running towards his Juliets
Meanwhile, this year’s lambs were being gathered together and issued with ear tags (the form of ID which the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food insists on to ensure full traceability of all livestock – Fathorse even has her own passport, believe it or not!). A kind neighbour, who was attending the Michaelmas Lamb Sale at Caledonian Market in Stirling, stopped en passant to pick our lambs up and they were off. 

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And suddenly the lamb paddock was almost empty...
 However, three of this year's lambs stayed put – the ones we'd chosen to be our replacement ewe lambs. They’re a gorgeous wee trio, and we’ve named them Pipsqueak (daughter of Socks), Lily (daughter of Tiger Lily) and Snowdrop (daughter of Snowy).
Snowdrop (left); Lily (centre);Pipsqueak (right)
The pop-up paddock in the garden
We like our sheep to be easily handled and used to human contact, so HunterGatherer has fenced off a corner of the garden at the moment and they’re happily grazing round the apple and plum trees as we come and go during the day. They’re also getting some pellets or the occasional block of dried grass to get them used to coming to the trough (a handy habit to establish when you want to catch them easily when they’re older!).

"Er, where's my snack? Socks is not
 impressed that the lambs are being
given special treatment!
And neither are the other ewes!
Now that our Christmas outside lights are installed on the tree adjacent to their temporary paddock, the three lambs look rather festive in the evenings, silhouetted in turn against blue, white, red and yellow lights. Yes, they’re really entering into the Christmas spirit – no baaaa humbug here…. [sorry!]

The Sparrowholding "Illuminations"

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