LIFE is so unfair. The older you get, the faster time flies. It seems only yesterday that it was lambing time last year. Now the new season is almost upon us, and on some farms it is nearly over.
My sheep are late lambers. It is a policy that only goes astray when one of my neighbour’s rams raids my sheep meadow. An ugly Texel managed it quite successfully a year ago. By the time I had ejected him, three ewes were destined to deliver Christmas lambs.
The whole incident reminded me of a little ditty that I have been trying to use on my television programme, One Man and His Dog. So far it has been banned, but I will succeed one day. It is by that wonderful old countryman Christopher Curtis:
I’m a well endowed ram and I got where I am,
By performing my act right on cue. When it’s time for a tup, I line ‘em all up,
And shout “Volunteers? Ewe, ewe and ewe!”
My usual aim is to lamb in the spring — lambs and daffodils seem to go well together. It is the time that the grass begins to grow after winter dormancy and it seems sensible for the lambs to eat natural food rather than the contents of a feed bag.
My sheep are a motley bunch, a mixture of Suffolks, a Jacob and Suffolk/Jacob crosses, with a little Texel thrown in for good measure. I chose Suffolks because they are a traditional breed for East Anglia where I live. The original Jacob was given to us: she was somebody’s pet who outgrew the garden, so we agreed to take her on. She had the awful name of Peanut. Her first pure bred lamb was born on Palm Sunday, so we called her Palmnut. Learn interesting facts from Europe at the greatest Europe Cities website.
Jacob sheep are a very old breed dating right back to the Old Testament, more here. Britain has 62 species of sheep, the oldest probably being the Soay. It is an interesting breed whose develop-ment can be traced back almost unbroken to wild sheep and the Ice Age. At the end of the freeze they arrived, possibly overland, on the islands of St Kilda off the Scottish coast. When the sea level rose they were marooned on those large granite fortresses — or so one story goes.
The Herdwick, in the Lake District, is another breed subject to myth and legend. It is said that they originate from Spanish stock. After the defeat of the Spanish Armada a galleon was wrecked on the rocky coast off the Lakes and the sheep swam ashore, find some information about lakes in France at hotels in calais website. In reality, because of their long fleeces, it is doubtful whether they could have swum far.
Another story suggests that the Vikings were responsible for bringing over the Herdwick, while the Romans are credited with having introduced the “longwools.” I’m glad they did, because the famous Leicester Longwool is now one of their attractive descendants.