Friday, 25 April 2014

For This Relief...

I was in the wood yesterday, watching the sheep in the adjacent field. Most of the ewes were resting in the spring sunshine. Some of the lambs were with their mothers, while others were playing games or exploring the woodland margin for nice things to eat.

Two lambs came part trotting, part tottering on their still-oversized back legs. They were heading for a ewe resting near the gate, and I realised immediately that there was going to be a problem. The lambs had the number 7 sprayed on their fleece; the ewe was number 28. Wrong mother...

The rule among sheep mothers is a simple one; their thinking appears to run thus:

‘I’m not giving my milk to some other woman’s brat. Why should I? Bog off, you little varmints.’

And so it came to pass. She pushed the lambs away unceremoniously, and appeared to have no qualms about so doing. I became a little anxious, of course. Well, you would, wouldn’t you? It’s only natural.

The lambs looked bemused; they looked around in all directions; they looked back at the unrepentant ewe.  They bleated – hopefully it seemed at first, then more desperately. The ewe remained unconcerned, but I didn’t.

I caught a movement to my left, and turned to see another ewe trotting across from the other side of the field. She was too far away to see her number clearly, but I guessed she recognised her own kids’ voices. The lambs saw her too, but they didn’t trot towards her. They didn’t even totter. They galloped hell for leather, and were soon settled into a feed. I managed a smile.

My view.

 The mother's view. (Not my photos.)

I’d never make a farmer, would I?


Of course, choosing the wrong father is potentially even more hazardous:

 (Not my photo.)

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