As the wet windy weather continued, we had to carry on regardless. Last weekend Dan was determined to get 750 hedge plants into the ground. He had already planted a row of rowan trees down the long strip between two fields. It was time to plant inbetween, with dog rose, blackthorn, hawthorn, spindle, guelder rose, dogwood, field maple, all traditional hedgerow planting.
So with the wind whipping at about 40 mph, Dan, Richard and I hauled ourselves up on the hillside to begin. I lasted an hour and a half, then went back to get them food, and never returned. Freezing wind! They carried on, planting 450, the rain came down in sheets and they finally gave up.
We still have eight sheep in two pens in the old stone shed, Shurper the ram, four ewes and three lambs. All had sore feet, the lambs had very dirty bums but are now all cleaned up. They were wormed not so long ago, and a poo test indicated a low count. I cannot be bothered to put them back out in such miserable wet weather.
Mid week, with ram Bemborough back from his loan to another flock of Portlands, it was time to get the rams together in a group. Midweek the weather was improved. I set up a very small pen in our holding area (where we have the cattle crush). Bemborough came in from one field, the two young rams from the opposite. I brought Shurper up from the shed, Richard holding him on the back of the Ranger! The four of them spent a miserable 24 hours shoved together, no food or water. Awful, but necessary. The pen area is small, preventing them from backing up to get a “full head of steam" and charging. If I just let them out in the field, running at each other with big horns can do terrible damage. So they sorted themselves out, with plenty of shoving and pushing. After a miserable night, the poor things had organised their pecking order. When I released them they just wanted to eat. And they are a contented group of friends. The females don’t require such treatment!
Jo Stover has daily adventures on her small farm, together with her Highland cattle and Portland sheep, bees, a few hens, dogs, and some two-legged family and friends.