Not the best weekend. On Sunday I went to give the bull and his companion bullock a bit of cattle muesli. It doesn’t taste good, I’ve tried it. Anyway, a careless moment on my part, bullock spooked by the bull when eating from their buckets, he jumped and caught me on the forehead. Blood spurting out, I yelled for Richard and Dan, not in a calm manner, supposing I was going to bleed to death. They made me sit down and shut up.
Off to the Bridport Minor Injures Unit for the second time in a few short weeks. I walk in with a bloody face and hands and clothes. The same nurse who stitched my arm was there to greet me! This time they used super glue, which may not heal as beautifully, but my with wrinkly face it probably won’t make any difference.
Three sheep to the abattoir on the 7th. Two were older ewes who have had numbers of lambs. They were my first on the farm, bought in-lamb, and mothers of the first born on my farm. But it was time for them to go, and I sent a wether, too. Off we went to the abattoir bright and early. Only one vehicle before us to unload and as the woman was struggling with her reversing up to the ramp, I volunteered Richard to do it. Very handy to have an expert reverser person. Archie is also brilliant, I am rubbish. My butcher will collect, the old ewes will become beautiful hogget sausages! The wether will provide us with very delicious 'lamb' joints for next next couple of months.
On Thursday we were off to the Melton Mowbray market for the RBST (Rare Breed Survival Trust) annual Show and Sale. My two beautiful shearling rams were loaded up and on their way, hopefully, to a new home. Friday was show day. The market is full of gorgeous rare breed sheep, hundreds of them. Portland are clearly the most beautiful, petite, creamy white fleece, lovely tan faces, with their graceful horns. Fifteen Portland rams competed and Beaver got a Third. Very interesting, as Bongo, my other ram, received a First and Third in other shows this summer, Bongo got a Fourth. Beaver is the bigger ram and I think the judge felt Bongo slightly small. I beg to differ. Portland sheep must not lose one of their breed characteristics, that is a small size. Some of the rams are getting very large and will breed larger ewes. Petite is beautiful and functional.
Sale day dragged on. Good chat with the other Portland breeders, but we were all getting impatient. Waiting, waiting for the Portlands to be sold. Every year we are the last to go. Honestly, I just would like my rams to get a fair price and go to good homes. There were fewer buyers than usual, not a good sign. I put on a reserve, as decided I would rather take them home than give them away. Prices were not brilliant, but Beaver did well, as did Bongo, both reaching their reserve price. And both to good homes as far as I can tell. Bongo went down the road to Devon. Beaver went to a Portland breeder who also has other rare breed sheep. They will both be well looked after.
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.