I righted a sheep…

There are no big prairies here in the UK, in fact here in Northumberland it is generally a landscape of modestly sized fields with sheep grazing and open upland at higher elevation even though these animals bring little monetary gain unless you are recognised assisted hill status.

Its quite easy to find ridge and furrow bullock ploughing from 150 years ago, in fact theres some parts that are substantially mediaeval, with touches of Roman roads and even incredibly, “I could take you there myself” (to make a quote from a well known film of seventy years ago) as Neolithic in one or two locations as indicated on the OS map, itself a thing of great beauty. Luckily in Northumberland there is upland that has escaped ‘improvement’ (a subject close to near all farmers hearts) ie how to improve and in times past importantly improve your chances of survival which matters a great deal, in times past of hoping a surplus to barter and perhaps generate a few coins in your purse. It would be stupid to expect a farmer to think otherwise, the balance at the bank account or held in the purse or the lack of it is a mighty driving force. We can look at say China and see until 1960 it was still very much a hand to mouth existence, small scale (despite Maos collectivisation) and fundamentally precarious. Even today from what I see theres hardly a square foot of land that is ever wasted.

And so, a couple of evenings ago at one of my locations to park and wander down country lanes I notice a sheep stuck on its side say 300 yds away (land around Gorf_ _letch, Morpeth, Northumberland) but hesitating at being too reactive when it is hoped the animal can right itself, its only twenty minutes later I think its time to act, to get across the fields and possibly put the sheep back onto its feet.

In reality the animal is of very little weight, but the fleece is very bulky and cumbersome once the poor thing is on its side, the natural extent of the a sheeps legs is also a hindrance, unable to curl up under and hence of no aid in righting itself. By the worn nature of the grass and accumulated faeces etc I’d say she had been stuck more than a couple of hours, more like all afternoon. Several times over the years I have released sheep from barbed wire or brambles or being stuck and unable to right themselves, that is why in the car I always have scissors and wire cutters.

Job quick done, a second or two at most to right the sheep, I stayed ten minutes to make sure she coped, apart from a RH back leg seeming a bit lame she hobbled on to search the field for her offspring, moving methodically among the jumble to locate her own.

Curiously in the same location perhaps two years ago I found a sheep carcase that must have lain for weeks unbeknown to the idiotic, malfunctioning would-be pretend small holders that insist on keeping animals but know bugger all. This vexes me a great deal. Police, County Council and Ministry were alerted. In addition I found a dead lamb well away from its mother three or four years ago, we can blame the same offending would-be small holders, it leaked from a field of excruciatingly untended unrepaired fencing. Useless tw#ts – yes. Its called effort, you have to make it!

A beautiful location, lots of memories, the evening light is incredible; with my beagle on the grassy bank we would sit to catch the evening light, I know where to find marsh marigold, where diatoms are easiest to collect, recording birdsong and all are many many happy memories whatever the weather.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s