Our local farmer has lost 10 sheep in the last two nights – he thinks to pneumonia, but the vet is checking samples, just to make sure. It has been so very wet and apparently none of the local farmers have enough shelter to bring all of their flocks inside.
It’s not just a sheep that is lost; it is also the lamb inside of it. That’s a financial loss of around £100 per animal, £1000 in just two nights. What kind of business can continue to sustain that kind of loss? No wonder the farmers are worried. There is no sign of an end to what the BBC calls this unusually wet and unseasonable weather.
We have not flooded here, the house is 75m above sea level, but the car has being getting a regular wash down from dips in the roads as we tootle about the island. I had never noticed water coming off the fields and through stone walls before, but it has been happening on a regular basis this last few weeks.
I had never paid much attention to sheep either until I came here. Sheep were just sheep to me, some of them white, some of them black. Now I notice sheep have long legs, short legs; long tails, short tails; long hair, short hair. There are white, cream, brown and black sheep and some that are a mixture of all of the above. I am promising myself a book on sheep so that I can learn more about them.
One of the joys of being out of the city is that the pace of life here gives you time to ruminate on such things. ‘Useless things’ some might say, but to me anything you learn about Nature is never useless. I am not a vegetarian; lamb is my favourite meat and to be honest, if learning about different types of sheep enables me to choose a better piece of lamb for Sunday lunch, then bring it on!
Yesterday brought our first visit from the ‘honey truck’ (otherwise known as Mr Roberts with his slurry machine) to empty our septic tank. Not as unpleasant a situation as it sounds, but it is now apparent why different levels have been created at the bottom of the garden – our ‘soak away’ from the septic tank would run like a waterfall over the 12 foot drop down to the house behind if it were not diverted.
I wonder if the neighbours down the hill actually know what heads their way from us. It is very noticeable that our resident mole does not appear to venture down to that end of the garden.
Apparently our more solid effluent will end up on the Robert’s farm to sit in slurry tanks along with that from his 100 strong milking herd for 2-3 years before being sprayed on the fields. I have not found out yet whether that will be crop fields or pasture. Perhaps it is better not to know.