Farmer Nick had it all planned, we would run the Sunday morning tractor ride as usual and when we came to the sheep, build a corrale, open up the field gate onto the new fresh grass and with a little help from the children, Bingo the sheep would be captured ready for shearing.
Nice theory Farmer Nick, shame the kids and sheep had other ideas! The set up all looked to plan with the tractor and fencing in place, so Nick gave the children the green light to chase the sheep down towards the enclosure. Abandoning Rolo and Maisie the donkeys they jumped at the challenge running as one for the sheep field.
With so many little helpers full of enthusiasm but without much idea the sheep were soon split and running in all directions. Farmer Nick shouted commands, the children listened to varying degrees and the sheep continued to elude us all.
Nick called a halt before the sheep became scared and took the children on down to feed the goats. Meanwhile I could see Guy was determined to give it another go and suggested he crept back now that everyone had moved on and give it a try.
I watched him coax the sheep into the new grassy corrale area with extra feed, hop over the fencing and shut the gate on them, looking every bit the competent farmer his Dad had intended to portray! By the time Nick was ready to head home with the tractor and children aboard it was job done thanks to Guy. Spot on time too as the sheep shearer’s car drove onto the farm. We all had 20 minutes after the tractor ride for a quick coffee break while the shearer set up before heading back out to watch.
I love the professional way in which Paul the shearer flips the sheep onto their bottoms so they lay quite still, then skins them just like a rabbit. Little faces peeped through the shelter windows transfixed by his skills in action. Seeing a professional at work is such a delight and everyone cheered him. There were no takers for a quick short back and sides after though!
In just over an hour all the adult sheep were sheared, fleeces collected and they were let out to enjoy their new cooler coats in a fresh grassy meadow.
I hope this week’s holiday guests will reflect fondly on their first morning at Coombe Mill Farm.
“Tales from the farmers wife” shares the funny and interesting happenings on our lovely holiday farm with Farmer Nick and our 6 children. A behind the scenes look on balancing family, farming, the holiday business and cooking for all.
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