Sunday, 28 September 2008

it's only natural

this is the house where i live, i am very fortunate to occupy the whole top floor.
the window on the front left of the picture is my lounge window.

from this window i look across the a77, the road which carries the traffic from belfast to glasgow and vice versa, on the other side of the road is a single row of houses. beyond those lies a flat field which then rises away into a hill which is partially covered with gorse bushes and beyond and above the gorse is another grazing field.

now, i'm sure you all are totally fascinated by the information overload i am offering you! patience people... i am setting a scene ...

from my window i look across to the field beyond and watch the seasons change. well, so far i have watched the end of a winter, the spring, the summer and presently ... the turning.

if i look to the far hill i am often able to see the farmer on his four wheel bike, accompanied by his dog,rounding up the sheep. on the flat field just across the road they seem to rotate their cattle. a few weeks ago the field was full of black cows with their cream coloured calves, sometimes the grass in the field is left to grow and then harvested for winter feed. at present the field is full of sheep.

now if you know as much about sheep as i do ...
not as much as you might imagine considering the erudite writing i produce on the subject of mammals of the genus Ovis in the family Bovidae!

sheep follow their mouths, they graze, as in, it seems like they never stop. of course, they must, at times ...
in order to ruminate ... heh!
so ... they graze, then one sheep decides to move (random choice or master plan?), then all the other sheep will follow this leader. off they go, often in a long line, trotting off into the sunset or wherever. until one of them stops and they go back to their endless munching.

the lambs are different! well, for at least the first six months of their lives. they frolic, they gambol, they spring into the air for no reason at all, they race each other around and around, they head butt ... then they grow up and turn into sheep (see previous paragraph).

well ... that was my experience anyway, until yesterday. yesterday whilst i was gazing out of the window, contemplating all the chores awaiting me, something changed.
oh aye indeed, something changed!
i noticed one sheep, wandering around, alone and in a rather haphazard manner. this sheep was not grazing and no other sheep were taking a blind bit of notice of said sheep as it wandered around.
interesting ...
then i noticed that said sheep was wearing a harness (similar to that which you might use for a dog, instead of a collar).
why on earth would a sheep be wandering around with a harness on and behaving in a most unsheeply manner?
yeah ... you guessed it! the mystery explained itself when the haltered one started getting up close and personal with his calmly munching companions.
actually, there are at least three rams in that particular field, doing their duty by the ladies. the ladies in question are not particularly bothered ... they carry right on munching at the green, green grass.

now i would have thought that in this modern world of ours, it would have been all efficiency and artificial insemination.
what a delightful surprise to discover that in this beautiful part of the ayrshire coast ... lambs are being conceived in the old fashioned way.


Margo Moon said...

Two thing.

That part about the sheep following their mouths and wandering endlessly really reminded me of about half of my fellow Americans, until you got to the part about stopping to ruminate - they don't do that.

And, I'm happy to report that thoroughbred breeding MUST be verifiably accomplished the old-school way. Yay for them!

reeflightning said...

happy news indeed!