Well here we are again. It is a Saturday afternoon and the completion of another week down on the farm. Another 500ish sausages made and sold and a considerable amount of bacon of all types. Feedback on the new recipe bacon and sausages is good, so more rosemary and ginger or marjoram and black pepper sausages on the way.
The dogs are getting into the swing of the warmer weather we are having, and are sleeping a lot during the afternoon. I think they heard rumours that the workload was decreasing with the beginning of spring. How ill-informed they were as we had a surprise control from the vet department the other day to inform us that our eartags are not up to scratch.
Now as anyone who has a flock of sheep knows eartags for sheep are a disposable item. Let the farmer put them in, then go and find the nearest fence, bramble bush, pole, hay bale or blade of grass to get rid of the thing as fast as possible. Anyhow rules are rules and we must endeavour to keep one or two tags depending on the destination of said sheep in their ears at all times. Of course ours are outside most of the time so any sheep handling is a family event requiring muscle, patience and a deaf ear when Gavin is working the dogs. In my humble opinion whistling for sheepgdogs was invented by people who did not wish to have the childrens ears permanently damaged by profanity. Fortunately our delightful dogs don't hear the words just the intonation and thus can deduce that "no the sheep were not meant to be going to eat the neighbours prize roses"
So the other Sunday was spent rounding up, bringing in and writing a list of some 550 sheep so that the missing tags could be ordered and also whether they were microchip tags or ordinary. Gavins system was highly developed and on arrival he said "you write, we will catch and mark and I will shout E for microchip and P for ordinary". After a little confusion, as P and E sound much the same when shouted across a handling pen with sheep baaing and heads buried in sheep wool we developed the system to "electric" and "plain". Oh the glamorous life we lead.
We have a group of 3 kittens that have just been born in our barn, so once again we will have another massive vet bill to sterilise the little fluff balls so they do not become a nuisance. I do believe this is the only drawback to moving house in the countryside in France, having to be a cat controller at every new destination.
It's Sunday and have just finished a spot of painting in our new to be kitchen/dining room. It is remarkably satisfying work to knock down walls and discover wonderful, more usable areas in your home. With the amount of people visiting us during the summer months I will be very happy to have a room where I can finally house my Grandmothers 8 seater table. And finish putting up a kitchen we bought some years ago. I am afraid my husbands desire to buy and store stuff is finally paying off with the only expenditure at the moment being our own time and effort to get everything done... Believe me I never thought I would ever say that! And it was probably a mistake putting the fact in print, I will never hear the end of it now.
So a few days have passed since I started this blog, 10 to be precise and the table is finally in the room we have been organising. Sadly though the dog who could best translate Gavin's profanity is no longer with us. He disappeared to doggie pastures in the sky yesterday and as usual left a huge whole. Ben and I did a lot of sheep work together in the early days some 12 or 13 years ago when Gavin used to go backwards and forwards to Zimbabwe and I stayed in France to be a sheep farmer and look after the kids.
He was a bit of a loon as a youngster too eager to help, which didn't always end well. Usually half the flock were at your feet and the rest were high tailing it for the horizon. Later on he turned into a very steady worker. On one of Gavins away days James, our neighbour was lending a hand to put some sheep away which meant he had to stay with the dog and the sheep, whilst I drove to the other side of the property to turn off the electric fence. On my return James said, "Thank goodness for Ben! The sheep started moving around so I looked at him and said, quick do something! And he just did."
Happy times. Ben missed by all the family and the other dogs, though probably not by the sheep.
I am farming sheep and goats on the Dordogne/Gironde border with my husband and our 3 children. We have an on farm butchery and sell our meat direct to the public via the markets and delivery points in our local area