The land that we rented when we first move to…

October 13, 2007 in webcams by MrFarmer

The land that we rented when we first move to Somerset, before we had purchased Denbury was to small for the amount of Sheep that I had purchased. If I remember correctly it was 117 Ewes that I had purchased all together. There would be ample grass through the Summer, but as soon as the ground got wet through the Autumn and Winter, 468 feet would soon cut the ground up, making the fields muddy. To make matters worse, that year was pretty wet, and there was no grass on the fields for the Ewes to eat. Most of them would have been in Lamb, so it was important for them to be eating well. Fortunately I had made a deal with a farmer who I allowed to use part of my twenty acres, for fifteen of his young Heifers to graze early in the Spring, in return for a large amount of hay. The hay allowed me to feed the Sheep in my field until the Ewes were due to Lamb and through to the following Spring, until the grass started to grow.

The building on the land I was renting was also to small to Lamb in. My farmer friend allowed me to use one of his buildings. It was a bit to far from the house that we were renting, to keep on going back and forward to check on how the Lambing was going, especially as I would have needed to go at least three times a night. My Horse box had a small living area, with a very large bed above the cab, that became my home at night for many weeks. Through the Winter, every night for weeks I was up checking to make sure that the Ewes were not having difficulty lambing. I was cold, miserable and believe me fed up to the teeth with Sheep, and worse still the building was alive with rats, that could climb walls like mountaineers. Every morning I would return any of the Ewes that had Lambed, in our Estate Car, to the field that we were renting. You wouldn’t have wanted to buy that car, when we were finished with it.

It soon became clear that the field was to small and muddy for the Ewes and Lamb to be in, and they had to be taken back to my friends farm. He had a very large farm, my Sheep would graze his fields through the Winter, to eat off the grass to allow the Spring grass to grow better. The Ewes and Lambs were in a fields, that part of the River Tone passes through. Not the large River that it eventually turns into, I suppose up to twelve feet across, but quite fast flowing, especially after long spells of rain, when it would sometimes flood part of the field that my Ewes and Lambs were in.

Twice every day I would go to check that the Ewe’s and Lambs were well. One day after a long spell of rain the fields that the Ewes and Lambs were in had were partly flooded, close to the very fast flowing river. All the Ewes and Lambs except one Ewe were close together, well away from the river. I made my way over towards the Ewe, she would not have been on her own without a reason. As I got close I could see that the Ewe was one that had twins, and they were not with her. They could well have been swept away in the River. I put myself into a position that should have made the Ewe run back to the flock. Instead she ran straight into the raging river. I was down stream to the Ewe and managed to grab hold of her fleece as she passed me, I up to my knees in the flood. The Ewe was struggling in fear and making it difficult for me to hold onto her. By this time her fleece had absorbed so much water, that her weight was making it more difficult for me to hang on to her. By this time I was up to my waist in the flood. I didn’t want to let go of the Ewe, as she would have been swept down the river to her death, but I was finding it more difficult to hang on to her and I was in danger of being swept away myself. I can swim, but I would never have been able to save myself in that raging river. We must have been washed to a more shallow position, and I was able to lie partly on my back that made it possible with one last gasp to pull the Ewe out of fast flow of the river. I don’t know where I got the strength from. It was a very cold day, my body was numb all over with the added cold of being wet. When I returned the next day, I found that none of the Lambs were missing. Shortly after I sent the lot back to a friend in Kent to look after for me.