It was around this time last year when I, dad and Kim were moving the now heavily pregnant ewes around. This year, with Kim off to a new home, it's down to Pip to move them. When rounding up ewes which are in lamb, it's important to take them slowly so that they don't get injured or too panicked for the safety of the unborn lambs.
Pip's almost gotten over her quad-attack phase now, only relapsing when she gets a bit over-excited.
We arrive at the field, tractor and trailer ready to go, quad ready to leave the confines of the trailer, Pip already riled up, ready to go too... and it starts to snow. All three of us are left to sit and wait in the trailer. I'm on the quad, dad's leaning on the front with both elbows, warming his chilled hands. Pip's running in and out of the trailer, in of snow, out of snow. The snow, by the way, has now turned into a blizzard. The 'windows' on the sides of the trailer are no good against the elements, and the snow's beating in. Pip won't be able to wait much longer, now that she's standing and watching the sheep from the ramp.
You might be able to see the flakes there. You can without a doubt see that the snow isn't lying and creating a winter wonderland. The rain had been coming down by the bucketload during the week, so the ground was too wet. The tyres create muddy tracks in the ground and there are a few flooded fields. In the town, however, the snow does lie and for about an hour, it almost looks like a Christmas card. Almost.
After a good twenty minutes, the snow does die down a little. It's quad time! And some day I must take my camera with me and take some photos of the actual sheepdogging, since that's what this blog is meant to be about and I for feel like I'm cheating myself from some photos, so you lot probably feel cheated too.
Anyway, back to the job at hand and the sheep are safely gathered in.
By now the snow has stopped and it doesn't make an appearance for the rest of the morning. Which is handy.
Dad reverses the tractor and trailer into position while I hold onto Pip, in case she does something silly. When he's in position, the sheep are herded onto the trailer by Pip who does an astounding job for such a novice. She makes sure that none run backwards. This is also the point, as they go onto the trailer, where things can get a little too rough. As was the case here and I had to tell Pip to slow down a little as all of the sheep tried to fit into the trailer which could only hold about sixteen. Some would run back and the ones on the trailer are closed in, ready for transit.
We weren't going to bring them home so they only move down the road. Pip and I wait in the field with the sheep for him to return for another trailer full of sheep. To entertain myself, I take some pictures of the sheep.
I haven't taken pictures of the sheep in a good while, so it was nice to see them close up again. This black one was nice to photograph.
And what's this? Oh, it's Pip. She always wants to be the centre of attention.
It was when the last of the ewes were loaded onto the trailer that dad spotted one close to lambing. She had to come home with us, bless her, so we can keep an eye on her.
And this is where the sheep moved to. Not a bad change of scenery in my opinion.
Evening came, and Teddy looked a bit cross because he missed out on all of the fun.
Oh... you didn't dig up all of that mud, Ted! (Look at the evidence on his nose. He he!)
The evidence was mostly gone before I took a photo of him in front of the sunset.
The people on TV are saying that we won't have a white Christmas this year, just a wet one. Ah well, at least that means it's warmer.
And if you don't make it back before the big day, Merry Christmas!