It was a pleasant task and once there it was fun to meet up with the other farmers, shepherds and their wives for it was like clipping, a social occasion. Then there was the excitement of the sale itself and seeing a satisfactory price reached. Afterward, perhaps we would receive an invitation for a drink in the pub from Mr John if he had come to the sale or from one of the farmers who had sold well, and after a bite to eat, we walked back to Marshaw. These trips to market made a very welcome break from the usual routine.
The Sheep Cycle Starts Anew & Winter
In October, the rams each with a bell around its neck and its underside coloured were loosed upon the ewes We used the colour to indicate those ewes that had been bred, and with this the wool and breeding cycle began again.
In winter, we often had to go out after snow to see how the sheep were for it was not at all unusual to find some buried under it. Sheep are not very intelligent animals, and they seemed to have little idea of how to cope with snow just sitting down and letting it accumulate over them.
So they needed rescuing. Veronica and I would go out with the tractor and a trailer and look for them. We found them by the small holes in the snow that the sheep’s hot breath rising through it had made. We then had to dig them out with some care, load them half frozen on to the trailer and bring them back to a barn where we gave them some nuts and other delights to enable them to get over it. They rarely seemed to come to much harm from these entombments. Neither did we on these excursions into the deep snow and wild country. And we did appreciate coming back to the warm kitchen at Marshaw where Mrs Drinkall would soon have a hot drink ready for us.
Sheep, as can be seen from this account or our year require a lot of attention. With over 1,500 ewes, not counting all the lambs it was a continuing task. The head shepherd Tommy Leedham was very experienced and knowledgeable, and I learnt a great deal from him.