Anyone who has seen my photo challenge for yesterday and today will not be surprised by the revelation that we now have two sheep at the barn. We have been loaned them by our farmer neighbour to help clear some of the grass and weeds that currently cover the area we are planning to turn into our veg patch, and he in turn looks after them for the farmer at Yew Tree Farm in Coniston. One of the sheep is also the one that has been loitering along the lane, determined to break out of any field he was put into – it turns out that Herdwicks are quite an intrepid lot.
The sheep arrived amidst much excitement yesterday. We spent the morning erecting a chicken wire fence around the veg patch area, which should, hopefully, keep them in and off the rest of the garden (although we’ve already seen some experimental nudging of the fence). Once the fence was up, our neighbour, rather unceremoniously, hoiked them in and the kids were told not to run around screaming at them so they could get settled in. It didn’t take long for the sheep to start chomping away, studiously ignoring us, despite my best attempts to engage them in conversation. It also didn’t take too long for us to start discussing names, they’re obviously not staying with us long term but it seems rude just to keep calling them sheep…although the girl’s first suggestion of a name was “Sheepybaabaa”
“Well, what would the other one be called?” I asked
“But we can’t call them both the same thing”.
The girl stared blankly at me before firmly repeating “Sheepybaabaa”
“Hmmm…I think we’ll ask your brother.”
Which we did, and the sheep are now called Tickles and Bickles – though the boy has since decided it should be Tickles and Pickles, however as we’ve already told the sheep their names we’ve told the boy we can’t just change them now, and took to calling him Jeff for a few minutes to illustrate just how disconcerting this could be.
The smaller of the two sheep is Tickles, because he has a more cheery disposition, and Bickles is the slightly more straightfaced of the two.
I warned our neighbour that I would probably end up talking to the sheep more than the family, I think he thought I was joking, but it’s already started. I sneak out of the house and wander over to them to have a little chat every now and then; Tickles is more open to conversation and slowly edges towards me as I chat, Bickles likes to keep a safe distance and just stares at me whilst chewing, slowly. I’m also convinced Tickles has given me quite a sweet smile, in response to me smiling at him like a total loon (which I realise might not be too far wrong), J isn’t totally convinced about a grinning sheep, despite my assertions. But I know he did, and I can assure you Herdwicks give good grins.