Saturday 25 July 2009

Battling on

Shep's still clipping sheep, can see the end is in sight and valiantly battling on to get there. Battling on is truly how it feels with the current weather conditions stacked against anyone attempting to clip dry sheep, I am now a week behind in being finished but nothing is taking much hurt so there is no sleep lost.

Actually managed to clip a handful outside today, the weather forecast was for a fine day - all day! Now you don't miss a chance like that when you've got sheep to clip out at the pens in the middle of no where.

The conditions were pleasant, the sheep co-operative and all was sorted by lunchtime. As the season wears on sheep generally get quicker clipping, I've been topping the 30 an hour mark this last week, which is fine by me but slow by professional standards. Two shearers went into a farm in the Scottish Borders last week, after two hours one had 120 on his clock (tally counter) by tea time the 760 were clipped out - obviously we have a far more relaxed approach to the job here in Tarset!

Interestingly enough on the TV tonight I learnt that the record for shearing sheep was 720 in nine hours, that equates to 80 an hour or one every 45 seconds........ Umm! makes thirty an hour seem a gay measly amount!

Clipping on the roadside can draw attention to what you are doing and the brave may well stop to have a crack (chat), it can be a welcome excuse for a break and it is always good to know some people are interested in what you're doing (so long as it is for the right reasons). So it was today, a couple from Manchester drew up and the crack flowed.

They weren't lost, no, just heading for home after a holiday in the area, although it seemed more like they didn't want to head for home - life in the sheep pens was far too interesting! It took little persuasion for one of them to 'have a go' and not too bad a job was done either, especially as it was probably the first sheep the man had ever handled, don't suppose there's many sheep in Manchester although having never been there I actually wouldn't know.

I found it quite humbling that something I take for granted in my simplistic little life had given someone else such a buzz and most probably ended their holiday on a high, one of those tales to be recalled for years to come no doubt. It's quite true that the small things in life can sometimes mean so much. Have to say though, being the skinflint that I am I didn't offer him 90p for clipping her!!


Kate and The Irishman said...

As one of the two reluctant townies who visited The Shepherd and The Farmer at the roadside I am writing to say a big THANK YOU from both of us.

Thank you both for your kindness and generositiy; your humour, your inclusion .. your trust.

The Irishman has been dining out (and in) on his deeply affecting encounter with your sheep; she was so trusting of the novice shearer (as were you all!) What a powerful, positive impact it had on him.

We were on our way home from a wonderful week based in Tarset. Reconnecting with our own ancestors in the North Tyne and Scottish borders. Stunning countryside (how our planet should look) stunning people. We'd relocate ourselves and our executive coaching business tomorrow if we could. What a place to bring execs to get connected with all that is important in life and to find a sense of their own responsibility for decisions and actions taken today as they impact the next seven generations.

Thank you for all the work you do, your commitment to the land, the animals and agriculture .. in service of us all.

Kathy Loh said...

As one who is friends with your novice shearer and his wife, I have to say you were both equally and profoundly fortunate to have encountered one another. And I am thrilled to have discovered this blog that gives me a chance to experience something far far away from my own lifestyle in California, but reminiscent of my very early years in Indiana.

Tarset Shepherd said...

So pleased you like the blog and hey! it means alot to know that some one out there does appreciate the efforts the farmers (custodians of the countryside) put in to their job. Thank you