Wednesday 30 June 2010


Kale - a brassica, or cabbagey type thing to the normal folks amongst us, it's often grown to feed sheep on, especially finishing lambs, those being the lambs that need fattening to be sold for meat. Sown early summer kale will be ready in the autumn for the lambs to be turned onto to be fattened up. Apparently a diet exclusively of kale for a long duration can actually cause harm to sheep as there are many toxins in the plant - it can even become an appetite inhibitor ( you can tell I've been googling can't you?) seems there's no winning with sheep, they can always find a reason not to thrive!!

Anyhow. Why am I telling you all this? Occasionally kale has been grown in the North Tyne for the purpose of feeding lambs on but that ain't the reason I'm sharing my wisdom with you, infact it has absolutely nothing what so ever to do with the gastronomical delights of sheep cuisine, although there is a link with sheep - obviously or I wouldn't be sharing it with you.

Kale is a new addition to the Shep household.
Posted by Picasa
Yep! Kale is in actual fact a collie pup.

The first pup I have ever had which had a name before it was born, it also had a brand new shiney dog chain before it was born and yet it took me quite a while to accept the idea of having another dog. I have two dogs, I really didn't relish the thought of a third. But........

I guess it's called forward planning. Glen will soon be ten years old and is ageing quicker than he ought due to his leg injury a few years back. Moss is heading to be five year old. I always claim it takes two years before you have a young dog to be confident of, something you can begin to rely on. By this time Glen will be twelve and Moss will be passing his prime at seven years of age, really, once I got my mathematical head onto my shoulders, common sense told me it was nearing the time to get another dog to join the pack. My heart told me I really did not want the hassle or the effort caused by owning three dogs. But........

I heard tell of a bitch that was in pup, not any old bitch (or at least not to me), this bitch was Mosses full litter sister. There were only three pups in Mosses litter, I got one, the shepherd out-bye kept one and his brother-in-law got the other. This bitch which was in pup belonged to the brother-in-law who just so happened to be the shepherd on the neighbouring farm to where I lambed in Scotland.

The bloodline which is in Moss I have had now for twenty years and I would really like to keep some of that bloodline, even though it is now getting diluted somewhat. I could try and talk someone into letting Moss line their bitch or I could take one of this litter, the latter option was the easiest.
Posted by Picasa

And so, along came Kale.

He was born on the 5th April and I was invited up almost immeadiately to view the litter which comprised of five dogs and one bitch, viewing puppies so young is really a waste of time, they just look like little guinea pigs which grunt and squeak, suck and sleep. However, I was able to ascertain that there were two dark pups, carrying less white markings than the others and they were both dog pups. Things were looking good, except, for all I had a dog chain and a name I still couldn't bring myself around to the idea that I really ought to have a pup, the logistics of owning three dogs was wearing me down before I even got there!

I say I had a name, there were two at the time, either Kale or Scot. Kale due to the fact that the area the pups were born in is known as the Kalewater (see, nothing to do with cabbages at all!!) and Scot because he was obviously born in Scotland. Kale grew on me over the weeks, especially as I met two other Kales whilst up there (which may cause some confusion at future lambings as we all holler the same name across the hill tops). Scot went by the wayside. I once new a Scot and didn't like him very much. So Kale it was and always will be.

It took a while for Kale to take up residence at the Shep household. Daresay I could have brought him back when I finished the lambing but I didn't, the following week I was back in the area for a church service of thanksgiving for the lambing and there was an opportunity to fetch him home, I stalled for another week. Life was too hectic, too much work to do, too many early mornings and not enough time to deal with a puppy. The following week came and went, lamb marking out bye had me worn down to the bone and the thought of a pup added to the stress.

Finally, three weeks after the lambing was finished Kale was delivered to a farm in the area and I collected him in the evening. He was nine weeks old and is now twelve weeks old, fully innoculated and ready to meet the outside world.


Wabbit said...

Dear Shep, I am vewwy woweed about Moss. Has his sore face got better yet? Love fwom Wabbit

Tarset Shepherd said...

Wabbit, so kind of you to show concern for Moss. Moss is fine. Glen is the one with the sore face and he ain't been too good(too many dogs causes confusion with names). The vets were however pleased to see him and hopefully things are looking up, I'll pass on your concerns and love to him, may even write a post to keep you up to date.

Wabbit said...

Phew! If they are out collectin wool now does that mean the Glen's face and Moss's paw are better?
AND I wish I could dwive a quad bike like Kale!

Tarset Shepherd said...

Now then wabbit, 'tis bad enough having a collie pup thinking it can drive a quad bike without a wabbit getting daft ideas too! Just you bide yourself with all four paws on the ground.

Moss is sound and Glen has hopefully made a full recovery from his dental operation, they have some quieter days whilst I'm shearing and it hasn't done them any harm. I'll pass on your regards to them.