Sunday 14 November 2010

Optimism waning, or should that be raining?

Just a day or two back I was saying how I could make myself believe winter would be short - look on the bright side and all will be well. spirits are somewhat dampened, quite literally I may add. It's been raining and raining and.......... actually that is far too polite, especially for me, it has been pissing down, hammering down, call it what you want - WET, very wet.

Not just wet, mother nature decided gales were the order of the day too, horizontal rain what more could you ask for? A cold northeasterly wind just capped it off nicely. Today has admittedly been slightly milder, more of a westerly art and wait for it........ tomorrow might well be dry - way hey!!

Kale lost his kennel roof, unknown to Shep until morning when a very vociferous pup was found soggy wet in his roofless kennel, don't think he was too impressed, if he'd had any sense he would have crept under his bench for shelter, bigger fool he if he didn't.
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Ground is now well and truly saturated.
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Clarts (mud/mess) are now the norm, as seen here where cattle and sheep have passed by.
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My wellie print. Wellies and leggings are probably going to be the norm from now on, especially if we have our usual Tarset winter weather (with the odd exception winter has become increasingly wet of recent years).
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Wellies and leggins are grand winter wear, not only do they keep you dry, they also keep the clarts off so keep you clean too, then there is also the added bonus of the extra layer giving you that little bit extra warmth and windproofing, dare say they'll be sitting on the wellies for a while to come yet.

I spoke to the man who drives the dead cart this morning, they are being kept busy but then so are funeral directors, death must be a great business to be in. Everything dies eventually. Anyhow, the dead cart man was prophesying a busy few days, heavy rain coupled with cold gales would cause something to succumb somewhere. It's a bitter pill to swallow that you lose stock and then have to pay to have the carcase removed but then I'm getting on my high horse again, I've already covered this subject in the past
He had actually called to put a calf out of it's misery, for some reason the calf had gone off it's legs completely and no amount of medication and TLC was going to see it bang up and gallop around. Last week the dead cart had visited the same farm to collect a dead cow, she'd had an accident. Lying on the dry ground on a drain back she had rolled over and like a sheep can she got herself stuck in the drain and died. All she had asked for was to lie on some dry ground, if only she had had the sense to lie still!!
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I had been trying to work out how I could photograph wind, flying bent as we call it will often get whipped up off hill ground and attach itself to fence wires but there was none of that at hand. My eagle eyes spotted this wool on a barbed wire and thought you may be able to appreciate how windy it was, to the left of the wire is actually quite a few trees so this was a slightly sheltered spot and yet still the wool is blowing horizontally off the wire, it was indeed windy. One night I even thought our little cottage might succumb. I often think this mind you, the interior is cardboard and the exterior is wood (no- I'm not joking) and when the pictures on the walls start rattling around I do envisage waking in the morning to find the building has collapsed around me lugs during the night, fortuantely the worst to date has been a roofing sheet or two blown off and that was a few years back now.
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The burns are boiling, much more rain and they will burst their banks, hopefully the drier forecast for tomorrow will see them run in a bit. This is of course helpful for the fish which are still migrating up stream to spawn (which I intend to cover shortly).

So, life is a tad soggy at the moment. Shep has been saved a drenching in sheep pens for a couple of days now, and thankfully so, as the common cold has reared it's ugly head with me nose running as hard as the burns at the moment. Shep has been lucky, most farmers and shepherds have got to go and tend their stock regardless of the weather conditions and personal health. Days like we've just had see wet top coats being changed frequently throughout the day until there are no dry coats left to be put on.

The stock are used to all sorts of weather, they have weatherproofing skins but it will still eventually wear them down, shelter is sought behind dykes (stone walls) or any natural rocky outcrops. Even undulating ground can provide a great deal of shelter and it's amazing how their natural instinct sets them out to find it. Hill sheep are so fortunate in this respect as they have a great deal of cover at ground level, rushes or tussocks of grass can provide an amazing amount of shelter. Field sheep can be less fortunate, especially if the field is wire fenced rather than dyked or hedged. Human intervention will often see these animals moved into a pasture which will afford them more shelter when the weather is truly at it's worst, nobody wants to encourage a visit from the dead cart.

So. I've had my winge. I blame the common cold! I'm already beginning to feel optomistic again. It's meant to be dry tomorrow, that's something to look forward to and hopefully it will see Shep get the last ewes in the area tailed too. What more could I ask for??!


pepperMO said...

Hope you feel better soon. Love reading your posts.

Tarset Shepherd said...

Thanks Pepper for your kind words, mending well and the weather has picked up with a couple of frosty days and sunshine to follow - a tonic in itself. Pleased you enjoy the posts.

pepperMO said...

Your posts have inspired to me visit your area. I was planning to spend some time in Stow-on-the-wold down the road. Now I hope to include sharing a pint with the Tarset grumpies. :-)

Are there any fiber mills about your region selling roving, not finished goods?

Sending sunshine your way, Pepper

Tarset Shepherd said...

Stow-on-the-Wold? Just down the road? D'y know it's quite sad but I don't have the foggiest idea where on earth stow-on-the-wold is, other than down south somewhere!

Don't know at what time of the year you're considering visiting the area but I would suggest May - Sept. May is a beautiful month.

As for fibre mills? No, there are no mills that I am aware of which are still working. I have no idea where you would find roving goods unless you found some small enterprise somewhere, maybe getting in touch with the tourist information board might help.

It's a brave person who shares a pint with the Tarset grumpies.......