Monday 25 July 2011

An update - July

Shep bought some milk yesterday, the sell by date was the 2nd of August. August! where the hell did July go?? It appears I have managed to overlook the fact that July has been and is about to leave for another year, how could I possibly miss a month? - a summer month at that!

I guess it boils down to having been busy, the last 30 something days has seen Shep just having two off from working, they were described in my diary as 'piss wet' with the added word 'housework' - my god, the weather must have been bad!

The summer hasn't been tremendous although we have had windows allowing a few days good weather followed by showery days or even wet ones. Invariably on the days when the conditions were poorer the evenings would get out good and sheep would get dried and housed in sheds overnight ready to clip the following day, thus allowing Shep to be kept busy.

I recall a few extremely hot days at the beginning of July, hot and humid, so hot in fact that sweat was dripping off every part of my anatomy that gravity would allow it to drip off. Now there is a saying that men sweat, pigs perspire and women glow - umm.......... Shep was definitely sweating, no doubt I was probably glowing also but sweat was the order of the day. Much to my dismay and utter disbelief it doesn't seem to matter how many sheep I clip or how much sweat is lost the bathroom scales refuse to tell me I have lost any weight. This phenomenon is not just bothering me but also the shepherd from out bye whom I have clipped alongside on a number of days. Between us we have concluded that muscle weighs heavier than fat, therefore we are burning off our fat during the day and producing more muscle and so our bodies are refusing to 'melt away'. This conclusion suits us and we will be sticking to it!

July has been a very busy month, not only shearing and gathering but also my 16 year old nephew came to stop for three weeks. Having just sat his GCSE exams he found himself idle and decided to escape and stop with us.

He has learnt much during his 'vacation'. His Aunty doesn't possess a great deal of patience,'I've told you once, I'll tell you twice but god help you if I have to tell you three times' also you have to get up in the mornings, work hard and return home tired. He has also learnt that if you don't work hard you may get chastised. But most of all he has learnt how to cook frozen pizza, how to find food when you're hungry and how to throw back as good as you get (verbally not food fights).

In many ways he deserved a medal for coping for three weeks, he did however earn a fair bit of money wrapping wool which would probably take some of the 'pain' out of the situations he found himself in. A great learning curve which I'm sure will set him onto greater things in life as he will have learnt what happens to you if you don't stick in at school and get a 'good' job!

Shep had a birthday sometime during the month of July, I would have missed it had I not recieved cards and goodies. My birthday morning dawned and saw me up at 5am and away by 5.30, heading off to gather out bye. What a cracking morning it was. What a great way to spend your birthday. I could almost imagine there wasn't another soul on the planet as dogs and I headed out to gather sheep out on the hills, mist burning off as we set away and the sun warming our backs as the morning drew on. I felt so fortunate to be able to enjoy the occasion. Mid morning saw me heading back down the valley and being reunited with the nephew to clip sheep on another farm. Those sheep were flying clipping, a pleasure to clip and once again I found myself thankful of such a pleasant way to spend my birthday.

There has been much hard work and much busying during the month of July but it has been a very sociable month, moving from farm to farm and getting fresh crack (conversation), much banter and quite a few jovial moments. There has been leg pulling and laughter which always helps the time to pass.

I bought myself one of those little cameras, the sort that fits into your back pocket with no view finder, you have to hold it at arms length an look at the screen at the back of the camera, it has taken a bit of getting used to but I have been playing with it this clipping season and received some strange looks from those I've been working alongside, especially when taking the following two pictures.
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I took these to give you an insight into what I see for most of the day, a self portrait of me ready to clip a sheep. I am on that picture honest! You can just make out my legs and my feet are under the sheeps wool.
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Then you have the finished article - a wool less and apparently headless sheep! A view I know only too well as day in day out I have been bending over surveying this scene - fascinating!

There is much to report on if I could find the time and energy, hopefully I'll get there and share it with you eventually. I have actually finished my clipping for the season but am now shearing alongside another shearer, someone who hasn't been as fortunate as myself and has found themselves held up with the weather. That magical figure of 3,000 sheep is history and where the total will end up I don't know. I do know that I enjoyed some peace and quiet last night. It was a cracking summers evening and I had to head away out bye to feed the shepherds dogs and the likes as he was away for a couple of days.

I let his dogs out of their kennels and along with mine we strolled down to the burn, it was 7.30pm and there was still heat in the sun preventing the midges from spoiling the occasion. I found myself sitting on the waters edge just enjoying the peace and quiet, the gentle bubbling of the water, birdsong and dragonflies flying by
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After the hubbub of a shearing shed, noisy machines, sheep blaaring, people talking, gates clattering it was sheer bliss, time to myself to sit and enjoy a summers evening.
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I wasn't the only one enjoying the experience the pack of dogs which were in my company also enjoyed the water but in a different manner to myself.