Archive for July, 2010

Quadropedia

Posted in canon g10, environment, farming, food, Humour, life, organic, pets, photography, sheep, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on July 25, 2010 by norvenmunky

This week, norvenmunky has been tasked to ‘help’, as the neighbour has gone away on hols.

Most times it’s please feed the cat, the goldfish, walk the dog, you know the form. Last time it seemed an odd instruction at the time to feed the cat the goldfish, and on their return during the subsequent acrimonious debrief, I felt it wasn’t my fault the comma was missing in the original instructions. All I did was follow them.
However, this past week I have mostly been left in charge of eighteen sheep, and an orchard.

The orchard is pretty easy to look after, so far there’s no recorded instances as far as I’m aware of an orchard escaping, and it’s probably relatively easy to locate 4 acres of fruit trees if they escaped.

An Orchard, yesterday.

Sheep however, despite being stereotyped as ‘thick as shite’ are a different matter. Apart from wandering round eating grass they do appear to have a fairly well organised escape comittee. No doubt the wandering round is a ruse , to lull one into a false sense of security as they discretely drop tunnel earth, (thats not an NM euphamism), from their trouser legs about the orchard. What you’ll have is eighteen sheep, with seventeen of them ostensibly ‘thick as two short planks’, and one criminal mastermind. The master crim however has an apprentice whom is always carefully hidden amongst the flock. Thus when the master criminal escapes, or goes ‘missing’ in a Waitrose moment, ‘Yes sonny you were talking to it yesterday in a field’ … there is always the apprentice to instantly take over the reins. His primary duty is to find the way out through the clucking hedge that you had previously thought would keep North Koreans at bay.

The object of the week was to count said sheep daily, check them over, fortunately not in glove puppet style, feed them, and ensure that the orchard was ‘secure’. Now you’d think counting eighteen sheep would be relatively easy, in a sort of one to eighteen, and then stop sort of way. Over four acres of orchard where there are assorted hiding places, and tunnels (allegedly), it’s not quite so easy. And they all look the same, ‘ish’.

17 Sheep, see what I mean about counting?

The fastest way to count sheep is to get them in one area and try to stop them moving around too much, this was done by throwing feed into a trough, and then standing back from the ensuing chaos. The older sheep very soon got wise to this and as soon as you appeared at the gate, they were there in full chav mugging mode. This made it a bit challenging to get through the gate without being trampled, and without losing any. It’s fine being Brian Hanrahan on HMS Herpes and saying “I counted them all out and I counted them all back in,” but even pilots are easier to control than a herd of unruly sheep. Trust me, I know …

Look Luv, I'm a Herbivore.
If you don't mind, I'll get w#####ed on 'windfall' later in the season, ta.

Wot we dun to keep the sheep indoors, was to buy electric fencing and to cordon off two acres. This was a quick and easy fix using a car battery with a solar panel recharger.

Click Click, Click Click ...

You can tell it’s working, as it makes a ‘click click’ noise. Checking it felt like being an extra in ‘The Longest Day’ dropped at St Mere Eglise, and waiting for a corresponding ‘click click’ in return. Meanwhile fervently hoping it wasn’t a sausage muncher on the other side of the hedge …

Left Switzerland, Right Germany ...


The fence proved remarkably effective in keeping the eighteen, seventeen, sheep in check. You can see above how good it was, we made sure that no motorbikes were left anywhere near the sheep for fear of them having a Steve Mcqueen moment, as the week’s gone on they were certainly getting bolder. I was half expecting one of them to start dressing in womens clothes and feigning mental health issues to try and get the red cross to spring her. And here’s a picture of ‘Miss October’ specially for ‘the welshman’ just in case he’s feeling homesick.

No.69.
'Miss October'

Theres also been a good bit of wildlife to see whilst seeing to the sheep so to speak. There’s a large hare, which I’ve tried to get a snap of unsucessfully so far. I keep waiting by the entrance to the field with the camera, hoping to capture one of the oldest cinematic jokes going.

There is already some windfall in the orchard, and there looks to be a huge crop of fruit this year of apples, pears and plums. The idea is an organic process, the orchard grass is kept ‘managed’ by the sheep, at least on their side of the fence it is, the electrifying message having appeared to have made its mark. At the end of the summer we will pick the fruit and the sheep will be sent away to return with little chefs hats on the end of their rib cage. Some of the fruit will be stored for normal use, and some may be used to make a batch of Organic cider to see if the process and quantities are viable for a micro brewery. The fruit trees are polonised by a herd of bees, these are kept in three hives at the farthest end of the orchard, so in the spring and through the summer the place is a hive of activity. One or two of the sheep with a bit of ‘character’, (n.b. see your local paper Q.V. ‘local character’), have already started munching on the windfall apples that aren’t even fermenting yet. I’m really looking forward to seeing what happens when they all start wandering round with huge quantities of ‘Arkansas Black’ inside them …

Fruit stuff ...

So its the end of the week and NM has given the keys to the orchard back, and seventeen sheep. There is another orchard (pears), a field or so away from where NM’s sheep week has taken place. Its unused and may be available for rent, NM’s wondering what Perry tastes like.

No.

The drink.