This morning I decided that I wanted to do a post about sheep. I have a wonderful old book which is grubby, worn, well-thumbed, and is full of sheep. There are approximately 700 pages showing these same illustrations...
It also contains a couple of pages of
the many and varied ways in which ears can be marked. Ouch, ouch and ouch.
It is the Shepherds' Guide and gives a proper delineation of the Wool, Horn and Ear Marks of all the Members' Sheep. It probably dates from the 1930's.
It is a book you could fall asleep reading - and yet, despite that, I am fond of it, because it has had a busy and useful existence, unlike so many other books which languish on shelves, unloved and unread.
The day progressed and took on a different shape to that which I had planned. We took young Harry on another long walk through the snowy fields and along the river - we all enjoy it. It was late afternoon when we set off, the sun was low and the ice crystals in the snow were beautifully illuminated. The fields sparkled.
It was -2 degrees and very cold. We ended up singing and marching to keep ourselves warm - I hope no one heard us as we ran through all the marching songs we could remember, including 'The Grand Old Duke of York', countless times. No doubt we sounded awful, but they did the job and we kept warm and made good progress.
We were well wrapped up, but even so we needed all those songs.
It was beautiful. We thoroughly enjoyed it, and best of all we still had to pay a visit to Arnold before going home. We marched on, and on. We also sang on.
Arnold must have heard us, for he was waiting with his sheep friends. As ever this delightful old horse was happy to see us, frisking us for treats, gently pushing and nudging, playful and kind. He was obviously thrilled that we had Harry with us and paid special attention to him.
I love watching Arnold take apples from Harry - he takes such care not to nip him! Where he gives us friendly nudges he stands stock still for Harry to stroke him. He is a truly gentle horse.
John, his owner, came hobbling out as we left. He was warmly wrapped up, but looked very wan and pale. He wanted to tell us about his accident earlier today. While he was putting hay out for the sheep and Arnold he bent down and the black sheep with horns got a bit eager and jumped up, cracking his horns against John's head. Poor old John. Not the sort of thing you need at any age, let alone when you are in your mid-90's.
He got himself back to the house and dialled for assistance. He was eventually checked over at the hospital and allowed home, providing someone stays with him for 24 hours. A lovely lady from the village has agreed to do that.
We have told him that we are more than happy to sort out the sheep and look after Arnold for him, until he feels better. However, he is a wonderfully strong and independent man and insisted that he could manage, because that is his nature. We'll check up on them all tomorrow, give him a helping hand, if he will let us.
We'll certainly be watching out for the horned headbanger though.