12.6.06

Sheep stampede

I juddered along the dirt track on my skinny racing bike, skidding to a halt as a big SUV turned the corner; I preferred to dismount than get bulldozed. But it stopped and its driver beckoned me to come through. Greying pitch black hair, ruddy weathered cheeks, and twinkling eyes, she came over as I bumped my way over the stones.
"There's sheep coming m'dear" I got off my bike, and listened. sure enough, in the distance could be heard the frantic bleatings of sheep on the move.
"You can go past them, they won't hurt you. But I thought you might want to wait"
And wait I did, passing idle chit chat with the farmer (as she was), establishing that I was 'local' (ish) and not some passing tourist. Then the first dingy white heads came bobbing along the lane, frisking up the dust. The farmer reckoned there were about 300, incuding growing lambs. They were shorn and ready for summer grazing. As the leaders tumbled into the field, bleating their anxiety as sheep do, the pace picked up and soon the track was a shifting stream of creamy clippered backs and flopping black ears.


It seemed to take ages for them to pass, but it was only 5 minutes. Picking up the rear, a couple of sunburnt labourers and the shepherd, in traditional costume of jeans and a tee-shirt, his sheepdog eager and busy, doing the job she loved.
I said goodbye, but they were already scanning the field of stock. As I pushed my bike up the track, the SUV passed and we waved at each other as they returned to the farm, the men almost falling out of the open back, the dog happily lolling her tongue in a big grin.


9 comments:

John Nez said...

Funny story!

Reminds me of the time we were in Yellowstone National Park and in a rainstorm driving towards the Old Faithful Inn. All the cars in the other lane kept flashing their lights and honking when we passed... couldn't figure out why. Until there, around a hairpin corner stood the reason. A one ton Buffalo was standing there sideways directly in the middle of the road! And he warn't moving for nothing!

Now that's my kind of traffic jam!

Those pictures are lovely... looks like you're having one of those Mediterranean summers.

Here in the foggy pacific northwest it's still rain every bleeping day and more rain and more gray and more clouds with the occasional sunbreak. The temperature is warmer than March however, if that's any consolation.

Summer doesn't start here till July 5th....


jn

tlc illustration said...

John is not kidding about our summer starting date!

That is *not* something we would be seeing in my neck of the woods! A flock on crows on the road maybe...

PG said...

Yes, we are enjoying what we consider to be a heatwave...can't believe you've still got rain, how gloomy.
I think if I saw buffalo I would be a 'bit' worried - we don't have such big things over here (apart from in wildlife parks)

Joanna said...

How fun, I love waiting for the sheep to pass. Not so much luck on my little trip out on my bike in the rain!

John Nez said...

Well the buffalo are as tame as dairy cows actually. They just loll around harmlessly. In fact the reason that dumb bull bison stood in the road, I later found out, was just to get his picture taken... and probably tourists toss him the occasional donut.

Anyhow, it's amazing to see you have Queen Anne's Lace already sprouted against a meadow of dry grass. We have to wait till July and August for that.

Gorgeous photos... I guess it can be picturesque out in the Middle of Nowhere. I'll have to move there before too long...

printability tat said...

Hello, I just popped over from Muddy red shoes but I see you often on Donnas blog, hello...You have a lovely blog and I was really happy to see a link to Lily and Agathe on your site, for that I thank you.... The link isn't working though, I checked the tool bar and you have something odd on the end....I think you just need to enter the web address again or am I being bossy? Just seems a shame to have a link and it not work.. I love your illustrations also. I started a new blog because I love vintage childrens illustrations, you are very clever...

PG said...

Link sorted! DUHH!!! Sorry...

Becky said...

Wonderful, I can very nearly hear the bleats! The image of the sheepdog grinning happily is lovely, one of life's great pleasures, a happy doggy.

I once came very nearly bumper to nose (snout?) with a cow in the middle of a winding lane near home, she wasn't at all bothered, and wandered up to have a sniff. She'd certainly made me jump though! Think I would've jumped clean out of my skin to see a buffalo!

Heels said...

I would love to have had that moment, if that makes sense at all. It sounds lovely.