Three pet sheep and a long Latin name

On Saturday, we moved our pet sheep down from the fields by the bike park to the little paddock opposite the stable. Where they were before they had access to far too much grass. We were concerned for their health. Also, the oldest of them, Blackberry, has recurring foot issues and we wanted to be able to keep an eye on her.

Getting them down to the farmyard was an interesting operation, facilitated mostly by shaking a bucket of sheep nuts. We were also assisted by three small herders, two six-year-olds and a three- year-old. We are now re-familiarising ourselves with how vocal the sheep are.

Over the last few days, bird noise has intensified, but the air has become much clearer of ovine bleating and calling, (from the fields of neighbouring farmers and smallholders). Our three – Blackberry, Gwyneth and Gwilym – are filling the sheep noise vacuum.

The sheep paddock is also close to the new flower bed and to the tyres where we’ve planted seed potatoes. The potatoes, so far, are not doing very well, but I have hopes for the little shrub we planted just pre-lockdown. I’ve always loved any flowers, plants or trees with variegated leaves. Pittosporum tenuifolium variegatum. I don’t know if it has a non-Latin name. We had one before, two houses ago, and it was an absolute corker.

There were lots of odd things about that house. It was beautiful but in the wrong place. It sat awkwardly in a garden which had had two chunks bitten out of it in the name of property development. We planted the pittosporum just after moving in. In the nine years we lived there, it flourished. It grew from a tiny plant to a huge, healthy specimen over eight or nine feet tall. I’m hopeful about this one…

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