Sheep get makeover for mar­ket

Sunday Mirror (Northern Ireland) - - News - @Aman­daOwen8 By Amanda Owen Rais­ing 9 chil­dren.. & 1,000 sheep

THE har­vest of the hills is in full swing, the auc­tion marts are awash with sheep.

Farm­ers from all over the coun­try descend upon our two lo­cal mar­ket towns, Hawes and Kirkby Stephen, look­ing to buy the hardy sheep off the hill farms.

We have spent the week preen­ing our sheep so they look their best in the ring.

Un­tidy hairs around their eyes are care­fully plucked out with tweez­ers. The re­sult­ing neat look is a di­rect con­trast to my own bushy brows.

The chil­dren help wash their faces with warm wa­ter, soap and a big sponge. Rins­ing is a highly prized task. All NEW EWE Sheep wash the chil­dren want to be in charge of the hose.

The re­cently speaned (weaned) gim­mer (fe­male) lambs that we are keep­ing to re­plen­ish our flock have also been re­ceiv­ing at­ten­tion.

They need vac­ci­na­tions be­fore tak­ing a win­ter hol­i­day in the sun­nier, warmer and grassier Eden Val­ley.

They will re­turn to Ravenseat in April when, hope­fully, the snow will have melted.

The stream of walk­ers and vis­i­tors to the farm has dwin­dled this week and from now on we con­cen­trate on the sheep: it’s six months of deal­ing with tourists and six months of soli­tude deal­ing with the sheep.

It is over the com­ing six months that the sheep need their shep­herd the most and, al­though I don’t wish to seem an­ti­so­cial, I am thor­oughly look­ing for­ward to it.

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