Behind Ewe..

Sheep 002 Wm


Visiting the agricultural show last week took me back to the time we spent renting a cottage on a sheep farm.

Mike was working some distance away, a ninety minute trip through rush hour traffic. By the time he got home he needed to chill out, so we’d got into the habit of going for a walk over the fields. Our route took us across the farm to the pig house on the far side. After a while we took on the job of the pigs’ evening feed, as we were passing. You can read about those adventures here and here.


On one particular evening it was raining. We took an umbrella. It must have looked a bit odd.  No-one else on the farm would have been seen dead with an umbrella but for us the trip was about relaxation and enjoyment, not getting soaked, and so it was deemed a necessity.

We’d got about half the way up to the pig house when a rustling in the grass made me turn around. The ewes were behind us, stretched out in a long line. Which was odd. Previously when we’d walked through their field they’d run away. We had stopped so they had stopped. We walked on a little further. So did they. We stopped again. The sheep stopped too. And the line was getting longer. More sheep were joining in all the time. The Pied Piper had nothing on us.

At the top end of the field lay a gate. We negotiated our way through, trying to keep hold of the umbrella and at the same time restrain the sheep who seemed adamant they were coming too. With much pushing and shoving the gate finally slammed shut.

The ewes were clearly unimpressed. Can anger be expressed through the medium of a bleat? It most definitely can. The gate rattled on its hinges as it was repeatedly rammed. I looked back anxiously toward the farm to see if anyone had heard. Umbrella pulled down, collars turned up, we continued on our way. It might be prudent to find another way back.


It was some days later that we crossed paths with the shepherd. He listened intently to our tale. “What colour was it, the umbrella?”


He pointed to the bags of sheep mix, neatly stacked in the corner of the barn. A grin spread across his face.

“When I go up the field I carry one or two of those on my shoulder… They’d have thought you were going to feed them.”


2017-12-01T17:35:31+00:00August 12th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. Denise August 12, 2013 at 2:18 pm - Reply

    Brilliant! A very much enjoyed lunch time giggle…thank you!

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:15 pm - Reply

      You’re very welcome. Sometimes I miss the days on the farm. No garden though.. big drawback.

  2. Simone August 12, 2013 at 2:39 pm - Reply

    Had you known you could have fed the sheep on the way to feeding the pigs! Poor sheep. No wonder they were disgruntled!

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

      I was worried about going back the next day, but without the white umbrella we were anonymous again.

  3. Marian August 12, 2013 at 2:56 pm - Reply

    Quite a story! 😉 And lovely picture…. reminds me of Wales again…. Sigh….

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Thanks Marian. I got quite fond of sheep in the end, but especially the lambs..

  4. Antoinette August 12, 2013 at 3:13 pm - Reply

    Oh brilliant LOL! I’m surprised they didn’t file a complaint for cruelty with the shepherd 😉

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Sheep are more intelligent than they look… maybe they did!

  5. justjilluk August 12, 2013 at 4:27 pm - Reply

    Great story, loved it.

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Thanks Jill.

  6. frayed at the edge August 12, 2013 at 6:07 pm - Reply

    I had wondered why the sheep in a neighbour’s field ran to the fence and followed me as I returned from my early morning walk – then one morning, somewhat later, I met the neighbour who was on his way to feed them. I was a bit upset that I had made them think they were getting breakfast long before it arrived!

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      The sheep did seem to love their feed, it looked very unappetising to me!

  7. Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    What a brilliant story of country matters,Jessica …….. I must remember to leave white out of my outfit and accessories when next walking through a field of sheep !!!!

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 7:29 pm - Reply

      You’ll be OK as long as you don’t look like you’ve got a sack on your shoulder!

      • Jacqueline August 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm - Reply

        Oh dear ……. that could be a problem Jessica !!!! XXXX

        • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 1:06 am - Reply

          You will look elegant as always.. x

  8. haggiz August 12, 2013 at 7:37 pm - Reply

    What a great story, made me giggle! I love sheep, but did find them a little bit threatening when we were in the Dales earlier in the year, as they were very protective of their lambs! Julie x

    • Jessica August 12, 2013 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      Yes, they are when they have lambs. We tried not to get too close to them then, more to avoid frightening them than anything.

  9. Sarah August 12, 2013 at 8:26 pm - Reply

    My daughter has just returned from a camping and surfing holiday with her boyfriend’s family. The sheep did something similar when her boyfriend’s Dad was walking through their field with a surf board – maybe it was the same colour as the sheep’s food too! I love reading the story about the pigs too!
    Sarah x

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 12:14 am - Reply

      Sheep following a surf board… even better!!

  10. snowbird August 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm - Reply

    Awwww, what a delightful story.xxxx

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 12:16 am - Reply

      Thanks Snowbird. Animals can surprise you in all sorts of ways!

  11. Pats. August 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm - Reply

    When we kept around 500 sheep, you didn’t walk in the field with a bucket or you were enclosed in an instant thick wooly noisy blanket. My hens and geese are bad enough now if I walk in the yards with a paper bag, which is quite often….special leftover bread/cake bit treats are greeted with wild abandon so your tale rings very true! Happy days!

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 12:21 am - Reply

      It was actually a great opportunity to get close to the sheep, I did enjoy the wooly blanket!
      And you have geese.. seriously envious now.

  12. Wendy August 12, 2013 at 10:14 pm - Reply

    A wonderful story – I can just imagine the procession across the fields, led by you and Mike. I’m in a similar situation when I have to walk through a field of horses to get to the beehives. It always reminds me of school playground games when children creep up behind someone and then they freeze when that someone turns around.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 12:25 am - Reply

      It was just like that! But I did get a shock the first time, to be met with so many pairs of eyes, all staring intently at me.

  13. John going gently August 12, 2013 at 10:15 pm - Reply

    Love her muddy knees

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 12:29 am - Reply

      The lamb’s knees are remarkably clean.

  14. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA August 13, 2013 at 1:51 am - Reply

    Love this story too. It was the post about the pigs that I first read back in February that got me following your blog.
    I was happy to go back and read it again!
    It is simple times like these that add so much to ones life, not flat screens, baubles and trinkets that fulfills us.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

      You’re so right Suzanne.

  15. CJ August 13, 2013 at 7:31 am - Reply

    A great story. I’ve just read about the pigs too, and that made me smile even more. It must have been wonderful living on a farm.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 9:37 am - Reply

      It was. We often saw lambs born and taking their first shaky steps, and I fed orphan lambs from a bottle.
      No garden of my own though, major downside!

  16. wherefivevalleysmeet August 13, 2013 at 8:22 am - Reply

    This story has conjured up lovely images for me, but how astute was that Shepherd. I am off to read about the pigs now.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 9:47 am - Reply

      He was a sharp cookie and we became great friends.
      One evening he was training a new dog in the field next to the cottage. It was not going well and many non-sheepdoggy words were being used. As he walked back up the road past the cottage Mike held out a can of lager from the kitchen door. The shepherd put out his hand, took it, and continued on his way. There were no words. But there didn’t need to be.

  17. BadPenny August 13, 2013 at 8:54 am - Reply

    That’s so lovely but a bit daunting !
    Our elderly retriever Sam who went blind in one eye would follow anyone in a light blue waterproof jacket as that’s what I wore !

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 9:48 am - Reply

      Awww, poor Sam!

  18. Anny August 13, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

    I was always reasonably ambivalent towards sheep until a few years back, when a friend and I walked the Cross Bucks Way – in three separate fields, we were intimidated, you could almost say menaced, by flocks of chunky Buckinghamshire sheep – I shall never think of them as cuddly again…

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      It’s when they start stamping their feet you have to worry.. just like any lady in a hissy fit!

  19. Jo August 13, 2013 at 11:11 am - Reply

    Awww, poor things, I bet they couldn’t understand why they weren’t getting fed. I hope it wasn’t long before the Shepherd followed with their feed.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      He couldn’t have helped but notice the commotion..

  20. Denise August 13, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply


    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 1:14 pm - Reply


  21. Natalie August 13, 2013 at 1:19 pm - Reply

    That’s such a cute story, and I LOVE the photo!

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 2:15 pm - Reply

      Thanks Natalie.

  22. Rosie August 13, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    I’d have loved to seen that processsion across the field – I was thinking of the tourist guides in London who sometimes hold up their umbrellas (unopened) to keep their party together!. Great story:)

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

      It was all the expectant little faces when we turned around that was so funny.. they crept up behind us so quietly, we didn’t know they were there!

  23. elaine August 13, 2013 at 4:24 pm - Reply

    What he said was quite true – when we wanted to move our sheep from one field to another they always responded to our shaking a feed bag and walking ahead of them – they always followed – I always felt like little Bo Peep.

    • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      At least it made them easy to move – I think these would have followed us anywhere!

  24. CherryPie August 13, 2013 at 11:40 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful tale 🙂

    • Jessica August 14, 2013 at 9:31 am - Reply

      Thanks Cherie.

  25. knitsofacto August 14, 2013 at 12:38 am - Reply

    I can just imagine the wary puzzlement on your faces!

    For your future reference, carrying a yellow sack through a pony’s field can have a similar effect!

    • Jessica August 14, 2013 at 9:33 am - Reply

      It was bizarre Annie, so many times we’d walked through that field and they’d all just run away!

  26. Pauline August 14, 2013 at 6:48 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful story, thank you for sharing it with us. Crossing fields with animals can be quite an experience as I have found a few times!

    • Jessica August 14, 2013 at 10:31 pm - Reply

      I’d have been more worried if it had been cows!

  27. ournewlifeinthecountry August 15, 2013 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    Lovely story. I can just picture it 🙂

    We used to feed our pigs from bright orange buckets and if we wanted to lead them anywhere would simply drop a handful of pig nuts into the bottom of one, the downside to this of course was that if we wanted to carry anything else around in a bucket we had to make sure it was a black one or we would have a line of pigs behind us or in a line at the fence shouting at us.

    • Jessica August 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm - Reply

      Love that story too… they always seem to get the last laugh don’t they?

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