Powerless – The Year the Lights Went Out

Saturday, February 1 – Bleating in the brambles

When I was feeding the hens this morning I heard a pathetic bleat from the field. I was surprised as the sheep all seemed to be gathered at the southern end in the sunshine, near the field shelter. Then I heard it again and went round the back of the henhouse to look and saw a small black sheep standing alone in a dark wet part of the field.

This seemed strange so I climbed over the fence and walked towards it slowly. The sheep made to run away, but then I saw it was caught fast in brambles. When I came closer it tried to run again but fell onto its side in a pool of water. One thick strand was twined around its middle, embedded deep in its wooly fleece and a second string was caught around a back leg, effectively hobbling the poor thing. I had to pull hard on the brambles to set it free and then it stood unsteadily and stumbled away to join the flock.

I walked up to find Neil and he was checking the sheep in the second field, after another dose of medication. Their eyes are quite clear now and he is convinced it was caused by liver fluke and not the feed.

Before going off to the pub for the Saturday market I checked on the dead pig. There are signs that the foxes have begun the task of dealing with the body as it has moved from where we placed it last week and the abdomen has been torn open and emptied. They will return every night from now on until every part, even the squeal, as they say, has gone.

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