We finally have some sheep here at Notaires. We’ve bought two Suffolk ewes from Edouard, the farmer who makes our hay and grows some cereals on our land. Suffolk is my county – I was born and bred in Ipswich – so I’m rather chuffed. We’re calling the girls Lavenham and Debenham after two pretty Suffolk villages not too far from my home town.
Suffolks are very popular in France. They’re a good all-rounder sheep, producing good wool and also plenty of meat.
What fate awaits our girls? Given that sheep are quite expensive, and having seen how lovely these two are, I’m now tempted to spare them from the freezer this autumn and instead invest in a ram and breed all our future supply of lamb. We have the space here.
At the moment they’re settling in. We’ve put them in the small stable for a few days so they get used to us, and us to them. They’re still slightly traumatised from the journey here and the unloading ceremony. I missed their arrival as I was on judo duty, but Chris explained that Edouard lifted and them by their front legs. He handed one to Chris to carry in, and he can now confirm that sheep are a lot heavier than they look! We’re used to lugging relatively delicate alpacas and llamas around. We’ll have to develop sheep wrestling muscles.
Before they go into a field, probably Denis and Maisie’s, we’re going to have to do a good fence check. The sole purpose in life of a sheep is to escape, I’m reliably informed by other sheep owners. We’re accustomed to boundary-respecting camelids. I dare say we have a steep learning curve ahead of us!
So I now have two of France’s nine and a half million sheep.
And a quick update … our polytunnel is nearing completion – slowly!