May 2 2013

Spring is here!

What is your favourite thing about Spring? What plans do you have to enjoy it?

I’m not sure I have a favourite thing about Spring. I don’t even really think about Spring as a season particularly. I live in Scotland – we have Winter and the 2 days inbetween.

Of course, I’m aware of baby animals, flowers, the whole circle of life thing but it doesn’t really impact on my life in any way. There are various things that happen around the start of spring every year, but they are not connected in any fundamental way to the season. My sister’s birthday, the annual Join Me get-together in Nottingham – Good Good Friday, but really it’s just life as usual.

The only noticable difference really is that car journeys get a bit louder. Myself and Mrs Worm have a bad habit of shouting at things while we’re in the car. Often other cars, but also various other phenomena. Some of our favourites involve sheep.

There are three main ‘shouts’:

  1. Mint sauce!
  2. Rebel sheep
  3. Cheaty sheep!

These may need a little explanation.

Mint Sauce
This is probably self-explanatory. Mint sauce is a very common accompinament to lamb. Mrs Worm is somewhat addicted to mint sauce (best made with onions in it, plenty of vinegar) but in a sort of pseudo-mocking way, and slightly cruel I suppose, when we see a field full of lambs, we shout – Mint sauce!

Rebel Sheep

Surprisingly, this is nothing to do with Star Wars. Overall, most of the sheep in a field will end up facing in the same general direction – mainly due to slope of the land etc. Often you will come across a whole field of sheep facing the same way apart from one off at the side somewhere who is facing in completely a different direction. Rebel sheep! (also works with cows)

Cheaty Sheep
This is simply a sheep that is kneeling down. Most sheep stand up to chew grass, but for some reason, every now and then, they kneel down.

Sheep kneeling
(image courtesy of Soil Net)

This is clearly cheating.

This also leads to the corollory shout – Super Cheaty Sheep! when they go the whole way and lie down while eating. I guess this is the sheep equivalent of breakfast in bed.

There is one additional ‘shout’ that only comes around every now and then, and very much depends on the movement of sheep between fields, the type of farm, and the whims of the farmer.

Bondage Sheep
This is a much rarer spotting. The full explanation is quite long, but basically, in order to keep track of which sheep have been inseminated by a ram, and when (so they know roughly when the lambs are due) farmers will often fit a ram with a harness, called a raddle or raddle bag (or several other things). This contains a kind of paint, and when the ram mounts the sheep, it leaves a paint mark on the sheep’s back. If you see a field of sheep with paint blobs on their hindquarters – this is often the reason why (although farmers also use paint marking for other reasons, so it’s not always the reason – often these marks are more on the shoulders) They can vary the paint colour to track sheep serviced at various times and so on, it’s really quite an elegant system.

What isn’t elegant is the harness. The poor old ram looks like he’s wearing a BDSM harness – hence – Bondage sheep!

Sheep Crayon

We really are quite childish.

One comment on “Spring is here!

  1. Pingback: Blog Every day in May: One Whole Month! | Under A Glass Sky

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