Saturday, 4 October 2008

My week!

The big news of the week is that Autumn being here, the sheep have come. Hefted Swaledales, they have spent the Summer on "the tops" - high in the fells, roaming at will in the huge expanse of moorland around The Buttertubs - the pass that links Wensleydale and Swaledale. When the weather begins to close in up there they are gathered in and brought down to our relatively low land (600ft asl) for the Winter.
"Yippee," they think initially, "proper grass!" as they tumble and leap out of the cattle truck into lush grass the likes of which they haven't seen since last Winter. Once they have had their fill a few times they suddenly notice that there are stone walls around and they are hemmed-in. That's when they begin to plot to break out.
One got into the field with the Middleham racehorses early in the week. This morning one had joined the flock in a field belonging to our farmer neighbour and one was knee deep in the boggy ground in our little plantain, having broken the fence and crossed the beck to get there.
Stone walls present no deterrent. These sheep are nothing if not nimble. So I'll look out of the kitchen window and four or five will be playing tig along the top of a stone wall, teetering, knocking off stones and then probably jumping down on the wrong side.
After a few weeks they settle down for a fairly trouble-free Winter, although one or two of them have a nasty habit of suddenly dying for no apparent reason.
I intended to post a photograph of them this morning, but today is wet and windy; I don't feel like taking my camera up to the fields and they are all huddled along the shelter of the stone walls, having conveniently forgotten they are supposed to be moorland sheep who spend a lot of their lives in a howling gale.
This week I have been making an effort to improve the quality of my writing by trying to cut down on wordage. I know my greatest fault is "waxing lyrical", so I have spent the week trying to write haiku (5,7,5 syllables) in the hopes that it will tighten up my poetry. I leave you with one which I hope reflects Autumn (which has well and truly arrived here in The Dales).

On wet, black branches,
like lights on a Christmas tree,
red crab-apples glow.

17 comments:

Reader Wil said...

The quality of your writing is excellent and the haiku is very good. I am looking forward to seeing your sheep photo!
My croc in the header is only there till Monday. I put it there for my Camera Critters together with the sidebar photos of its habitat. Louis la Vache thought it was his former father-in-law( lol)

Crafty Green Poet said...

I like your description of the sheep and your haiku, though haiku in English don't need to be 5-7-5 they can be less, as Japanese syallables are so different than English syllables.

acornmoon said...

Oh but I love your wordage! I have been working on a textile design this week, featuring sheep.They are lovely creatures to draw with their very decorative coats.I hope you post some pictures of them. Do you have any cows? Or is that a very silly question to ask a sheep farmer? By the way I love Richard Dadd's paintings, so weird and wonderful.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I adore the poem! But I never tire of reading your posts. Edward and I look forward to seeing photographs of those nimble and crafty sheep!
Wishing you a pleasant Sunday tomorrow!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thank you Reader Wil - pleased the croc is going - I do like him/her but when I click on to your site I look forward to those windwills appearing. Today it is sunny so shall try to photograph the sheep.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks c.g.p. for that note on haiku - I often have such difficulty in getting absolutely the right number of syllables - shall be a bit more free with them in future!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks acornmoon. Yes I agree about sheep. We did have a milking herd but we were one of the farms to get Foot and Mouth so they were all destroyed. Awful time. We do have some limousin heifers eating our grass off at present. When I go out into the field today (lovely sunny morning) to photograph the sheep I will try and take one of the heifers too.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Pamela - it is a lovely sunny morning, so shall photograph today. Glad you like my writing - a bit of praise gives me a boost to try harder!

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks c.g.p. for the comment about haiku - I often have great difficulty in getting the exact number of syllables - shall be a bit freer in future.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks acornmoon. We did have cows but we had foot and mouth disease so they were all destroyed. Terrible time. We do have some limousin heifers eating our grass though, so shall try to take a photograph when I go out later this morning to photograph the sheep. Lovely day here.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Note to you all! Something went wrong and I thought my comments had not been saved! Sorry but you have got two similar comments. My skills are not brilliant and I can't see how to remove the second lot - don't want to remove everything at the touch of the wrong button!!

Pat Posner said...

I love reading your posts, Weaver, be they long or short *smile*. The farmer has sent a lot more sheep down to 'ours' now. Sandra Sheep is still Tessa B's best friend though some of the others seem to want to nuzzle her, too.
Your Tess has grown a lot. She's gorgeous.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Thanks Pat. Tess says thank you for saying she is gorgeous! I am afraid that she still wants to chase anything on four legs be it rat, rabbit or sheep - so she is having stern lessons from the farmer at present.

ranaverde said...

Oh, I like both prose and poem - I can see the impish sheep on the wall, and the crab apples gleaming. :)

Lucy Corrander said...

I like the haiku a lot - though I'm glad Wordsworth was never tempted.

(It suddenly strikes me Coleridge might have taken to them.)

I appreciate that you are working on your own writing. That's one of the pleasantly challenging things about blogs. No-one expects us to be great authors but it is, none the less, a place and an opportunity for such discipline.

(And, perhaps unlike Acorn Moon, I particularly like tight prose.)

(I hasten to add this is not to say I don't like your starting place!)

I'm homesick, reading your posts.

I've never lived in Yorkshire - but I miss daily cows and sheep and I wish I lived closed to a proper, rushing river.

Lucy

The Weaver of Grass said...

Interesting what you say, Lucy. I do find it a good discipline to keep putting something on my blog. I try to write something fresh rather than use something I wrote a long time ago. I think a large part of the skill of writing is the discipline or writing even if you don't have anything particular to say. Also I find haiku are tightening my tendence to write too much. Thanks for visiting.

Robyn said...

Beautiful haiku!