Living the Dream: Mabel the sheep relocates to her ‘forever’ home

Shaun and Wendy McKenna.  Pic: Lucy Oates.
Shaun and Wendy McKenna. Pic: Lucy Oates.
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It’s not every day that you expect to be woken up by such an array of vocal entertainment, but it seems that at the moment ‘Finn’ the pheasant is on top form.

He parades up and down the top of the hedge each morning giving his lungs a right good workout. He does throw in a few ‘moves’ too from time to time, which have obviously done the trick, as he now has a little lady alongside him, wherever he goes.

Baking was never one of those things that I associated with Wendy in our previous life. It would come about from time to time, but never with any regularity. That has all changed and everyone in the house agrees that her new found love for baking is a very welcome addition around here. I’m a lucky man to be able to walk into the house around 8am after sorting the animals out and be greeted with the almost heavenly smell of freshly baked hot cross buns, banana bread and victoria sponge; you can’t go wrong with that can you? That’s unless I think about my waistline and the fact that I have just 89 days to get it in some sort of shape for our daughter’s wedding. It’s a tough life.

After many months of eager anticipation, our new shepherd hut arrived on the farm. It was like a military operation getting the hut off the trailer onto its axles and wheels and into position, but the folks from The Yorkshire Hut Company clearly knew what they were doing. It was exciting to see the finished structure after so much discussion, with so many choices having been made about colours of exterior and interior and style choices of everything from tiles to coat pegs from work tops to light fittings.

It is now my job to get it plumbed in, the electric connected up and some additional landscaping sorted out around the exterior. Then it will be Wendy’s job to sort the soft furnishings and finishing touches, to get it ready for all those lucky people to come and visit us down on the farm, in the coming months.

Hospitality is yet another world we haven’t ventured into previously, as neither of us have worked in that field at all and if nothing else, we know what good customer service means and will endeavour to deliver that, at all costs.

Our shepherd hut wasn’t the only arrival on the farm this week, Mabel came to stay too.

The other day, a car pulled in through the front gate and a lady got out and walked purposefully down the field towards Wendy, who was in the process of replanting fruit trees.

You could see that this lady was on a mission and after a little while I wandered over, as my nosiness had got the better of me.

The story goes that this lady, who had visited our place a few times last summer, regularly helped out a small sheep farmer who was in the process of switching his sheep breeds, from Southdowns to Texels. As part of this process, the remaining flock were going off to market or for meat but he was keen to find a forever home for Mabel, who is a fully grown Southdown, but is only the size of a very young lamb.

After discussing things with her friends they decided that we should be her new forever home. Well, we thought for all of about five seconds and said yes and I picked up the woolly ball of fluff on Saturday.