The tale of the Jacob sheep and the copper beech

Mrs J with one of her lambs.

There are sheep at the bottom of the garden.  Jacob sheep, three of them.  And not so long ago, they gave birth to lambs – five between them.  We didn’t see this domestic drama.  They visit a neighbouring farm for ante-natal and delivery services.  But a fortnight ago, they all returned home, and relished the fresh grass, newly lush after the winter.

Last week, the large and spectacular copper beech at one end of their field virtually overnight burst into leaf. Naked twigs produced swelling leaf buds, and then…. almost instantly, delicate pinky-crimson leaves, practically translucent.  The Jacob sheep eyed them with interest.  Grass is all very well, but …. young beech leaves?  Oh yes!   Well worth craning your neck for!

Yesterday afternoon, one of the ewes and her two lambs popped over to inspect me as I walked down the drive.  They thought I might be John with a bucket of food (I had neither a beard nor a bucket, and it wasn’t the right time of day, but well, it was still worth a try).  I was, as ever, a big disappointment.  But it did remind the ewe that the copper beech was there beside me, its lowest branches just about reachable.  She reached up. She selected bunches of young leaves, chewed them, ate them.  Moved on a few yards and repeated the process.  Again and again.

In a few days, those leaves will toughen up.  Got to take your pleasures while you can.  I hope her gourmandising didn’t give her a tummy ache.

I wonder if the apple tree will be next?

This is my entry for today’s Ragtag Challenge: gourmand.

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Author: margaret21

I'm retired and living in North Yorkshire, where I walk as often as I can, write, volunteer, and travel as often as I can.

24 thoughts on “The tale of the Jacob sheep and the copper beech”

  1. No one finds an interesting angle on the challenge words like you do, Margaret! The photos are wonderful–that ewe was really enjoying herself!

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  2. We have sheep and lambs at the end of our garden too, although not the Jacob variety. I love them being there but confess I do love a Sunday roast of leg of lamb and mint sauce!

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  3. I am sure the sheep would have a go at the apple tree if they could get to it. Our local Jacob sheep get driven down our lane periodically and if we leave our gate open they rush in and have a munch of crabapple leaves.


  4. That’s a surprise. I knew goats ate tree leaves suppose not that surprising then that sheep do too. Crab apple blossom looking almost as lovely as the lambs.


  5. aaawh, the joy of this, and the fantastic angle you got with this prompt, Margaret! This is pure joy and beauty – and I can see that the sheep must have hurried to get as much of this gourmet meal as it could – those leaves toughen up quickly….. Is there anything as cute as lambs in a spring field?! That’s one of my most precious memories of living in Devon, those huge fields dotted with uncountable lambs and sheep. Driving to work presented me a completely round ‘prairie’ on a hill and as per weather conditions, it was sprinkled with sheep or clumped together gatherings under trees, always peaceful, and often under an abnormally blue sky, slurred with some whipped-cream-like clouds – heaven!

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    1. Yet sadly, those cute sheep are growing up to be sheep. And sheep are, let’s face it, a bit dim. However, they do give structure to a landscape, so we’ll have to let them off.

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      1. …. AND they are lovely to eat! 😉 (sorry, a bit insensitive, but I love me some lamb….. and living in sheep-land Devon, I began to apologize to them for the fact that I liked to eat them so much!)

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