Sunday, July 10, 2005


The sheep are growing fast now. They arrive in a cloud of dust stirred by their 2000 feet. In there wake, the cattle egrets feed on the grasshoppers and crickets they have disturbed.

In the finca I can see that two ewes are looking distressed. They are either side of the boundry tape seperating our land from the adjoining field. Francisco is sat on a wall in the shade with the two sheepdogs at his feet; he is across the field from the two ewes and waves to me. As I walk towards the distressed animals intending to lower the boundry tape and reunite them, I notice that the ewe in the field has afterbirth hanging from her rear end. Lying very still in the barley stubble is a small lamb. The lamb is exposed to the baking sun and showing no sign of life. I wave to Francisco to attract his attention, he waves back at me as if in greeting. Beckoning more urgently results in Fransisco crossing the field towards me. He looked upon the lamb without concern and told me that had been born within the last hour and would be ok. It was he said, the sixth lamb to be born in the last two days. He took the tiny animal by its rear legs and dangled it over his shoulder ride for the long journey home.

As the two dogs rounded up the straying sheep I remarked that the herd were looking well.

' Sí bueno, pero en un más mes, de muerto!' as he spoke he drew his right hand across his throat in a cutting motion.

The sheep we watered each day, which grazed on our land amongst the rosemary and mint were nearer their life journeys end.

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