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  • Andy

Meet shy Skully and not shy at all Stella

The yin and yang of our flock - lovely Skully moseys around quietly at the back of the flock. Stella meanwhile can be very hard work indeed.

Everyone thinks we named Skully after the character in The X Files. Nope.

See her name written down it’s immediately obvious that - like most of our sheep who have names - it’s all to do with her skull-like markings.

Stella meanwhile is named after Stella Maxwell, that most coltish of supermodels, because well Stella - the sheep - is gorgeous.

Her long narrow face, aristocratic in its fine bones and proportions. Aquiline - not equine - profile. Lively wide set eyes, rimmed above - unusually - in white. And bright, perfect teeth.

Stella has something of a supermodel temperament too. She comes out of the shearing pen fighting, invariably last because we can’t catch her. Her bleat is piercing and she aims it like a weapon.

This is not for the feint hearted but we found last year’s lamb mangled and dead in the corner of the pen. The poor thing was already sickly but we think Stella finished her off.

This year’s lambing was no less dramatic. Ring womb - where the lamb is ready to come but the cervix does not dilate - meant a trip to the vets and a cesarean in the back of the truck.

I was expecting the worst but she lay there beautifully quiet during the operation. And although her milk dried up after a few days she kept little Brucey going for his vital, first hours and even lay with him out in the field.

Now he's a right little bruiser, and yes he’s gorgeous too, with the same piercing bleat.

If all our sheep were like Stella we might have reconsidered the wool biz a long time ago but happily we have other ewes of a much gentler disposition.

Everyone, for instance, loves Skully. She moseys around quietly at the back of the flock. Has never given us a moment’s trouble. Doesn’t turn into a savage when we dole out the ‘nuts’ - compacted corn treats most sheep go crazy for - though she’s not above a headbutt or two if the others get in her way.

She also has the most endearing habit of looking at you through either one eye or the other. Perhaps she’s a bit short sighted.

Last year she popped out a giant lamb unaided but this year, despite being scanned as pregnant, seems to have reabsorbed the lamb (either that or she’s three months late). Funny that, but it does happen with sheep.

So Skully can stay forever. Sweet Stella however, if she wasn’t so gorgeous, would be on borrowed time.

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