Andy R wrote:
What have I been doing? Digging sheep out of snow drifts.
Our sheep population will have been decimated, it's pretty much a national disaster.
really sorry to hear this. my heart goes out to you and other farmers.
Thanks VJM - although I'm not a farmer, I am
a farmer's son and I can't stand by and do nothing while others, many of who I know personally, are struggling to rescue what livestock they can.
I was out for seven hours yesterday with a group of about eight in the hills above Kirk Michael, searching three fields, about 25 acres in total I suppose. Out of about 100 head of ewes in those fields around 40 were still on their feet and moving around as best they could, so we dragged some feed up to them on plastic sledges and then set to probing and digging for the remainder.
However, with drifts to the leeward side of gorse hedges (where the sheep would shelter) up to 3 metres deep it's always going to be a tough job - we only managed to find 10 ewes and of those two died soon after being dug out.
Precious little reward for a day's back-breaking work, but then you have to try.
The sheep in the snow is the first one found - there was actually another one immediately in front of it but that one was in worse shape and died after being recovered.
Then the survivors had to to be brought down to where a vehicle is able to recover them from - again on sledges or in 1 tonne tote bags.
The heartbreaking thing is knowing that there are another 50 buried in those fields, some still alive and all in lamb. The poor sods. The search is being scaled down now as, with every day that passes, the chance of finding anything alive decreases.
A big group of around 170 volunteers were out yesterday on the lower slopes of North Barrule and managed to rescue 300 head of sheep, so that was a superb effort. Many of those were employees of banks and other financial institutions who were released (with pay) to go and search after an appeal for more help from farmers.
A few photos from yesterday - crappy mobile phone ones only, as I was there to dig, not take pictures. We brought the sheep across the fields to the nearest house with road access, where a very kind lady (in the purple jacket) gave us some horse rugs to cover them with while we waited for the farmer to collect them. It had just started snowing again....
Whenever I think that I had problems - digging ourselves, our neighbours and my in-laws out, trying to save my workshop roof from collapse, still having four feet of snow in our garden - well, it's bugger all compared to what some will have to deal with.The Sheep Under the SnowDonations