Breech births and heads back, bottles of gel, no one to care if you're starting to smell. Lambing in barns in the eye of a storm, leaving behind a snug bed that was warm.

Being so tired that you can't hardly see, not having time to even stop for a pee. Calling the vet when you don't know what's wrong, wanting to weep, but you have to stay strong.

Triplets and twins who are straggly and small, hay in the bathroom, muck in the hall. Starting to wonder if you will ever sleep, spending all night out watching your sheep.

Rings in your pockets to put around tails, bringing the flock in if it's blowing a gale. Fingers stained purple with iodine spray. Up in the night, then working all day.

Trying your best to get orphans to suck, crying when you seem to run out of luck. Doing your best for all of the flock, not having time to look at the clock.

Giving your all to provide local fresh meat. Lovely sweet lamb for a Sunday roast treat. It's lonely at times and the hours can be tough, but just being a shepherd is more than enough.

Jan Millward©