I live on a small farm with my soon-to-be-husband Noah. His family owns a small herd of sheep and our first lamb was born a week ago. He might be the cutest lamb I have ever seen and looks a lot like his father, with floppy ears and a flat face. Lambs are the best thing about sheep. Sheep, at least our sheep, are twitchy creatures, rather distrustful of their human owners, impossible to herd and every day at feeding time it is like they have never seen you before. A little lamb however has all its trusting innocence, it is curious, lets me pick it up, and it has a sweet little bleat.
These sheep are the reason that gardens and farmers initially built hedgerows and fences. In William Robinson's book, the Wild Garden, there is a lengthy discussion on the merits of live fences versus iron fences. "In our country the system of keeping stock in the open air, instead of in sheds, makes a fence a necessity... But we live in mechanical days, when many think that among the blessing and fine discoveries of the age is that of making a gridiron fence! and so we see some of the fairest landscapes disfigured by a network of iron fencing. And when a man throws away beautiful living fences and gives us miles of ugly iron in the foreground of a fair landscape, I think of the Devil setting up as an economist. Artistic, too, no doubt some of these improvers think themselves!" Robinson is vehemently opposed to these iron fences and he goes on in the next chapter titled "Oak and Other Not Ugly Fencing"....! It does make me think about the origins of our hedges, fences, gates, and of course, the ha-has. These beautiful structures in all our gardens once served very practical means. Still in the English countryside, gardens such as Hidcote are surrounded by acres of sheep pastures. The hedges, ha-has, and fences are still a necessity in keeping the sheep out.
Sheep just beyond the borders of Hidcote Manor Gardens