I sold 220 Beulah yearlings at a breeding sheep sale at Welshpool Livestock Market today. They were the last of my flock, which I've been selling in stages over the last year. I am no longer a sheep farmer - official. Its one of those moments in my life - like leaving school, hanging up my rugby boots and undergoing a vasectomy. I've always been a sheep farmer - until today.
It will have started when I was a toddler, feeding orphaned lambs that were being warmed in the bottom oven of our old Aga - with a baby's bottle. As soon as I could walk, I would have been carrying newly born lambs, as my father ushered their mother's out to pasture. And then later on, I would have been called on to help with a difficult birth because I would have had a boy's small hands. I remember these things. In my teens I became a contract shearer. At one stage I owned over 1,000 breeding ewes. Even when I became fully employed as a quangcrat, I always took three weeks off in March to oversee the lambing season. My most embarrassing moment was when stopped by police as taking a load of fat lambs to Llanidloes abattoir - not wearing trousers. The media coverage still comes up if you google me.
But over recent years, I've become too involved in other things. For years, I've told myself that I might return to become a sheep farmer when I retired form these other things. This is why I've kept the flock going until now. But I have finally accepted reality, and today marked the end of an era for me. The trade was good and they sold well. I suppose that I could perhaps buy another flock some day.