From the Rhiwlas Diaries / Monday 14th April 1980

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The entries here are as written, but edited from longer entries. They do not profess to be from ‘an expert’ rather from a newcomer observing for the first time. They include aspects of farming and also of photography.

The images interposed within the text are those taken on the day the diary was written.

Morning

Sheep round in the morning with Tegwyn up on to the top of the hill. Checking the Ewes and lambs – no complications and all going very smoothly – Some barons about, ewes without lambs. Every corner dip and bush has to be checked to make sure there is no ewe in difficulty – This takes about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. When we had done this we joined up with Emrys Edwards, the bailiff, and began sorting some of the sheep and lambs from one field to another. The aim being two fold; to bring the sheep that have yet to give birth closer to the farm for convenience and also so that Emrys will not have as far to go on his sheep round.

Met Clwyd, the cowman, learnt a hell of a lot. Ten photographs taken (Pentax KM 55mm) You’ve got to understand what’s going on before you take a lot of pictures otherwise you find yourself in the wrong place at the right time – but by watching without taking, better pictures will come along.

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Afternoon

Afternoon – First spent driving two cows to the field where the bull is – all entrances must be covered and I did my bit. Then down to the low fields to bait moles, which can be a serious nuisance if not kept in check – one mole can ruin an awful lot of ground. Baited by finding the tunnel and putting a poisoned ( strychnine) worm into it – spent about three hours doing this and we just about covered all the lower fields, with the help of a tractor. Not a particularly easy thing to photograph, the tunnels seem so insignificant.

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Evening

Sheep round in the evening started about 6.00pm, again same route covered as in the morning and initially with no complications – Just when we were nearing the farm Tegwyn spotted a ewe in some difficulty – experience and sharpness and with the help of Belle he cornered it and started to try and assist with the birth, the lamb was in a horseshoe position instead of feet and head first. It was a case for the vet. Off then to Bala to the vets. There are two vets, Davies and Bert Hawkins – the later having learnt Welsh. Davies was off duty so we went to the lake end of the town to Hawkins. the lamb was born with the odd heart beat but died. The ewe was cleared and the ewe and the dead lamb placed in the box on the tractor.

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Film A1 – FP4 rated 125