Chapter 1: Tractoring / Chapter 3: Shopping / Chapter 4: Wilding / Chapter 5: Pan(dem)icking / Chapter 6: Melting / Chapter 7: Fluffing / Chapter 8: Harvesting (Looking for my review? It’s here.)
Three hundred acres on Jeremy’s farm are uncultivated meadows, with DEFRA paying him not to grow crops on it. Rather than undertake a yearly mow, Jeremy decides to get some sheep to keep the grass down instead.
He goes to a market to buy the sheep but they all look alike. He is helped by Kevin from the National Sheep Association who suggests the North Country Mule sheep, which are a good starter flock, as they lamb easily and are good mums. Kevin also tells him he needs fences, as sheep will jump over walls and escape. Jeremy spends £11,000 at the sheep auction, buying ewes sheep.
Back at the farm he spends £2,700 on a self-assembly electric fence. The sheep arrive! Jeremy is happy looking at them in his field. After a few days they have to be moved to another field; they’ve recently been wormed so the current field is now full of diseased sheep faeces. He uses a drone that barks like a dog to herd the sheep into another field. The drone costs £2,500, much cheaper than a very good sheepdog, and seems to work. Later he discovers two of his sheep are lame.
Delwyn the vet finds there are actually four lame sheep; he gives them antibiotics and painkillers. A few days later the flock must be moved to another new field as they’ve eaten the old one. They hop the dry stone wall instead. “I fucking hate sheep… I cannot wait to eat them,” says a frustrated Jeremy after a fruitless attempt to round them up. They break a wall, so Jeremy has to bring in local dry stone wall builder/repairer Gerald.
Jeremy wants to get the water troughs on the farm going. He’s given a 1922 map of the underground network of water pipes for the original estate, of which Jeremy’s farm was then a part. Luckily one of the film crew is a Druid and teaches Jeremy water divining. It works!
Jeremy realises there must be an old tank somewhere, feeding the pipes, and it must be on high ground. At his farm’s highest point he finds it, and it stinks. He brings in some people with a transportable water tank to test if it works and it does — the troughs fill with water.
The two rams, or as Jeremy calls them STDs (scrotal transportation devices) arrive. They do have enormous scrotums: the scrotal sack of one is 38cm round. Jeremy names them Wayne Rooney and Leonardo diCaprio.
A few days later the rams are to be put in the field with the ewes. Kevin is there, and Jenny the vet, and they find three of the ewes have udder abscesses. They can’t be used for breeding as they wouldn’t be able to produce enough milk. The rams are put in harnesses which put a coloured mark on the back of a ewe so they know which have been impregnanted by each ram. The swaggering rams are sent off to the ladies. Jeremy realises he needs a shepherd. He’s also told by Kevin that the three unwell sheep will need to be killed.
It rains for three weeks.
Jeremy employs a shepherd, Ellen. They need to see which ewes are now pregnant. Nearly all have been tupped and Wayne has managed twice as many as Leo. Cheerful Charlie explains the economics of sheep owning; Jeremy is going to lose money on them and will be spending up to £10k a year for them to cut his grass.
Jeremy finds a spring and he and Kaleb run a pipe from the spring to the tank, using a “mole” machine to lay the pipe underground and rebury it in one motion. It works and the troughs can be filled with water, though the sheep aren’t that interested.
Jeremy takes the three sheep to the abattoir. He’s upset and struggles with what a sheep farmer has to do, then when he goes to say goodbye to them discovers they’ve already been killed. Later he eats a shepherd’s pie, presumably made from the sheep.
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