Lamb's Tail Tale

I saw what I thought was an extra large female sallow catkin on the drive but they don't become white and fluffy until May. Sallow, goat willow or pussy willow has male and female catkins on different trees. The male catkins are just going over. I picked the object up and it was a real lamb's tail! The male catkins of hazel are known as lambs' tails. Their season is well and truly over but I decided to photograph my real lamb's tail on a hazel bush.

We greet the lambs at the farm next door every morning on our walk. I loved seeing their long tails waggling while they were suckling soon after they were born. Farmers put tight elastic bands round the lamb's tails which cuts off the circulation and the tails eventually drop off. This is done as it minimises the possibility of blowfly strike, where bot flies lay eggs in the dirty tail wool and their maggots eat the flesh of the sheep. This can cause illness or even the death of the animal. 

MrQ used to buy the dirty back-end wool of sheep, known as sheep shoddy, to incorporate into his cucumber beds, together with horse manure, in the fifties and sixties.

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