THE clear up linked to John’s shoot continues. Most of the pheasant feeders are home now and stacked up in the big shed. He has left a number in key locations to ensure that the birds stay in good condition for when they start to pair up. Romance will soon be in the air. Or rather all out aggression as cock pheasants compete for the most desirable hens to mate with. They do not seem to be that fussy. Game is fair game.

A lot of thought is now going into what birds will be put down for this year’s shoot. John’s plans now encompass a partridge drive. To this end he wants a big strip of maize planted so that when the poults come later in the year, he can place a release pen in there.

But for now the air is still. Well still-ish. There isn’t a season for wood pigeons, but it is accepted you shoot a few at this time of year and the beaters on the shoot have been coming down for an hour before dusk to have a pot at stray birds. Meanwhile, the pheasants stroll around unconcerned seemingly knowing they are safe.

So now John’s fancy turns to fishing and I have just received an email about the availability of a beat on the river John loves fishing in Scotland. The estate we fish on in Sutherland has been bought by a businessman, and until everything has been sorted out, we have not known whether the fishing was available or not. But then pinging through the ether this morning came an invitation to confirm the weeks we are interested in.

Although we still haven’t heard from the syndicate that John fishes with on a river in North Yorkshire, all the signs are that they will soon be requesting their fee too for this years fishing.

Meanwhile we are preparing to move the sheep today. They are about eaten up in the home paddock and as the grass has not yet started to grow, John has been checking out the fences on the field we are moving them into.

Fizz our sheepdog is excited. She senses that soon she will be bossing the hoggs around and is psyching them out through the gate. Hoggs are lambs that reach January 1 after being born in the previous year. When I first heard the expression I looked around fruitlessly for a pig or two. I was even more confused when John referred to gimmer hoggs he intended to keep for breeding purposes. Fizz could not care less. They are all fair game to her whatever they are called.