The Owl and The Pussy Cat

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea In a beautiful 'red and white'(!) boat, They took some honey, and plenty of money, Wrapped up in a five pound note. The Owl looked up to the stars above, And sang to a small guitar, 'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love, What a beautiful Pussy you are, You are, You are!What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

Edward Lear

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Been at the farm too long now!

I haven't written for a few days. I think that by day seven it was all becoming routine and I wasn't excited about it anymore. As I mentioned, I also got busy with a bit of gardening, visiting West Town Farm, visiting my auntie, singing friday night, and cooking a meal for a few friends on Saturday night. I'll try and do a bit more farming stuff here, but I think I'll have to mostly use pen and paper from now on as typing is just too tedious!
Things are quieting down a bit on the farm now. Only about 6 suffolks to turn out today and son and farm lad loading mules out of pens and ferrying them away, then on with my usual pen bedding/watering/haying. Farmer was at market again today, so the three of us were kind of running the show together. It's quite entertaining to watch the dynamice, because technically son has the most authourity, but he's not really involved with the sheep a lot, so he's trying to organise us to get various jobs done but needs to also check with lad and I what needs doing. They also need the quad bike for various jobs so today I get to tell them where I want bales of hay and straw and they do it for me, so no bale wrestling for me today, well, not as much as usual anyway. When I've finished pens the lad and I go out to the 'singles field' (the one that's full of ewes with one lamb) to drive down the mules with their lambs and leave the suffolks. We do a much better job of it than last time we had to do it. Mind you there are a lot less sheep to move, so that may have made it easier.
Then we go off to round up newborn lambs. The weather has been so fantastic this year that the mules have all been left to lamb outside and have only been brought in if there is a problem or if it's a triplet. This morning son and lad went to check the mules and found five lambs scattered about and four ewes milling about not sure which one was theirs. It's quite common for a ewe about to lamb in the next hour or so to suddenly become very interested in newborn lambs, and some ewes will try and claim any lambs in the vicinity. If the mother of the fresh lamb is involved in having the next one she might not notice baby number one being stolen. Ewes lambing in close proximity to each other will also just generally get lambs mixed up. This morning they had spread the ewes and lambs a bit furthur apart in the field and hoped they got the right lambs with the right ewes. They seemed to have all settled down, nicely spaced out around the field with two lambs each,so our job was to load them in the trailer a ewe and two lambs at a time and ferry them across to anothet field. Some ewes, particularly older ones will run up the ramp into the trailer after their lambs. Younger ewes are much more suspicious and, if they can't be coaxed and cajouled up into the trailer have to be grabbed and manhandled into the trailer. I tend to avoid this if at all possible as at 48 I find wrestling with a large mule jolly hard work! Farm lad is 16, young and keen and happy to wrestle a mule almost as big as he is (he's a stocky lad but not very tall) into the trailer. I stand by, pop the lambs in and shut the trailer ramp. We load and ferry about 5 or 6 ewes and leave the triplet untill last as she will go back to the farm with us and into the shed. When we go back to collect the second to last double she has decided that she'd quite like a third lamb and is milling about by the triplet, enticing one away. Fourtunately the triplets are so fresh that they are all still wet, and the double has dry lambs, so it's easy for us to separate them. Had they both had wet or dry lambs we might have had trouble sorting out the muddle.
I didn't have a camera today, but here is a picture taken yesterday of some of the lambs born two weeks ago. I had a look for 23 but couldn't see her. That's no. 5 on the left so these are pretty much the same age.
They'll be lamb chops in no time, yum yum!

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