Monday, 11 March 2013

Lambing time, Cardiff School Visit Anticipated,

We are in the throes of lambing and though there have been some losses on the whole it is going reasonably well. Some of the lambs are very big and the Farmer has had to intervene to help the ewe produce her enormous child but with a good outcome each time. For one ewe that had lost her lamb we managed to find orphans from elsewhere to adopt onto the ewe  and they have taken very successfully to their new mother.
Today I found a ewe out in the field with a pair of new born twins sheltering under a hedge, all quite happy and healthy despite the bitter cold. It has been just so cold today with flurries of snow but lambs can cope with cold,  its wet that is the killer so this dry cold weather is fine for the sheep. Newly lambed ewes are brought in for a couple of days anyway just to make sure that they are mothering their lambs properly and then they go out into the chilly sunshine.

With the lovely dry weather of recent days the Farmer & Elder Son have been able to get on with field work, slurry spreading, muck-spreading (there is difference between the two!) and then chain harrowing to distribute the muck more evenly over the leys.

Later this week we are expecting another visit by the Boys from Cardiff through our connection with the Countryside Alliance Foundation (www.countryside-alliance.org/ca/campaigns.education) This will be their fourth visit to us and it will great to see how they respond to lambing. With any luck they will see a lamb being born. It is always interesting to see how these children from a harsh innner city environment who have severe social & educational problems react to what we can show them, be it sampling milk straight from the cow to cutting down trees for firewood and tasting roast pheasant. We certainly try to give them a variety of experiences and they repay us by being open to almost everything we show them and by asking questions and genuinely enjoying their days on the farm. It is such a worthwhile project  to be involved in and we love the days when we have school parties of all kinds come to visit us.
I suspect this coming visit will include discussion about horse-meat and it will be very interesting to see what the boys feel about the issue. We shall of course explain the harsh reality of why we rear lambs, that they are all destined for the dinner plate.

With this very cold weather the Farmer needs to be well fed (not that he is ever not!!) but he does enjoy thick hearty soups and dark chocolate cakes or bara brith (the traditional Welsh fruit loaf) so I'm cooking & baking in a lovely warm kitchen which is probably the best place to be as our house is morgue-like in its chilliness at present. With no central heating we have 'hot spots' in the house, the kitchen with its oil-fired Rayburn and the far sitting-room where I light the wood-burner during the morning to get it to a comfortable temperature by mid-afternoon. Fortunately as I've said I spend most of my time in the kitchen except when working on the computer in our un-heated office where I don a cashmere shawl
& Ugg boots! I'm seriously tempted to get a laptop or tablet so that I can work on the blog or the holiday cottage 'stuff' in  degree of comfort in my lovely warm kitchen.


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