Thursday 30 March 2017

Emergency Caesarean Lambing

Lambing contuinues apace and all has gone well until this morning when the Farmer after a long struggle to help a ewe have her lamb had to admit defeat and we took her to the vet. After examining the ewe the vet concluded that the problem was a very big lamb and a caesarean section would be required. So, as it was a young sheep and her first lambing we agreed to the operation which took place straight away with a local anaesthetic administered. The lamb was duly removed and it was emormous. The vet said the poor ewe would never have birthed it naturally. Although the lamb was dead we still have a good strong ewe who will adopt one of the bottle-lambs and will go on to have her own lamb next year hopefully without any problems. Watching the caesarean was fascinating. A surprisingly small incision was made to extract the large lamb and then each layer of uterus, abdominal wall and skin were then very neatly stitched back together again. The stitches on the skin will have to be removed in about 10 days but the internal one will dissolve. The whole process took about 1/2 an hour. The ewe was amazing and made very little protest during the whole procedure and as soon as we got her home she was put in a pen with an orphan lamb to suckle and they should do very well.
In a few days the ewe and lamb will look like these.

Sunday 19 March 2017

Lambing Time

Lambing has started. The first lambs arrived on the dot two days ago, the day they were due and a set of quads which was a very good start. They were closely followed by twins and then triplets. They are all doing well though the Farmer is feeding them supplementary milk with stomach tube to make things easier for the ewes. There is steady trickle of lambs now each day, with two sets of twins today and so far all is going smoothly.
We are lambing only 40 ewes which is easy, not like thed ays when we had a hundred or more. Of course there are many farmers who are lambing several hundred sheep at a time and make our small-scale sheep keeping pale into insignificance, nonetheless, each ewe that lambs successfully is a small triumph, whether it is one of 400 or 40.
This is a lovely time of year despite the weather having turned colder and greyer these last couple of days. Lambs, daffodils, snowdrops, hazel catkins commonly known a lambs-tails for obvious reasons, and the ever increasing cacophony of birdsong all make for a sense of anticipation of the delights in the summer to come.

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Diamond Wedding Party, Free Range Milk

The Farmer & I have just returned from a weekend away attending a family gathering in Brecon to celebrate my parent's Diamond wedding anniversary. This is the marvellous cake decorated by our very clever daughter-in-law. It was a lovely event attended by all the family bar one grandson who had gone to work in Germany two days previously and old family friends. It is not often that we manage to congregate en famille and there was much catching-up by the cousins, some of whom had not met for several years and they were all able to exchange travel stories as most of them have been of on adventures in amazing places. For us it was the first overnight trip away from the farm for over a year and as a treat we stayed at the Castle Hotel in Brecon, where the lunch party was being held. It was all very pleasant and relaxing and we have now arrived back home straight into the usual routine and getting ready for lambing.

In recent weeks there has been mention in the press of a so-called 'new' initiative in the marketing of milk, 'free range' milk. This has caused raised eyebrows in the organic sector as we have been producing 'free range' milk for well over 20 years. Organic dairy cows are out in fields grazing for on average 7 months of the year, sometimes more if the weather is suitable. The diet of organic dairy cows is a minimum of 60% forage such as grass and is free from artificial fertilisers,chemicals and GMOs. Organic remains the gold standard for animal welfare and the freedom to roam.
As organic farmers we have an annual audit of our production standards which are legally binding and enforced by the certification bodies such as the Soil Association ( We sell our milk to the Organic Milk Suppliers Co-Operative Ltd ( have been leaders in the marketing of organic dairy produce for over 20 years and can say with confidence that consumers have had the choice of buying free-range, pasture fed milk for all that time. It is not something new.
Here are some of our lovely organic cows grazing on our lush organic pasture!

Thursday 2 March 2017

Spring Flora & Fauna

Daffodils are appearing in their golden hosts with a vengeance this year having been rather disappointing last spring. This year they are really making up for having given themselves rest and we have a magnificent display that should go on for a few weeks yet as the different varieties flower in sequence.
After a bleak, very windy and wet St David's Day yesterday the second day of the new month has dawned clear and bright with long awaited sunshine though a brisk cold wind is tossing the hazel catkins and making the daffy-down-dillies dance. Snowdrops sit quietly at the bottoms of the hedge-banks sheltered out of the wind and they too seem to be in a greater multitude than last spring & I've seen the first celandines gleaming along the verge of the drive. The birds are singing their spring choruses and last evening I heard the call of the wild geese passing overhead for the first time this year. Woodpeckers are heard away down the valley with their insistent hammering and the robins are in their aggressive spring mode vying for territory in the hedges. The eaves of the farm buildings are busy with sparrows diving in and out with beakfuls of nest-building materials, grasses, a strand of sheeps wool or some moss. I recently found a tiny bird's nest that had been blown out of its mooring in a tree, an exquisite bowl of neatly woven mosses and wool measuring no more than about 2inches across, but the product of many hours of work for a small bird.
In the gardens the camellias are flowering and again they appear to be putting on a more exuberant display than previously although that may be down to them being established and more mature it now being several years since they were planted. Hellebores are in full flower, particularly the beautiful purple Easter rose with other varieties still establishing themselves though managing to produce a few flowers in this their first season.
Around the edges of the ponds frogspawn has appeared almost overnight in its great jellied masses and on the banks I have been finding long strings of toad-spawn along with the pathetic & disgusting remains where the heron has been feasting on copulating toads.