Tuesday 30 April 2013

Bad Day

So far - today has been dire, horrible.

Last night one of my new Black Welsh Mountains decided she would like to start lambing at 8 o'clock in the evening - as it started to get dark it became apparent there might be a problem.  No problem, we have the new lambing light attached to a battery in the Mule.  Problem, the battery had somehow managed to discharge itself and I had no light.  Black sheep in black field with black lamb coming from mostly black rear end!  With the aid of a tiny key ring torch the head was turned and leg brought forward and out came a monster of a girl.  I then wasn't sure if there was another and saw no sign of afterbirth so sat around in the Mule stumbling about every now and again checking until the early hours.
Today got worse.  I was in the top corner watching out for Greenibix (another Welsh Mountain) when I heard frantic lamb noises coming from down by third field gate.  It sounded worse than the, "I've lost my Mum!" shout so I jumped from the Mule and charged over, closely followed by Reg who thought it was some sort of new game.  What I found was horrid.  One of ReddyBreks lambs had somehow jumped through the electric fence, wrapped the fence around him and jumped back again.  He had live electric fence looped all round him.  I pulled him out and got a belt just through him so it must have been dreadful for him.  In fact it must have given him a stroke or something because he could only walk in circles.  To cut a horrible story short he had several horrible fits and finally died just now.

Never before have they had to be in electric fence so young but there has just been so little grass.  Carl is coming up with me in a minute to see what else we can do - for the moment I have turned their electric off and hope they haven't taken advantage of the situation and legged it over Land Rover Man's.

Only ray of sunshine today (apart from the actual sun which has been shining) was a email from an old Salisbury friend (she's not old - just a long time since I have seen her) which brightened my day.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Hair today

Ah, yes, Lisa - I meant Blue Tooth - probably why pesky Sam was giggling!  And thank you for the hair comments but it really is not good hair.  Here it is today, au naturale, i.e. unwashed for a week and devastated by lack of attention and the bitter wind which has been in evidence on the hill.  Brass monkeys here as well, Jayne despite the sun!
Anyway, enough about my hair, two little blacks born today so we are now up to 15 but it should be many more by now.  I feel like I will still be lambing in the summer!  Nice chat on the phone earlier which has refocused my mind on who should be on the sales list.  Dude has to be one whatever Carl says as we really need to be bringing in different genetics now.  Tomorrow I shall get updated fully fleeced photos and then we might shear him next weekend (depending on the weather).  I am not going to put him up for much money but I want him to find a good home with work to do (something he loves!).
We haven't started shearing yet but I am already worrying about fitting ours in amongst the booked shearings.  Carl sorted out the gear today and a package of sharpened combs and cutters arrived back this morning so we are all ready to go - just waiting for the weather to improve a bit.  Then it will be time to send the fleece samples to AAFT which is going to be exciting.

Friday 26 April 2013

One (almost) clever girl with 'amazing' hair!!!

On a sensible note to begin with - no lambs, a VERY slow start to lambing.  Very over excited alpacas with lots of merry pronking by the youngsters.  Much poo has been collected.
Not a good photo as I took it on my phone.  I then attempted to get it from the phone to the computer which Sam told me I had to use the Blue tongue for.  I eventually managed to work out how to do this and lots of flashing ensued but nothing seemed to go anywhere.  Sam has just done it for me but still hasn't explained how, he just keeps giggling which is of no use whatsoever.  And this daft mood of his is despite him having arrived home from work last night and announcing that he felt it was time he grew up a bit.  I wondered what was coming next until he said he was going to have a shower (without being forced into the bathroom) and then tidied his bedroom (without me threatening to hoover up all his nuts and bolts on the floor).
Anyway here is the photo of the youngsters at the end of a bit of pronking.
I have been in an odd mood after a strange experience driving through Hazelbury Bryan yesterday.  If you have ever seen photos of me on the blog you will know I take very little interest in my appearance generally but I do have moments when I do catch sight of myself and fear I must be scaring small children.  I have been particularly concerned about my hair and was considering getting it severely cut but then yesterday there was a very odd occurrence.  Going up past the Antelope I slowed for another car and she pulled alongside, rolled down her window and asked directions.  These I gave and then she said ( and I may not have the wording quite right which is adding to the puzzle), "What amazing hair you have!"  I can't work out if this is good or bad - I certainly look in the mirror sometimes and think, "Flippin' heck!"

Wednesday 24 April 2013

No hablo español

Today has been one of those days!  A brief interlude of calm for a visit to the library van at lunch time but before and after were frustrating.

I began with a simple trip to stock up on diesel for the tractors and what a nightmare that was.  I have done nothing wrong but now feel I may have to change my name and emigrate to Cuba.  I also have a bruised tummy and a bad back!   I then tried to track down a gardener for mother - things looked bleak but then suddenly gardeners started popping up everywhere - maybe a surfeit of gardeners now!

Sam then came to help me move four Black Welsh Mountains, six Romneys and assorted lambs back up with the rest of the flock.  This should have been simple and it was not.  One Romney and her lamb is still in the wrong place.  Plus I have a bruised toe to add to my injuries - maybe a trip to Cuba would be a good thing (but I don't speak Spanish).

Reg is doing well but has developed a liking for riding around in the Mule with me which can be a nuisance as I am worried I am going to drive over him as he charges along trying to get in!

Tuesday 23 April 2013

With my sunglasses on . . .

As the man said . . "With my sunglasses on, I'm Jack Nicholson.  Without them, I'm fat and 60." 

It has been a glorious day today - down to the T shirt this  afternoon, and the sunglasses made their first appearance of the year.  Every one seemed busy - Landrover man zooming around, the Gravedigger rolling like crazy.  Not so the sheep who just lay around panting and not producing anything!

The alpacas were quite lively.  When one wanted a drink they all wanted a drink and charged down the hill en masse.  When one wanted to roll they all wanted to roll and the girls without the rolling pit looked very jealous.
P.S - I may look it but I am NOT 60.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Finally - sun

The sun has finally made a proper appearance which has meant the littlest lambs had their macs removed.  They are growing well so should be safe now.

And the alpacas are finally looking cleaner and happier.
We managed to get a lot of field maintenance done which means the last of the winter paddocks have now been harrowed and rolled.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Young Farmers

Last night we went to give a talk on alpacas to The Young Farmers - they were a great group and asked interesting questions.  One lad was even brave enough to play at being an alpaca whilst Carl 'sheared' him!  Shame I have not got a photo!  Sam refused to come to the front with us and was highly embarrased to start with but I think he quite enjoyed it in the end - particularly the parts Carl did!

Happy and sad news on the lambing front.

We are now up to 11 lambs from 7 ewes but the tiniest triplet has gone - and when I say gone, I mean gone.  She was there last thing at night and in the morning she had disappeared.  I went quite hysterical and searched all over but she had completely disappeared.  I have a horrible feeling it was a Buzzard as one has been circling overhead for a couple of days now.  My solution is bright orange macs which the other two tiny blacks are now wearing.  I thought Mum might reject them when I put the coats on but she was fine and I am hoping the colour and the crackling sound they make will frighten anything away.  I do have a photo but it is on my phone and I am unable to retrieve it

Reg is back in the field with the others.  Mum lets him sit by her but not feed so he is now a bottle fed and is very noisy.  He has bonded with his brother and they play and rest together thank goodness.  The remarkable thing is that I think I know why his mum rejected him.  He has a deformity which is quite pronounced - a very overshot jaw.  Could she really have spotted it that quickly or am I imaging things?

Monday 15 April 2013

A hint of sun

The weather perked up a bit at times today which led to a quick burst of sunbathing for Mick.
At least the youngsters are a bit cleaner than they were - for some reason the Mums are all still filthy!
And here are the triplets.

Mum keeps them very close to her and takes them well away from the other sheep - she is very protective  and they are very lively!
Reg is becoming a bit of a bully and pushes his brother away from the udder every chance he gets.  Mum will still only let him drink when I stand in the pen but I no longer have to hold her so progress is being made.

Sunday 14 April 2013


Black Welsh Mountain triplets today - two boys and a girl - a big one, a medium size one and a tiny one!  No camera with me but I will get a photo tomorrow.

Reg is doing okay.  He has got the hang of drinking from Mum but she will only let him when I hold her.  He is attached to his brother now and they jump around together.  He has one more day penned up with his brother and Mum and then I am going to have to let them out I think.  Not sure if we will be able to get them to bond but we will see.

The alpacas are now all in their summer paddocks which is not good as the grass is not really ready yet but the winter areas were really bald.

Photos tomorrow.

Saturday 13 April 2013

Reject - or Reg for short

Lambing continues - slowly - but the main ones are due from tomorrow so we may go up a gear soon, not the weather for it at the moment anyway.

A Romney had twins on Thursday and it was not a happy event.

Romneys are, I was told, calm sheep but mine are not!   I was relieved when the first gave birth easily. All seemed to be going well with the second Romney to lamb who popped out the first
easily. She bonded straight away but didn't settle to let him feed. I knew she should be producing twins so just left her to get on with the next one whilst observing from afar. She snuffled around and then suddenly sat down and produced the second - gave it a quick lick and then went crazy! She head butted it all the way down the hill and charged away back to the first lamb. Little one struggled up and wandered around crying for Mum. Every now and again she charged over to it and butted it and then the other Romney's joined in so I had to rescue it. No way I could catch Mum on her own so I fed little Reject and stuck him in the Mule with me - he also had to come home with me whilst I
fetched more milk powder.

Not a good move as he now thinks I am his Mum but it was raining and everyone disliked him intensely so I didn't feel I could leave him alone in the field with them. When Carl got back we cornered and captured the ewe - she is now in a very reinforced pen with the two lambs and she is now not head butting Reject but he has no interest in feeding from her. Even when I put him on her he is not that keen. There is a glimmer of hope though as he and his brother are bonding a bit!

Monday 8 April 2013

First Lamb

Still pretty cold here but Sunday the sun paid a fleeting visit - we need it to stay longer and warm up a bit as grass is in increasingly short supply.  There are bits of green but they are few and far between.
It must remind Bert of her old home in Peru (sort of)!
But the big news for today is the arrival of the first lamb - born to one of the Romney's in the night.  It's very fast, very lively and a little girl.  This is as near as I can get to it without the aid of a crook, an assistant and a pair of running shoes!