Monday 31 March 2014

Eau d'sheep

Twins and a single lamb today.

You may know the aroma of sheep wee with a touch of afterbirth - I need to go and have a bath!

Sunday 30 March 2014

Hang on little lad!

A busy day today.  I was up early to check the sheep and alpacas and couldn't miss a big bunch of flowers left for me by Sam.  Thank you Sam!  No more lambs in the field and the little black one still didn't look too good.  I gave him a feed and then we had to rush off to do an alpaca husbandry visit.  One of the girls there is walking very stiffly on her back  legs, we gave her some vitamins and checked her feet - to me it seems like a bit of a strain - we'll have to keep an eye on that one.  Sam checked the sheep again  before we got back and little black lamb was still hanging on but going downhill.  His Mum snuggles up to him but he is very weak.
I spent the afternoon with him while Carl went home to try to finish the Duck house - pictures of that  coming soon!  Then he came back to the field and spent an  hour sitting with Mum and lamb trying to get lamb drinking properly.  We milked out some of Mum's and fed that to him as well, she is very good.

The Romney Rebels are very lively and jump around all over the place - no worries about them!
It is a good job my mother comes from a farming background because I didn't get to visit her and say Happy Mother's Day until early evening and then it was a flying visit and I forgot the card and present!

I had to race home  as we needed to give Zara her drench.  I have been battling with Zara's nose for ages.  She is a black alpaca and keeps getting a bald nose.  I have tried lots of things and some things work for a while but then it goes bald again.  It is not scabby or sore or anything - just bald.  The new thing we are trying is a drench of selenium, zinc and other things - I don't know whether it will have any effect but time will tell.

Saturday 29 March 2014

Cold little lamb

Sorry for the lack of photos but I have been struggling a bit today. A tiny little Black Welsh Mountain lamb was hypothermic this morning and I struggled to warm him up.  He was so limp and lifeless, I thought I had lost him but after what seemed forever he stopped shaking and his temperature went up.  Mum was very good and stayed near , (Just as an aside - there appears to be no semi colon on this tablet I am typing on), when I put the lamb on the ground wrapped up in my jumper, she came and lay beside him with her head resting on his - would have made a lovely photo that.  In the end I had to stomach tube him as, as good as mum was, I couldn't manage to hold her and latch him on - he was too weak to stand.  Plus, I was getting crosser and crosser with Carl as he had gone to help the Gamekeeper with some pheasant pens and was late back - but I coped.  I saw the Shepherd up on the opposite  hill and he obviously wondered what I was up to rolling around trying to hold onto the ewe and latch the lamb on - he phoned to check all was well.

It has been a sheep day as on the way home I passed the Grave digger waving his milk bottles at me.

Thursday 27 March 2014

I've started!

Romney twins, born at lunchtime.
One of them has very large ears!

Wednesday 26 March 2014

Fat sheep and over excited alpacas

We definitely have no lambs - but we do, definitely, have big sheep!
Big, bald sheep in Pugsley's case!
As nothing was happening (not really supposed to until Friday but you never know)  I went down to the library van to stock up on reading material and then went home to check the alpacas who were in a very funny mood.
Everyone but Bert was charging at high speed round the paddock.  I think Cassie was going to the toilet.

Later Sam and Kristy arrived and did a bit of halter training.  This will be much easier when we have constructed a holding pen - not that Trouble needs a holding pen to catch her!

Tyjke and Wonky are far more interested in playing together -
And Glorious Gloria just likes to pose!
Tonight I have to concentrate on a bit of knitting  as I have a black scarf which has been on the go for weeks and still is not finished.  The Flower lady has knitted a pair of gloves and two scarves since I started this scarf and this afternoon she came round with a beautiful multi coloured beret.

Monday 24 March 2014

Where are all the lambs?

No lambs.
Tired of watching sheep pretending they might lamb at any minute.

Mary had a little lamb
it's wool was white I think.
She washed it with her underwear
and now it has turned pink.

Saturday 22 March 2014

Lots happening

It has been a busy day today with odd weather - hot one moment and bitterly cold the next.  I had to scrape the ice off the car this morning when I went to check the sheep (no lambs).  When the sun came out Bert went to lie in the shade with Tyke, her constant companion (he is the Black one - the other is either Bill or Ben but I can't always tell them apart!)

The Shepherd came this morning and collected the pig ark so Carl has to get a move on with Duck house construction.  Today he didn't have time as Tractor Boy brought his rotavator over so Carl could finish the big vegetable bed.  I had got as far as I could but it was taking forever and everything is growing like crazy.  All ready now for the first things to go in - depending on the weather.
All the activity made the alpacas very excitable.
All is doing well in the greenhouse - even the sack of rubbish seems to be growing!
The Polytunnel is growing potatoes and I didn 't even plant them!
That is not more sacks of rubbish at the back of the picture - it is the weed suppressor mat which needs folding up properly.
The radishes are coming along rather too well - I pulled one out and it is quite big so radish recipes begin soon.
Most exciting, however, are the strawberries
and finally, an update on Cassie - you can barely see the kink in her neck.

Thursday 20 March 2014

One or two difficulties!

Frantic waving as I was driving along the top of the hill today reminded me I ought to write the blog!

Bitter cold wind on the hill today and I was very glad to get back down to the house and the woodburner.  No lambs!  The  lambs from the real ram are not due until next week so it is not a panic yet but  I thought Womble who went in first as a sort of teaser (he has one ball) might have caught some as he was very active - I think he must have been firing blanks!

The house alpacas have settled really well and I have been trying to sort out who to put on my sales list but then hit a problem as I have registered Wonky as black -
and Tyke as brown -

The ever obliging Libby at Grassroots has sorted that out for me now!  Must have been a senior moment!

Last night we went out for a very good meal and had a very  nice evening talking of alpaca plans - afterwards was not so good.  On the way home I managed to cause Carl an injury which is better not discussed and then, on arrival home, we realised we had forgotten to take the door key (we only have one between us - my fault) and Sam had locked the door and gone out for the night.  Carl had to break in by climbing a ladder and inserting himself through a very small bathroom window which (despite his moaning it was a good job  I had not shut and locked).  I was petrified the organist would spot his legs disappearing through the window and call the police.  When we finally got in I discovered Sam's girlfriend had left us a meal she had cooked and I felt dreadful - they hadn't realised we had gone out.

Then Carl spent a sleepless night due to toothache - which he told me all about several time first at midnight and then  at regular intervals through out the night.  Today he finally went to the dentist and has an exposed nerve and an infection and is now in bed with a tube of Bonjela (I know it is not for that but he seems to feel better clutching some form of medicine).

On a more positive note Carl has finished his new gate made from pallets and would have been staining it if he had not gone to bed.  This will be good as he can then make the duck house.
Ahh - and my new field car - note sporty little hay rack on rear!

Wednesday 12 March 2014

Preparing for lambs

Fencing virtually all day today.  Finally the whole of second field is stock fenced which means I have been able to take down the electric.  After the lamb got caught in the electric last year I did  not want lambs born anywhere near electric fencing.  The sheep all waited relatively patiently in the  top bit of second.
Now they have fresh grass and can, hopefully, get on with having their lambs - shouldn't be long now.  I also have the most exciting development to tell you about in my  Mule Saga.  The Mule has not been able to cope with the mud and ha been out of action for months which has been hard work with all the water and hay carrying.  However, I now have a new field vehicle which had it's first outing this evening - CD player, air conditioning, adjustable wing mirrors, hay carrying rack - more on this tomorrow when I have a photo.
I have done the deal with the Shepherd and a trio of ducks awaits the building of the duck house which Carl is doing right now.
Sam wore himself out!

Sunday 9 March 2014


Gorgeous weather today and such a change from all the rain.  We had a bit of a move round with the animals on the hill first thing and should have then continued with putting up the stock fence in second field but Carl and Sam had to go off and do some fencing for someone else so I came back and had a bit of a photo shoot with the alpacas.  It is so nice to just be able to wander out with a coffee, pop back for the camera which I forgot, pop back for a biscuit - thoroughly relaxing.
Glorious Gloria was intrigued by all the coming and going and everyone is fascinated by all the new sights.  They are spending a lot of time just staring at things.
The move of the animals went very well and was accomplished in three trips.  I had been concerned it might be a bit nightmarish as none of the cria have travelled before and most of the mums have not been in a stock trailer for years.  Bert's last trip was for her operation but a handful of grapes and she was tempted in.  We changed our minds at the last moment about who was coming and decided to take all Mums with their cria plus Bert - weaning delayed again !

Thank you for asking, Judi - Bert travelled very well and has settled perfectly.  I am able to pop up and water her with the watering can which she loves and which is why she looks damp on a sunny day!  As you can see she is not right yet and may never walk properly again but she is a happy (if grumpy) girl.
Now I hope for the weather to continue as lambing may start at the end of the week and, if I get time, my seat is ready under the apple tree facing the alpacas!

Saturday 8 March 2014

No words required

Okay, not very good photos I know but . . .

An exciting day!

Thursday 6 March 2014

It ain't heavy - it's a parsnip seed

Not quite as sunny today and the mud coupled with lack of grass in the fields is a bit of a downer.  Everyone looks at me so wistfully I feel I should be able to magic up something better.  I did sacrifice an entire bag of grapes which got everyone very excited.  Problem is some of them are very dainty, like Emily and take ages sniffing before they actually eat one whilst others, like Bianca, just shovel them in at a rate of knots so it is not a very fair process.

This afternoon I managed to find all the knitting and have started to resort it and am trying to create a bit of organisation alongside a revised list of knitting needed.  I did find a pile that still needs finishing and washing but have left that until we get a sunny day.

Going up the cut was interesting just now.  I backed down for a tractor and trailer (who did not even acknowledge me which makes me very annoyed)  only to find on continuing up that he had knocked one of the branches off the bank and it was lying across the road.  I had a tanker behind me and a van coming in the other direction in front so jumped out waving cheerily and calling out that I just needed to move the branch - only to find it was almost a tree!  It took all three of us to move it before we could shuffle ourselves around and be on our way.

And I was very annoyed in my polytunnel earlier as an army of ants appear to be making off with my parsnip seeds, no wonder they are not growing and everything else is.  However, I am pleased to say there are a variety of things you can  do with a radish, including roasting them.  What a treat Carl has in store!

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Westhill Robin and Radish woes

Today had gloriously sunny moments but the alpacas still look very bedraggled and I just could not show a picture of them - so here is the Westhill Robin instead.  She has made a nest and is remarkably unconcerned about what I am doing.

We failed in getting the alpacas back at the weekend.  By the time we returned from our husbandry visits it was just too late.  All the fencing is done though and so I am hoping for a big move at the weekend.

I have made a serious error with my planting in the polytunnel.  With gay abandon I planted rows of radishes - 1000 of them and they are growing with vigour.  It was only last night I started to consider what I could do with quite so many radishes - and so early in the year.  Lovely to have a couple of radishes with a salad but 1000 of them?  And what else can you do with a radish?  Sandwiches?