I only took a week off from posting, because I was rather busy with a couple of little projects, and I have one of my regular readers “chasing” me! A few evenings have been taken up with extra choir practice for the Good Friday Concert in church and I have been in the garden as much as possible to get as much done as I can before today’s expected rain. I had better get on with this post now ; I don’t want anymore complaints!
I managed to get the old poly tunnel cover off and the new one in place during the dry spell. There are now various seeds planted in there in the warm ; three varieties of lettuce, rocket, mange tout, radishes, Brussels sprouts, celariac and some annual flowers. The broad beans are planted out in the garden and there is a row of early potatoes in. I didn’t quite finish edging the vegetable beds before the rain, but it’s something I can do in between showers. So a good start made in the veg department.
The flower borders are looking a more and more battered thanks to scratching chickens who are totally indiscriminant about what they’ll dig up! Luckily a little patch of fritillia, I have been nurturing, have survived so far and are just coming into bloom. These flowers are very delicate bells in mostly a checkerboard of pink and purple; quite exquisite.Both the flowering cherry and Mongolia look like they will be out at least a month earlier than usual. The bank in the field above the garden and stream is a riot of yellow primroses.
We have the sheep coming in at night as of last week as lambing is due to start this weekend. At the moment there is only one of the “ladies” huffing and puffing, looking like she could start soon. I do hope they get on with it themselves this year and behave a bit better than last year. We haven’t often had the problem before, but last year three ewes would not take to their baby lambs and abandoned them in the field. Before we have only really had the problem of a ewe mothering one twin and not the second. This is usually overcome by a few days close confinement so the ewe cannot get away from her lambs. One of us holding her still to allow both lambs to suck to start off. The ewe then generally comes round to taking to both her offspring. Last year as well, one ewe had triplets; the last one born being a very poor little ram lamb. We persisted for a while holding Mum so all 3 could suck and topping up the littlest one with a bottle, but there must have been something radically wrong with him as he didn’t grow at all and then suddenly faded away. It was rather disheartening altogether.
So, for the next few weeks it is a round of continually filling hay nets and water buckets and popping backwards and forwards keeping an eye on the ewes. GOS is not a very good sleeper, which is quite handy, as when he is up and about in the night making tea or what ever he pops out to the lambing shed for a quick check. The breed of sheep we have, Texel, are a big animal with big shoulders, so we very often have to help a ewe with lambing. If just the head is out the lamb cannot be born; they really need to come front feet first. So with this presentation it means you have to push the lamb’s head back in, from whence it has come, then feeling around for the front legs, put them in the correct position and pull the lamb out. All I can liken it to really is that game where you are blindfolded and you have to put your hand into a receptacle and guess what you have got hold off. With a sheep it’s like putting your hand into a bowl of warm jelly and trying to grab hold of a slippery chicken bone. We have only had to resort to getting the vet’s help once in 20 whatever years, so that’s not too bad. Mind you that lamb, who had a very costly introduction to the world, managed to strangle itself in a hay net and die at a later date! Sheep!
And one of the pieces we are singing for the Easter Concert is “All we like sheep”. Um. . . . . . . . . Handel and his librettist had no idea!!
Stop press: first lamb just born. Easter Sunday afternoon.