We have, at last, had a decent block of lovely weather, how much more we will get is anyone’s guess but we made the most of it this weekend and worked flat out!
We are still waiting for the second ewe to produce her lambs, meanwhile the first is still in with her remaining lamb April, we cant take her outside because the other ewe would fret so she will have to stay in until the other lambs are born, though I would have liked to put her out in the sunshine this weekend. Little April is doing very well with Mum and is a very contented little lamb.
The orphan lambs are growing very quickly, they start off suckling very timidly and have now worked up to a voracious guzzle, so much so that I have to hold the feeder down so they don’t push it off the rail and they drain it in one sitting, Betty is also doing well in with them and is taking a normal sized feed every six hours. She has very strongly identified to me though, to the point where if I lift her out of the pen she will follow me all around the yard. On Sunday morning we decided to get all the orphans out and put them on a small grass area next to the house, their first look at the outside world was lovely to watch and I have taken some video footage which I will put up on my page. Spring lambs do a funny little jump and all four feet leave the ground, I tried to catch it on film but as always the minute I turned on the camera they stopped and when I stopped they began lol. We have given a couple more some names, the other little girl is called Sweet Pea and one of the boys is called Stumpy. stumpy has had a few problems going to the loo, and so stands quite hunched up making him look short in the body hence Stumpy, we have been giving him vegetable oil to try and get his bowel movements working, it is working slowly and hopefully he will feel comfortable enough to stretch out soon. One of the reasons we took them out is to give them some exercise as this helps with digestion, the stable is big enough for them to run around but it’s not the same as being outside and leaping around.
We still have not put anything in the vegetable garden, until this weekend the ground was still too cold, I think from here on in we will be a lot busier with planting though, the ground has definitely dried out and is no longer waterlogged, hopefully we will have more normal weather from now on which will enable us to get some crops in the ground. For the past few weeks its been like treading water, there is nothing you can do except wait, make plans and keep waiting, which is why at the weekend when the weather finally broke it was all systems go!
The paddocks were our main priority and our eldest daughters boyfriend came over on Saturday morning with his quad bike to do major work on them. First they all needed dragging, this mean attaching heavy chains to the bike and pulling it over the ground in the paddocks. Two things happen when you do this, first it knocks out all the lumps of soil and flattens ground that has been trashed through the Winter months, secondly it pulls out a great deal of thatch, dead grass, which in turn gives the new emerging grass more light and a better chance of growing. Back in the dark months we had bought various gadgets to attach to the bike to make the jobs easier and the next job after dragging was to reseed a couple of the worst affected paddocks. Sometimes it is possible to let the grass go to seed and therefore reseed itself, our worst affected paddock is about three quarters of weeds and so desperately needed seeding which was never going to happen if we didn’t help it. This paddock has now been, mucked, dragged, dragged again, seeded and rolled, we also made some bird scarers so the pigeons don’t eat all our hard work, now all we need on it, and I hardly dare say it, is a spot of rain! Just a spot mind we don’t want a torrential downpour as this will wash the seed into the middle of the field which we don’t want. We also reseeded and rolled the two front paddocks, a lighter dusting of seed on these two just to thicken up the sward that is there already, these also have bird scarers flapping in the wind, I hope they work, if they don’t work you may see a slightly mad women flapping her arms around to scare the birds away!
This weekend we moved the horses to their Summer grazing which is our next door neighbours
field, they kindly let us use it and we save it for the better months so that it does not get trashed. We have to put up quite a bit of electric fencing in order to keep the horses from getting out, not that they were thinking of going anywhere in a hurry when they saw the feast before them, having been grazing on fairly bare paddocks all Winter they have probably been gorging themselves all night. The new Spring grass has not started to come through yet and so last years grass that has gone over Winter will not have too much value in it but it will fill their bellies and keep them busy for a while.
We also fixed the big greenhouse over the weekend, remember how the wind had blown out some of the roof panels and also some of the side panels, out came the glass cutter and it is now all in one piece again and hopefully I can start using it to bring on some seeds. Before I get started though it needs a clean with disinfectant and I thought I might give it a coat of wood preserver, it’s very nearly on its last legs but if I look after it I could possibly get a few more years out of it before it rots through totally.
The chicks hatched out last Wednesday right on cue, however it was a disastrous hatch, out of twenty four eggs only five hatched, two of those were failing to thrive and had to be dispatched, out of the other three that remain, two are cock birds and only one is a hen! Halfway through the incubation period I noticed that the turner was not working properly as it had come off its fitting, how long it had been like that I am unsure but the poor hatch indicates it was quite a while. I think I will leave it to the birds to hatch their own for the rest of the year.
We did take a couple of breaks during our busy weekend, one was to sit and watch the Grand National as we always do each year, betting slips in hand, shouting at the TV, this year the lucky winners in the room were our eldest daughter who had second and her boyfriend who had the 100-1 winner, naturally the second break we took later in the day was down to the pub and the drinks were on him 🙂
Have a great week and hopefully I will have some news about the other ewe by next Monday!