Jill of all trades!

Sorry this is a bit late but I have had my hats of many jobs on this morning, after feeding time which was farmeress hat, came cleaning out the dogs and so the kennel maid hat, after that my groundsman hat, not really a gardening hat as it was watering seedlings etc, then my housemaids hat, in between that my foremans hat as the skip lorry arrived and had to fit into the ridiculously small area that Hubby insisted on it being positioned, then my shepherdess hat to go and feed Frankie, more about that later, and my stock mans hat to talk to the vet, also more about that later and after my blogging hat out will come the cooker repair man hat when I fit a new element to my oven! So whizzing around like speedy Gonzales this morning trying to get all that a a few more little things done and crossed off the list.

Well Mabel finally gave birth to her lamb, a little boy, early on Saturday morning, she managed all by herself which was great but the lamb managed to get into the other pen with Lily and her lamb, this is when the problems began. Because, Frankie, which is what we named him, had got the scent from the other ewe on him, his Mum would not feed him, she did not reject him as such, she still tolerates him being near her, sheep tend to headbutt lambs that they do not recognise as their own, but she will not let him suckle. So we started off by smearing him in the afterbirth, then penning her up tight so she could not move away, she will let him eventually we thought! Two days later and we are still having to go and pin her against the wall every four hours to let him feed from her, the easy option would be to put him on the bottle, but Mabel is so full of milk that a) it would be a waste and b) Mabel could suffer with mastitis which would be most uncomfortable for her. So the plan is to keep helping him on for the time being and hope when he is strong he will become more persistent and manage by himself. We did put them all out at the weekend in the sunshine, Lily, after frolicking about with her lamb is now lame! I assume she has pulled a muscle running around, I can’t find anything wrong with her foot or leg so she is now on bed rest until it is better. It never rains but it pours doesn’t it and also at the weekend I discovered that the orphan lambs we bought in have Orf! This is a viral infection a little bit like cold sores, they have scabs on and around their mouths and of course as they all use the feeder it has spread quickly. I spoke to the vet this morning and the general routine is to let it run its course which will take about a month, poor little lambs they look quite sore. A talk to the vet is always a good opportunity to ask everything you need to know in one go, especially over the phone as it is free, so we talked about worming and vaccination programmes and also any treatment for the Orf, the problem with smallholding is that most medicines come in 50 dose packs and with vaccines because they are live they don’t last in the bottle for more than a week, so basically we have to practice intelligent farming and not routine medicating. This method suits me fine as I am not a great believer in taking something if it is not completely necessary and it keeps you on your toes a bit more.

During the week we had some lovely weather along with some awful winds but we did get some gardening done in the veg patch, all of the roots crop seeds have been planted and at the weekend a row of garlic went in as well as the potatoes. The seeds we planted in the poly tunnel at the beginning of the month are coming up now, broad beans, peas, carrots and spinach. No sign of the potatoes yet though they can’t be far off shooting now and the strawberry plants have developed flowers so, all in all, heading in the right direction. The ongoing battle with the greenhouses and the wind has come to an end, after replacing the glass which fell out of the roof with polycarbonate panels, which then blew off, were then wired on and promptly blew in, I have decided to do away with them and ordered another poly tunnel. Smaller this time and of a specific design to fit in with requirements, this one will house the tomatoes and melons and have a side vent for letting the air in. The prevailing winds here are quite strong because we are so exposed and it was becoming a constant battle, so I thought give up and change the whole situation which will lower my stress levels but empty my pocket at the same time ๐Ÿ˜‰

The grass seed in the paddocks has yet to show any significant growth, although you can just about see it sprouting in a few patches, the trees are finally beginning to burst their leaves open and just this morning I have spotted a bee and ejected a cabbage white butterfly from the poly tunnel so Spring is slowly creeping in. The Blue Tits that usually nest in the holes in our wall are a bit confused this year, we replaced the old wood with new and there are no holes, however we did put up two shiny new des res boxes which they have been checking out and with luck they will move in to rear a brood or two.

Time to get a different hat on, probably fix the cooker first then go and feed the lambs and check out their sores, gross, humans can catch it too and so we will have to be extremely careful with hygiene, I find at the moment that I constantly feel the need to wash my hands even when I have not been near them, I hope they recover soon as it does look horrible, but as another smallholder said, it could be worse, lol lets hope there is nothing else round the corner lurking in wait, if there is, you will hear all about it next week!

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