Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sheep Update

We found the lost sheep...... we had them all the time, Richard has been sent back to school for more practice in adding up, we counted the number of ewes on each load and made a list the he added them all up, WRONGLY.
After he and the children spent a couple of hours scouring the countryside for the missing sheep and worried all night, he checked his sums in the morning, and lo the lost sheep were found, and there was much rejoicing in the kingdom.
We will never let him forget this, its a good job he doesnt pay the bills round here.

Pictured above is little twin lamb, she is doing really well, feeding on her own and growing already, R says that the ewe would be much better off outside but it has turned very cold,( I am back in my wooly vest,) and it seems cruel to put such a tiddler out, but as soon as the sun shines.......
No more lambs yet.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Like Bo Peep we've lost some sheep!

We brought our flock of expectant ewes home today for lambing time, they are due to start on April 19th, which is 5 months from when we put the tups in with them, they have all been scanned so we know how many lambs to expect. When they were all rounded up this morning we discovered that one ewe had jumped the gun and had prem twins, they were cold and muddy and one was much smaller than the other, so we gathered them up and their mum and I rode home in the back of the landrover to stop her jumping over the seats, or on her babies. Sadly the weaker of the two didnt live for more than a couple of hours, just too small to be viable, but the bigger of the two is doing well after we tubed it with some lamb colostrum. It was too weak to stand and suckle from its mum. They are tucked up in a pen in the barn and we hope all will be well. Oh yes its a girl! We trailered the ewes home, about 24 at a time over 2 decks, this load made me laugh as despite not being crowded the ewe at the front has her fat wooly behind pressed up against the "window". We counted each group out of the trailer into the field, and on adding up all the groups we discovered that we had 8 missing!!!!!!!! They were last counted on the 14th feb when we scanned them all, its almost impossible to count 150 sheep when they are all milling about. The land where they have been living has lots of small woods and Richard and the children have gone to look for them, its possible that they have been stolen in which case hopefully we can claim off the insurance, but I am quite worried about my sheeps.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Sad Cows

This is a whole herd of cows who are desperate to go outside, they have been inside for over 4, nearly 5 months now, with only a short walk across the concrete yard to be milked twice a day. For most of the winter they do not linger outside on the yards, but dash back inside for food and somewhere more sheltered to stand around or lie down in. At this time of year, when the weather is warming up, and the sun is shining they just want to go outside and eat some grass. When they do it is spring madness, all these sedate mature ladies cavort about and kick up their heels, udders swinging wildly.
It makes me laugh, every year on the first day outside its just the same.

Sadly for the cows today was not the day, normally Richard nips over and shuts the shed gate while they are inside finishing off yesterdays food, after being milked in the morning. But we are mad busy organising seed being drilled by contractors so Richard had driven the tractor and trailer over to the field with a load of spring bean seed and I went in the landie to bring him home. By the time we got back the cows had found the open gate and were all standing facing outwards........
We had a quick discussion as to whether we could let them out but there are no fields ready, by which I mean there is lots of fencing down to let tractors in and out during the winter, and since we needed the yard clear for the milk tanker Richard filled the feeder wagon, put the food out and we squeezed the cows back into the shed, a bit like getting toothpaste back into the tube.
Truthfully there is not much grass yet, our organic pastures are always a bit slower to get going since they need the soil to warm up before the grass grows, everyone is very used to the effects of scattering tonnes of nitrogen on the fields wheras nature on its own is not as impressive.
Its been a busy day of ferrying seed and Richard to and from bits of farm machinery, life was much simpler when we were just farming one farm.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Busy day

I meant to post this picture of F holding the lamb yesterday but forgot. It was taken on monday when she announced she had told everyone in her class about the new lamb and needed a picture of her holding it!
Lambs are quite easy to catch within the first 12 hours after they are born, but after that they have really found their running legs and dont want to be caught at all. We managed to grab this one but only because he got his legs tangled up and fell over. F was very keen to hold him until we tried to hand him over, we ended up with Richard holding her and the lamb together.

Its a gorgeous sunny day again today, which is good as we are off to vaccinate all the pregnant ewes, it has to be done 4 weeks before they lamb to protect the lamb as well. I had forgotten that I had also volunteered to take and collect some of the primary school children from a science morning at another school, this is the inbetween bit, I have just taken flapjack out of the oven and have a huge pan of half made marmalade waiting for me to have a couple of hours at home to boil it up. R has popped in to ask me to drop in at the vet and collect some extra needles for the vaccinating gun........ Some days the idea of a proper job is very attractive, apart from that I would have to do all the extras as well.

I might slap a bit of sunscreen on as a couple of hours in direct sun and I will be a crispy critter, its so easy to get burnt at this time of year, all that winter pale skin.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Farm Cats

The cats are on the payroll here, they are vermin control and the business pays their feed and vet bills. They get dry cat food 2 or 3 times a day, if they are hanging around looking hungry and the plates are empty I feed them, I reckon that mouses must be scarce.
They were all feral cats originally, 2 are brothers and the tabby and ginger are half sisters, courtesy of the local tom and the cats on the neighbouring farm. We trapped them all at the appropriate ages and had them fixed at the vet, there is no unsanctioned breeding round here. We dont let them in the house, mainly because they dont want to come in, but also because they arent housetrained and they usually have dirty feet due to roaming round the cow sheds. They are a superb anti vermin patrol, especially Percy, the longhaired cat, he looks soft and fluffy but under all that fur is Atilla the hun.
We have had several lovely sunny days recently, not much is growing but its lovely and warm in the sun, so all the cats crash out in a nice sheltered spot in the garden.

We had our first lamb born on sunday morning, the ewe chose the only rainy day for a week , so it was a cold wet welcome for little boy lamb, despite that mother and son are doing well.
There are no more births expected for another 4 weeks, this one is early because the ewe was very poorly last year and had to stay at home to be treated regularly, she was sharing a field with the tups and nature took its course a bit sooner than planned.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Mea Culpa

I've been too lazy to blog! Yes I admit it, I have had lots of good intentions, read other peoples blogs, made a note of things that have happened and then done nothing. Well not "nothing" nothing, but blogging nothing, I have felt bad about it, but not bad enough to do something about it. Sorry I will try to do better, I get so much from reading other peoples blogs and it seems rude not to give a bit back.
We had half term a couple of weeks ago and I went down to visit the family in Berkshire, we stayed with my Ma and visited and went out with my sister and her children.
We went to see the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford, and I definitely recommend it as somewhere to visit. Its not really for tiny children, out youngest was 7 and she loved it but I would think that under 5's would not get much from it.
Its a huge collection of stuff from around the world gathered together by Lt. General Pitt Rivers, it was bequeathed to the university in 1884 on the condition that they built a museum to house it and appointed someone to teach anthropology. The original collection has been added to over the years and includes lots of weapons, decorative items, religious artefacts, models, clothing, and more.
My childrens favourites were the shrunken heads and the mummy, I was very taken with this totem pole which stretched up 2 more floors and the beautiful woven gratings in the floor. Oh yes also the toilet facilities which are clean modern spacious and unisex cubicles, which are great when out in a female parent only group of mixed children. Its always a worry sending little boys off into the male toilets.
The only bad thing was no cafe or designated place to eat a picnic, there is a big grassed area outside but that's no good it it's cold and rainy, we ended up in the foyer to the natural history museum which also functioned as a buggy park.

The P-R museum is reached through the OU natural history museum which is a much more accessible scale than the London natural history museum, it's full of skeletons, modern animals as well as dinosaurs, stuffed animals from all over the world, and things that we ran out of time to look at. We will definitely be going back again.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Well Done Boys

We had our sheep scanned on monday, a good day weatherwise since it rained on sunday and tuesday and indeed on monday afternoon, but the morning was sunny.
The tups had done good work as of the 150 ewes, only 4 are not in lamb and they will be off to market as soon as can be arranged. Of the rest we have 3 sets of triplets, 70 twins and 73 singles. One of the singles is due in 3 to 4 weeks time, the rest in April. The early bird is because she was in with the tups last summer due to a wound that needed lots of attention from us, having her here at home meant we could get hold of her on a regular basis to treat her. Anyway she will have to come home again soon and live with the calves so we can keep an eye on her, as its still too cold for her to lamb outside.

This is my oldest(14) who has just had his "twin blocks" changed for a fixed brace. He is somewhat daunted by the long list of dos and don'ts and the cleaning instructions and at 2.30 this morning he was a very sad boy as the discomfort of his teeth starting to move had woken him up and was stopping him getting back to sleep. His Daddy fixed him up with some paracetamol and sleep was resumed.
I sent him off to school with another paracetamol for lunchtime, and a note excusing him from PE for today. The Dentist said that it will settle down in a couple of days and become the new normal.
Our local National Trust House is doing some tree felling, mostly round the carparks but also this one from on top of the mound alongside their moat.
I am very sad to see it go as all my children used to play under it and run/jump/slide up and down the mound. I'm not sure why they are removing it,possibly a combination of health and safety and fears that the roots are causing damage to anything beneath it.
Anyway we will be having all the wood, bar some for the Hall itself which we will be storing for them.
I forsee lots of time with the woodsplitter in my future.