Friday, 28 May 2010


Its not all death and disaster round here, we have long periods of time where nothing dies, calves are born and life is good.
My oldest child would really like some goats, but we have said no as we have more than enough to do with the livestock we have and goats are even worse at escaping than sheep!!!! So he has some bantams, little chickens for those with normal lives, Richard had 50 hens when he was at school and an egg round so he thinks poultry is good.
Tom had 4 bantams but one didn't survive the cold winter and he is desperate for some more and thinks half term would be a good time to go shopping, watch this space!
I dont mind chickens and I love the fresh eggs, the yolks are so yellow that they make sponge cake yellow. The eggs are smaller than hens eggs so if I'm baking I have to weigh them into the mix, but since we only get 2-3 eggs a day I am still having to buy a few eggs and I usually use those for baking and save our own for boiling, frying and making into egg mayo or salad.

Tom has been doing cooking at school in design and technology, its a fairly random sort of cooking, ie not much to give you the basics but he can learn that at home and he does enjoy it. He is year 8, aged 13 and a lot of the children are not interested at all, I think it helps that he likes most food and is very eating orientated, LOL.
This week it was cheese and onion pasties, we had to supply a block of ready made pastry, cheese, chopped onion and an egg, and they were much tastier than I was expecting. The children want to have another go, so next week being half term week we can do so, I will make some pastry and we may add some bacon for added taste.

Our soil here is very sandy, perfect for moles of which we have lots...... Mostly they stick to the fields but occasionally we get one in the garden. At the weekend we woke up to a large mole hill under the swing frame, the children cleared up all the soil heap after I banned just jumping on it to flatten it. Later that day mr mole pushed some more soil up and it turned into a battle, eventually Tom built a small edifice over the opening, he used some bricks and plastered it with mud! Frances decorated it with flowers, as 8yr old girls do, and we went to bed.
The next morning Tom looked out the window and announced that we're goint to need more bricks! Mr mole had simply moved his molehill so a place with no bricks on top. I am not having the garden bricked over so Mr mole has won this battle, we will go back to removing the soil heap and otherwise ignoring it.
Mind you the cats are enjoying watching the earth move, maybe they will dispose of the mole for us.
The children have referred to the whole escapade as "whack-a-moley" or to my ears "guacamole" which makes me giggle every time.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Home Alone

Once a month Richard goes to an Organic Dairy Farmers discussion group, they take turns having it at each farm so can be anywhere in cheshire, usually I look forward to an evening on my own, where I can get the children into bed in good time then have a couple of hours to watch trashy TV or just sit with a book and a glass of wine.
Tonight was that night so after I had turned the childrens lights out I was going to pour a drink and catch up on Greys Anatomy, but conscience called and I went out to have a check round the sheeps before it got dark, things have been fairly quiet the last few days as we must only have 15 or so left to lamb. But tonight I found a sheep with a little head poking out, not good as there was only a bit of one front leg showing which means it's bent up blocking the exit. Part of me wanted to go back inside and pretend I hadnt seen it but no way could I do that, so I went to open and close gates into the yard and get the crook to try and trap her in a corner so I could get hold of her.
It was not as difficult as I was fearing and I managed to catch her in the field, I have helped Rich with lots of sheep but never on my own, I managed to straighten the leg out and deliver the lamb but it was already dead which made me feel awful, if I had been quicker with the children maybe I could have saved it, I feel very responsible in a way that I dont when Richard is there and the same thing happens.
I took the lamb away as I cant bear it when the night creatures come and nibble on them and marked the ewe with a red spot so we can identify her tomorrow, she does not seem bothered and after lying there for a few minutes got up and wandered over to some other sheep and started grazing.
I have scrubbed my hands and arms, my coat will need another wash and I will forever associate the smell of anti bac hand soap with lambing.

I have a small feeling of achievment that I coped, but not very well, I will try to do better next time.

I think I will have a cup of tea.

Sunday, 23 May 2010


OMG I cant believe how long it has been since I last posted, we have been swept away in a tide of lambs both live and dead, we have lost 2 ewes, one whoes lamb had died inside her and the other had a serious rectal and uterine prolapse, we had the vet back twice to repair her but in the end we had to admit defeat in the face of her continued suffering and have her put down.
We had a tiny lamb that we had bottle fed for a week and called Judy, we had to admit defeat with her also as she couldnt stand or see, all she could do was suck, it was very sad for me as well as the children who had taken turns feeding her before school.
Today is the first day for weeks that we have had no lambs born, we still have about 15-20 sheep to lamb but today, the hottest of the year so far has been very quiet. Hopefully normal service will be resumed tomorrow.
It has been 26 c here today and I cant remember the last time it rained, certainly we have had nothing for the last few weeks, some of the fields are looking a little parched and certainly Richard would be happy with some rain.
There is an old saying that goes,
Ash before Oak you'll get a soak, Oak before Ash you'll get a splash.
This refers to which of the two trees are in leaf first and how wet the summer will be, out oak trees are in full leaf whilst the ash is mostly still in bud, it would be nice to think we will get a better summer than last year.

My brother and his family have been visiting from Australia, which has been fantastic. They have been over here for 3 weeks and have spent a few days in Venice and Paris between visiting with us lot, they came up to the farm for a few days and we shoehorned an extra 5 people into our 4 bedroom house, its like boarding school in the bedrooms, dormitories and queues for the bathroom and the army catering corps in the kitchen, but we all enjoyed ourselves.
My bro is a civil engineer so farm life is a huge novelty to his children, they all had a go on the quad bike and sadly saw a poorly lamb die in front of the Rayburn, if willpower could have saved it "Bob" would have lived for ever.

I promise to download the camera tomorrow and put up some pics, not the ones I found today of my kids mooning !!!!!!!! Those I will save for their 18th birthdays.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Election Day

Well I have voted but I wont be staying up tonight to see if we have a new government, tomorrow morning will be soon enough for me.

I delivered my first lamb last night, we thought it was dead as it was another one stuck at the neck, but it had to come out anyway. My hands are much smaller than Richards so I got the job, one of the lambs front legs was folded up stopping it from being pushed out but after we got that leg straightened out I was able to gently pull the lamb out. When it fell out it coughed and spluttered and we hung it upside down to make sure its airways were clear then gave it to a very anxious mum who took over. An hour later it was up and nursing.

Anyone who has been through labour will remember that feeling of your body trying to turn itself inside out, I had huge sympathy for the ewe and her struggles and its only the knowledge that she would have died if we did nothing that made me do it. I'm so glad she got a live baby at the end.

No pics as I was too busy....... not to mention not very clean!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Its Amazing

Sad little lamb in the kitchen slept most of the afternoon, she had a couple of feeds, the second from a bottle, then woke up at about 6pm, she leapt to her feet, jumped out of the box and went looking for a mummy.

It was hard to believe that this was the sad critter that lay in the box, frankly she was a nuisance while I was making supper. We decided that we would try putting her back with her mum and brother in the field and as you can see all is well, in fact its hard to tell which is which, she is the darker of the two and nearer the ewe.

We have had another 3 lambs today, all well and this one looks like he was born last week, instead of only a couple of hours ago.

Monday, 3 May 2010

Life and Death

My mother in law says "where you've livestock you've deadstock" and it is certainly true. We had a lamb born yesterday that was very small and despite our best efforts to warm it up it died in the kitchen in front of the rayburn, tears were shed over it.

Today we have another casualty, a twin who got stuck at the neck, her little head is all swollen and she is not managing to nurse, her mum is much more interested in the other twin who is doing fine, so we have brought the poorly one in, tubed it with some lamb milk and it's in a cardboard box beside the rayburn.

We have done all we can for now, its wait and see time, but I do feel that I should do more and I will be very sad if this one dies as well.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Little Lambs

Yay we have lambs, the first was born about 9pm last night, and two more today.

So far mums and babes seem to be doing fine. We have made notices for the kissing gates warning users of the public footpath that these are lambing sheep and asking that they keep dogs on leads. So far so good.

Its not all good though as we had dead twins yesterday, not a good start but out of our control.

The children have been out to touch the lambs, and were surprised to find they are not as soft as they look, maybe their wool needs to grow a bit.
We did get a disturbed night as the flock woke us at 2am with lots of baa-ing, we couldnt see anything and it might have been a fox or badger, hopefully they wont do it every night. Richard thinks it may have something to do with the fact that there are no mature/experienced sheep in our flock, they are all just over a year old, we are all learning together!