Sunday, 12 May 2013

Quick Post

Last weekend saw the end of lambing.  I now need to catch up on work in and around the bungalow, particularly the weed infested garden, so I am making this a quick post mostly of photos.

With the good weather, we had a very good lambing, producing 60 healthy, lively lambs.

The Herdwicks eventually proved to be good mothers but preferred to avoid humans, unlike their lambs who are very inquisitive, friendly little things and will frequently follow us to get a better look at the strange looking two legged creatures...

One of the last Beulahs to give birth who was expecting twins, gave us a surprise. Although not looking particularly large, she produced, with no problems, three good sized healthy lambs...

The very last ewe to lamb was a Herdwick who chose for her delivery suite, a big patch of stinging nettles, making it a painful job to check the lambs and spray their umbilical cords with iodine (prevents infection). Of course as soon as I had finished she then moved them out of the nettles:))

So that is the end of the actual lambing.  Now we have to try to keep them all alive and healthy over the next few weeks which I think can be a far more risky time than the birth process.  There are a number of diseases they are prone to so all lambs will need to be vaccinated at around 3 weeks old, with a booster at 6 weeks old;  then there are a variety of parasites that can pose a threat and need to be controlled and as the weather gets warmer we have to be on the look out for fly strike, so they need to be checked very carefully each day.

As livestock volunteers there is always something to help with.  Besides the lambs, we have recently been out at one of my favourite sites on the North Downs called Park Ham.  We were there to trim the hooves of some sheep.  The sun was shining, there were Skylarks singing and the sheep behaved well so it was an extremely enjoyable morning.

I remember visiting this site around the same time last year when the previous grazing officer and I were looking at the large number of different wild plants that, after several years of conservation grazing, were now growing amongst the grassland, not to mention a great number of baby cowslips that, then, were too young to flower. So after the hoof trimming I went over to the same area to see if those baby cowslips were flowering this year and they were...there were little flowers everywhere and I can imagine how wonderful this place will be in years to come when all these cowslips are fully grown.

I then had to rush straight off to a meeting with my mother's solicitor. Despite looking rather dishevelled I tried to appear reasonably intelligent and interested in what he was saying but suddenly I nearly shot out my chair as something very sharp stabbed me in a rather delicate place on my chest...????...  I could hardly go fishing down my cleavage to find out what it was so I just tried to sit very still, but at odd moments, to the puzzlement of the solicitor, I couldn't help jumping as I was stabbed again...very  Once outside I discovered the culprit was a huge, sharp piece of sheep's toe nail !!!! :))

Sadly the nice weather that has produced some wonderful sunsets...

 ...didn't last long enough for a few days away visiting our son last week, although, on the first day it didn't really matter as we went to the Warner Bros. Exhibition showing how the Harry Potter Films were made.  I really recommend this as it was so interesting and it's quite amazing what went into the making of these films...the Butterbeer was good too:)

I can also recommend the National trust places of Dunstable Downs (where from the top, we looked down on a Red Kite flying around in the valley below) and the Ashridge Estate (beautiful Bluebell walk through ancient forest).  Both are lovely, easily accessible places with cafes serving good food.

Now (besides the livestock work) it's back to the diet, back to our attempt to finish the bathroom, re-roof the garage, repair the wildlife pond that is leaking, grow some veg. and fight the continuing war with the weeds...and hopefully get back to some walks exploring my own beautiful valley:)