Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Spring is here

The official end to the wet and cold winter has finally arrived. The grass has started to show a green tinge and the lawn will soon need mowing. It seems to have been a particularly grey winter with too great a prevalence of mud, sleet and cold wind. We had two significant snowfalls and plenty of flurries and flutters. Too many days when being outside was a challenge rather than a joy.
Five kids arrived with one doe yet to kid.
In autumn we chose ten Wiltshire Horn ewes to join our two young rams and from these we had thirteen lambs. Four ewes had twins but only one has persisted in raising both. Two died and one we rescued from a cold night calling out for its mother with weakening cries.
This female lamb was lucky that it received some of the colostrum from its mother that is so vital in the first few hours after birth. Lily, as she was named once she had survived three days, is a poddy lamb. Three times a day she guzzles down her milk so fast and hard that it can make her noise bleed banging on the lid of the bottle. She has an enclosure on the front verandah, one on the grass of the front lawn and a large cardboard box placed in front of the fire or for when she travels in the car - if she needs a feed while we are away somewhere she has to come too. A farmer gave us another abandoned lamb but it didn't make it through its first night which was sad but not unexpected.
The cycle of the farming year seems to start with seeds. We try to get our summer garden seeds into seed trays in the last week of winter. The seed raising mix  is the only other ingredient.
Here Michelle is using the seed dispenser to place seeds in a tray.
Once all the seeds are sown, covered and labelled the trays are put up on specially constructed shelves which go across the kitchen windows. They receive plenty of warmth and light and being so central are remembered enough to be given water.                           

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