Farm Diary continued (7)

31st March, writing on 4th April 1999

The last few days are a bit of a blur. I've been writing a few notes, and taking pictures, so I'll try and put something together.

First, for those who were wondering, Vera's lamb, which was so poorly is thriving. It loves sleeping on Vera's back.

Now 9th April. Time has been a bit short. Vera and her lambs are now out in the field, and still thriving.

Lambing shed. One pen of expectant sheep. One 'mothering-up' pen.

What's been happening? Lots of lambs born on the 30th, and then (31st March) James checked the sheep at 5.30 am and found twin ewe lambs, one of them licked beautifully clean, but with the membrane still over her mouth, so she had died without ever breathing. I hate it when that happens. It seems so unnecessary.

Another sheep was just giving birth to twins, and since she had only one good side to her udder, James managed to put the second lamb on the first sheep. The second sheep didn't miss it at all, and the first sheep was looking for her dead lamb. Sometimes things work out.

Annie, an old ewe, had triplets later that day. We tried to put one on a ewe with only a single but it wouldn't work. In fact, more than a week later, Annie is managing really well, in spite of a bout of mastitis.

Annie and her triplets. 9.4.99
We were almost in time in the evening for our fortnightly bible study group (ecumenically, Methodist, R.C. and C.of E.). We'd arranged to have it here because of lambing. James went down to check the calves in the wood, and, for the first time ever, they'd escaped. He put them back and then saw a neighbours sheep and lambs running from a dog. He went to investigate and found a man saying 'he was only chasing a rabbit', . We found out next day that one of the lambs was dead. In case anyone reading this doesn't know, never let a dog run loose near sheep. If they're pregnant they can abort, and if they have lambs, the lamb can die in a panic.

1st April 1999

A glorious sunny day. No lambs born till late at night. The calves in the wood were out again, so it was a lovely excuse to go down to Underhill and 'help' James fix the fence. The violets and wild strawberries are flowering in the field. The ragwort is starting to grow and it isn't safe for the calves to graze there. Ragwort is such a menace. I've decided to have a volunteers' ragwort-pulling week, over the week of the eclipse. Anyone willing to work hard, in exchange for free camping and food, send me an e-mail!

Violets and wild strawberry
1st April rather merged into 2nd April. My sister Jane and nephew Laurence arrived, and Mary cooked a 3 course meal for all of us and three freinds.
Then we were busy with sheep that had mastitis and their lambs till late. Our son Tom and Laura his girl friend arrived fairly late.
A ewe had her water bag out, but nothing else happening, so James went to bed at 11.30 or so and I stayed up to check her every half hour. I woke James at 2.00 as nothing was happening, and he gave her a calcium injection. She gave birth shortly thereafter and James went back to bed, whilst I stayed up a bit longer to see the lamb was suckling etc..
James fixing fence.
Hen and sheep.
Sheep using lamb as pillow

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