Sunday, 27 January 2008

Well at least it hasn't snowed this week....

But it seems to have done everything else!!!! On Monday we took the decision to move the ewes off the common land and restrict them to the small paddock at the side of the barn, as the land is so wet we wanted to protect our grazing. Thankfully the rest of the week has been dry and very windy, so that has helped dry the land out, but the common land is still very wet, so the ewes will not be going back in there for some time yet.
We went to see the Panto in York on Friday night, Berwick Kaler in Sinbad. It was my office social, we had a great time. It's a long time since I have laughed so much. We've been going for many years and we know all the jokes, but it is such good fun we wouldn't miss it. The highlights this year were the Sand Dance and a send up of the Spice Girls - The Old Spice Girls!!!!!!
Saturday was just the normal feed and water bucket top ups. It was so windy that we could hardly stand, so it was a waste of time trying to do anything. I baked a couple of Christmas cakes, in readiness for the arrival of the resident vandal, Tim put a new chain on his chainsaw, he hit a nail using last week, it didn't do it a lot of good. We also let the ewes into another small paddock as it was relatively dry.
Today started windy, but mild, and with all the high winds, the electric fence wire had sagged, so we spent some of the morning reeling it in and collecting the poles.
Our land is edge by a beck called Bob's Beck, which we walked through to clear the branches and debris that had accumulated due to the rain over the previous week. If we don't keep the beck running, the bottom of the back field starts to flood and can over time wash away the fencing. Because we were protected by the banks it was quite a pleasant job, there was one tree that had fallen across the beck and had to be cut back, we also cut back anything that was leaning over that might collect debris against it.
After lunch the wind had dropped sufficiently we decided to have a fire and burn the hedge prunings from the hedge laying last weekend. The fire took a little starting, but once it was going all of the prunings burnt quite quickly. A great job on a cool Sunday afternoon, the fire keeps you warm
One of the jobs I try to do over the weekend is to condition score the ewes, this involves me feeling their backs along the spine and depending on how prominent the spine is tells me what sort of condition they are in. Some of the older girls are feeling a little thin but the rest of the girls feel fine. It's a fine line between keeping the ewes fit and in a good condition to lamb and them being too fat. Too thin and any ewe having twins/multiple birth, could secome to "twin lamb disease" where the ewe can die, or they are too fat and the lambs so big, the ewes have difficulty giving birth that we have to assist, which again can lead to complications. These next few weeks up to lambing are always a worry. We will soon have to increase the concentrates we give the ewes and be feeding them twice a day. Thankfully the "old ladies" are quire happy to be hand fed sheep nuts, which enables us to give them some extra feed.
Nothing much happening over the next week hopefully the rain will stay away, so that the land continues to dry out. Though after next weekend we are doing or going somewhere every weekend until we start lambing.

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