Tuesday 28 April 2009

Holly has a make over!!!!!

Being part Tibetan Terrier, Holly's fur grows quite fluffy with a fine undercoat that seams to get matted in her top coat. She is not keen on being brushed or combed, something in her past life has made her jumpy about being brushed, so every 3 months she visits Ann her hairdresser in the next village.
This first photo shows what she was like before her visit to Anne's this morning

This is Holly now, all neat and tidy, newly shampooed with a shampoo from Italy no less!!! It evidently makes her stay whiter longer than normal. Tim calls her "Daz Dog" as she is so white. But given half a chance she will be rolling in Alpaca Poo or anything else that takes her fancy!!!
I'm back to work tomorrow, full time, so normal blogging with resume this weekend.

Monday 27 April 2009

Round up on other stuff we've been doing

As promised a photo of the veg area near the shed with it's wood edging that Tim has been able to put together. You can't really see much but at the far end is a row of Broad Beans, behind the square of summer onions is a row of garlic. The rest are rows of beetroot, parsnips, onions and shallots. The canes mark the rows for me so I know where they are and can how the weed that grow in between the rows. There is one design flaw, the bed is too wide, so once all the produce is out of the middle of the bed, Tim will put a path down the middle, so that I can reach both beds without standing on the soil.

The next two pictures are of the seed growing in my two greenhouses.

In this greenhouse are trays of broccoli, cabbages and leeks. All grown in the Root Trainer system, so hopefully they will not need to be disturbed until ready to be planted out in the main veg plot.

The second greenhouse has red cabbage, sweetcorn, tomatoes and butternut squash seedlings along the back with dwarf french beans, bulb fennel and sprouts seedling in the second row of root trainers, and 4 different heritage varieties of tomatoes in the very front set of root trainers. The tomatoes are a bit hit and miss at the moment, I think this is down to the fluctuating temperatures we're having a the moment. One day hot the next cold.

The Resident Vandal was here last week to help with lambing, but as the lambing was quite slow, he and Tim managed to get part of a side of the large barn, between the two telegraph poles repaired. It was always wet in this particular corner of the barn and outside the corrugated sheeting was hardly held on and every time there was a high wind we kept expecting it to get blown away. But the lads have repaired it using existing corrugated sheeting we had recycled from another barn we took down some time ago, and we bought a couple of sheet of clear corrugated plastic to give more light into this area barn. It's a job well done. We now have an area of the barn we can safely use and less water is getting in. Slowly but surely we'll get this big barn more and more water tight!!!
And finally, it must be summer, it's raining today, not that I'm complaining as the veg garden could do with it, and the swallows arrived last weekend to take up residence in the roof of the big barn.

Sunday 26 April 2009

We have finished lambing!!!!!

This morning when we went to check on the remaining ewe yet to lamb, we were greeted with the Layla and her twin ewe lambs.
As she was the final ewe to lamb, right on time, so that's it, we've finished lambing for another year.
We've had 36 lambs (20 ewe lambs, 16 tup lambs) from 19 ewes, a lambing % of 190%, the best we've had. All lambs are looking well and growing strong in this fine weather we are having.
We weighed all the lambs within 24 hours of being born to see how much weight they gain over the coming months. The next time we will weigh them all again is in 4 weeks time when all the sheep will be vaccinated against Blue Tongue, it will be interesting to see how much they have all put on especially the Jacob X lambs.

Saturday, a day of singles

Beatrix was the first to lamb on Saturday morning, a tup lamb, and note the colour, he's all white, except for the panda eye markings, known as a "yuglet" in the Shetland Sheep breeding world.

Early Saturday evening Berniece gave birth to this unusually marked ewe lamb, she too has "yuglet" markings, just like her father, Hector.

Late night lambs

Very late on Friday night (11pm) Lucy gave birth to twin lambs, a tup and a ewe.
All three are doing really well and are already out in the fresh air in the small paddock by the side of the barn. Tomorrow they will be joining the growing number of new mums and lambs out in the field at the back of the house.

Friday 24 April 2009

Our first single lamb

On Wednesday evening Amy had her lamb, a singe tup lamb. He had to have a little assistance coming into the world, as one of his front legs was tucked under his chest making it slightly difficult for Amy to delivery him. Thankfully Scooby was on hand to help flick the leg forward and out he popped.
We checked the last 6 ewes to make sure they were all in lamb and 2 we were unsure about are not in lamb, so they have been put out with the rest of the sheep, no need to keep them in getting extra feed. So that means we are down to the last 4 ewes to lamb and this morning we were able to dismantle one of the lambing pens to create extra room in the barn.

Monday 20 April 2009

2 sets of twins and help arrives

When we checked the barn this morning we found that Lilly had given to birth to a set of tup twins. If you look very carefully at the lambs you will see that one is brown as opposed to black. Both lambs are fit and healthy despite being born 2 days early. But Lilly has got mastitis in one teat, so I will have to milk her out in the morning. Scooby milked her out this evening and gave her a shot of antibiotics.

Mid morning the Resident Vandal arrived to help, or is it hinder, with the rest of lambing. Not long after he arrived this morning, Amber gave birth to a set of twins, a tup and ewe lamb, and again if you look at these two lambs, one is a dark brown colour, at long last a change from our usual black and white sheep.

As today has been fine and sunny, most of the new mums from this weekend have been out in the paddock at the side of the barn. The young lambs have enjoyed the sun and their mums have been eating the grass with relish.

Sunday 19 April 2009

3 sets of twins!!!!!!!

Tim did the early morning check today as I was shattered after a day of hedge maintenance yesterday. He noticed that Cicely had taken her self off up the field on her own, a sure sign of looking for a place to lamb, so he put her in a pen in the lambing barn. After we had fed everyone, Cicely was in the early stage of labour and by 8am she had produced these two little pedigree Shetland ram lambs.

A little later on we noticed that finally Anya was starting to give birth, but we were not happy with how things were progressing, so we called the local farmer Pete for held and advice. We were glad that we did. The first of Anya's twins was the right way round and he delivered her no problems, the second one (the one with the white top knot in the photo) was backwards with her legs bent underneath her, so there is no way she would have come out alive. But she's fine now, if a little bit subdued. This photo shows the girls at a few hours old, still a little bit wet from their birth.

Not to be out done Cassy decided her lambs should make an appearance today, 2 days early. Whilst Pete was lambing Anya, we asked him about Cassy and he thought she would lamb today, so we put her in a pen and waited. 6 o'clock this evening she started to strain after an hour nothing had happened, so we called Pete again to come and have a look. 5 minutes before he arrived her first lamb appeared, all be it I had to give it a final tug, so when Pete arrived her second lamb was well on the way and all he did was just give it a little tug and it was out. This photo of Cassy's two little ewe lambs was taken when they were less than an hour old.

It's been another long day with the ewes, only 9 more to go!!!!!!

Quick update on Allium

I forgot to say what lambs Allium had, had. She had a tup and a ewe lamb, both are doing very well, despite their early arrival, the ewe lamb is now walking properly, so they are ready to go out into the small paddock at the side of the barn.
We now know why Allium lambed early, she has an infection in her womb, so she's on a course of long lasting antibiotics. We were very lucky not to loose her and her unborn lambs.

Friday 17 April 2009

Allium's twins arrive 5 days early

After I had posted last night pictures of Cully and her lambs, I went to do a final lamb check before going to bed.
Allium had just given birth to a lamb and so we spent the next hour or so with her whilst she gave birth to a second lamb, still very much in it's birthing bag, which I had to tear open so that the lamb didn't drown in it's own fluid. I then had to vigorously rub it's chest, for what seemed like and age to get it to breath, but suddenly it coughed and bleated, so I knew it would be fine. Allium did a great job of cleaning up her two new born lambs.
We got very little sleep last night as we both wanted to keep an eye on these two new arrivals. You can tell they are premature as they are still very wobbly on their feet and have no teeth to speak of. Tim kept checking them every hour today whilst I was at work and they have slept a lot and had quite a bit to drink. Tonight they are up and about, mum is looking heaps better. almost back to her stroppy self, but this little family will not be going out into the fields for a few days until they are a lot better on their feet.

Thursday 16 April 2009

Cully deliver's at last

Early this evening Cully had twins, a tup and a ewe lamb. Both were up and about very quickly despite me having to pull both lambs out. Cully seemed to give up pushing once the legs and nose appeared.
Anyway there here and looking very healthy. Now we just want Anya (who is looking as if she is going to pop any minute) and Beatrix to get on and lamb.
We also brought Allium into the barn today, she was taking herself away from the rest of the flock and settling down in the field shelter, a sure sign she can't be far away from lambing, though she's not due until next Wednesday. We've given her a dose of glucose, just to be sure, as she's looking a little bit off colour. We'll give her another dose in the morning and that hopefully with make her feel better.

Monday 13 April 2009

A busy Easter in the veg garden

As we've got 3 ewes that are overdue to lamb, we've been staying quite close to home and with the weather being so nice, well fine at least, I've had no excuse but to get on with the veg garden. Tim has put together the wood boarders to the veg plot near the shed, creating a bed 12' x 18', which I've so far planted 1 row of Broad Bean plants, shallot bulbs and red onion sets, sown 2 rows of parsnips and a row of beetroot. The greenhouse has seed trays containing sweetcorn, french beans, tomatoes, sprouts, red cabbage, leeks and bulb fennel all of which I got sown when the Hobbits were here last week. 3 more veg beds (6' x 15') have been marked out ready to be dug over before the end of the month, in the new veg area. The one veg bed that Tim got ready before his accident, now contains 3 varieties of potato (Kestrel, Pink Fir Apple & Bambino) covered with a good layer of home made compost, I think I barrowed over 30 loads of compost to get the potatoes covered on Good Friday. It should make them grow.
I will post photos of the veg plot, today has been fine but with a sea fret, so it's been very foggy, not ideal photo weather.
I'm now off to soak in a hot bath, that is if I can move without disturbing 2 very tired dogs!!!!!!

Saturday 11 April 2009

Brazil has twins

Feeding the ewes this morning Brazil was making quite a racket, initially I thought she was hungry, but when I gave her some feed she ignored it completely. So after feeding the rest of the ewes we decided to hang around to see what she wanted.
We didn't have to wait long as a water bag burst and was quickly followed by a pair of hooves and legs, then nothing and it was obvious that Brazil was struggling to push her little lamb out, so I pulled hard on the legs and out came the first lamb, quickly followed by the second with no assistance from me, (who by the way had remembered to remove her gloves before assisting the birth!!!!).
Brazil has has a tup and ewe lamb. So far we have 9 ewe lambs and 6 tup lambs.

Thursday 9 April 2009

Another set of twins!!!!

On this mornings early lamb check, Abbi was in her pen happily licking these two little ewe lambs. I sprayed their navels and gave them a dose of Sustain for Watery mouth before feeding the rest of the sheep. The 2 little lambs are a good size and weight. To date Abbi is the only ewe who has delivered on her predicted date!!!!
Only Brazil (due yesterday), Beatrix (due this coming Saturday), Anya and Cully (due last Monday) to lamb in this first batch of ewes. I just wish Anya and Cully would GET ON WITH IT.
The house is evening is very quiet, two very tired Hobbits went home this afternoon, they've had a busy few days since their arrival on Saturday. 13 lambs have been born, two of which they saw being born, every morning they have helped feed the ewes by wheel barrowing slices of hay bales to each ewe in the lambing pens, helped weigh each of the new born lambs, moved Yellow Neck, Carolyn and Missy with their respective lambs into the new mum's field and played endless games of football with the dogs. They'll be back in the Summer.......

Wednesday 8 April 2009

5 lambs born today

The early morning check revealed that Carman had given birth to twins, a tup and a ewe, unaided, within the last hour. Both lambs had been licked clean and were up and about calling for mum. So no problems with this new family.
A little later whilst I was feeding the ewes, Tim noticed that Ariadne was holding back from the rest of the ewes, she wasn't due for a couple of days, but with the very cold, strong biting wind that was blowing, we decided the best place for her was the barn, along with Abbi, Beatrix who are also due over the next couple of days. No sooner had we got them all in the barn and Ariadne in a pen, when we noticed a water bag, a sure sign of the early signs of lambing, so we hung around to make sure she was O.K. After a while it became apparent that she would need some assistance lambing, nothing too serious, the lamb's head was showing, so a quick tug and it was out, a little while later a nose and feet could be seen, so again a bit more of a tug on the lambs feet and it was out. (Slight note to self, when lambing a ewe remember to remove your wool fingerless gloves!!!!!). We watched Ariadne for a little while and thought she was going have another lamb, but she was just expelling the after birth. So we left the new family alone to be checked on an hour or so later. By which time the 2 lambs had become 3, all are ewes and it looks like she will be able to feed them herself.
Ariadne's triplets which we'll keep in the barn for a couple of days to make sure she's coping with them O.K. We know she did last year with her triplets. What a star ewe she is.

Monday 6 April 2009

Carolyn & Missy follow Yellow Neck!!!!

Doing my early morning check of the ewes in the barn and out in the paddock I noticed Carolyn away up the field by the fence walking round and round a small black bump on the ground, as it was not yet quite light, I wasn't sure if it was a lamb. A closer look revealed it was and this was quickly followed by a second lamb. I now had the job of carrying two wet lambs to the barn walking backwards so that mum could see them.

As you can see from the picture they are again black with white on their heads.

Both boys by the way and pure pedigree Shetlands. The first this year.

Missy on the other hand decided to wait until this afternoon to deliver her lambs, whilst she had an audience. A chap Tim shared a ward with in hospital brought his 6 year old daughter to see the lambs. 5 minutes before they arrived I noticed Ghilli & Grommet staring intently over towards the ewe's paddock, this could only mean one thing!!! New born lambs and sure enough Missy had given birth to a lamb. Again I had the job of carrying this wriggling, wet lamb, backwards towards the barn, Missy following and nearly stood on me when I tripped over the mineral bucket hear the gate. We all thought that Missy was only going to have single lamb, but once in the pen she very quickly produced a second one.

Again note the colour - Black
Missy has had a tup and a ewe lamb. We will keep her in a little longer than normal, just to make sure she is O.K especially after the scare we had with her last month.
So far our lambing % is 200%, with 4 ram lambs and 2 ewe lambs.
As both Carolyn and Missy were 2 days early giving birth, we've had to build 2 more pens in the barn. We've put Brazil into a pen as well now as she is due any day soon. I just hope Cully and Anya (who were due today) don't hang onto their lambs for much longer, we're running out of lambing pens!!!!!

Sunday 5 April 2009

Yellow Neck delivers 2 days early

We decided on Saturday evening to bring in the ewes that are due to lamb on Monday (Yellow Neck, Cully & Anya), putting them into their own lambing pens. As the ewes came in to be fed, we shut the barn door to separate the 3 girls off, (plus Carmen, who is due on Tuesday). We got Cully, Anya and Carmen into their respective pens, no problems and we're stood looking for Yellow Neck, when the youngest Hobbit pipes up with, "there's a white sheep out in the field". Sure enough it was Yellow Neck in the early stages of giving birth. As there was a cold biting wind, we were a bit concerned, as we didn't want her lambs to get chilled. We left her for a while, but nothing was happening, so Tim cautiously moved her towards the barn. she went easily into the barn and pen. So the wait began. After 2 hours I rang Pete, a local farmer for advice, who fortunately was just about to come out, to check on a cow that was calving and he would have to pass our lane end. But just as Pete arrived Yellow Neck delivered her first lamb no problem and when Pete looked at her, the hooves and nose of the second lamb were visible, so he gave them a quick tug, and out popped the second lamb.
She's had a ram and a ewe lamb, or a tup and gimmer lamb, depending on where you come from.
I took this photo this afternoon and as you can see they are a typical Meadowcroft Farm lamb. Black with white heads.
Mum and lambs looking very relaxed. If the weather is O.K in the morning we will let them out to enjoy the sunshine and fresh grass.

Update on Tim's hand and a bit of a disaster

Tim saw the consultant on Thursday and everything is going really well, to the point that he has been told that he can start working again, all be it light duties, but it's a step in the right direction. Tim is telling everyone that he's had some bad news from the consultant!!! Needless to say everyone is concerned at first and then laughs when he tells them why! He's not back to see the consultant for another 3 months, but this is backed up with weekly visit to the hand therapist.
The bit of disaster this week, is that the bread maker is broken, well the pan has fallen apart and with the arrival of the Hobbits, I need one to keep up with the bread we will go through. Tim managed to find a new pan on EBay, but it's out of stock, so we've bought an identical bread maker to the one we have now, with the idea that when the spare pan arrives, we'll always have a back up, or I can run both of them when we have a house full of people. Needless to say the bread maker today has make 2 batches of bread buns and 1 loaf. Those Hobbits sure know how to eat.......