Lambing, and more lambing…
So, lambing is almost over thank goodness. I don’t know quite why I look forward to it so much, knowing how much blood, sweat and tears are involved but the workload is getting less and before I know it, I will have forgotten what weeks and weeks on 4 hours sleep a night feels like and I’ll be looking forward to lambing all over again. In the meantime, I am going to describe my day today…
6.30am – Get up and make up 8 bottles of milk for the pet lambs. We have 6 actual orphan lambs plus 4 that aren’t quite getting enough milk so need a top up. I feed all of these and then prop up a poorly lamb so she can drink from her mum. I’m not too sure what happened but she has definitely been attacked by a fox. Her tail has been severed in two and it looks like bite wounds on her side. It doesn’t explain why she can’t walk, that could be down to tics, but we’re not sure. John has seen lambs immobile for 6 weeks and then just suddenly stand up and walk. She’s eating and drinking well so we’re quietly hopeful she recovers.
7.30am After feeding the lambs, washing out the bottles, and having breakfast, I make some jam from some frozen rhubarb I found the day before when I was looking for something in the freezer. This years’ rhubarb is growing like mad so I thought I should try to reduce our frozen fruit stock before the 2018 glut!
8.30am Yesterday I started planting the potatoes with excellent gardener (and artist), Karen Guthrie. However, there was a sudden downpour and the job was left half done so I got the job finished this morning. We’ve planted about 6 different varieties and fingers crossed some of them are blight resistant. Let out the ducks, geese and hens. Fed and made sure all had water and collected the eggs.
10am Finished packaging up a large soap order from The Westmorland Group. I’m very excited that our soaps will soon be at Tebay Services, Rheged and Gloucester Services. We are stocked in 10 different locations now. Northern Yarn in Lancaster, Grasmere Garden Village, Coniston Artisan, Classic Herd Farm Shop in Jersey, Abbot Hall and the Museum of Lakeland Life in Kendal and Old Hall Farm in Bouth. It’s also available online.
11am Clean the barn and campsite for guests arriving in the afternoon.
1pm Back to the farm for lunch and send a few emails. Bookings first start coming in between Christmas and New Year, and then another flurry around Easter time when people start thinking about summer.
2pm Make up 8 bottles and feed the lambs.
2.30pm Feed the last remaining indoor ewes waiting to lamb and creep feed for all the lambs.
2.45pm Meeting with flooring man to discuss flooring for our barn conversion. We’re almost there and it’s very exciting, however, working to a tight budget and schedule means my Pintrest boards are a pipe dream!
3.45pm Painting the freshly plastered walls of the barn conversion. The barn conversion is divided into two halves. One side will be a workshop for making our soap etc. and the other side will be a small one bedroom flat. We got some LEADER funding for the workshop side which has helped a lot but we’re having to save money on the flat side by doing as much of the work ourselves as we can. So that means, any spare time I’ve had these last few days, I’ve been painting walls, ready for the electricians coming in next week.
5pm Take Tagg for a quick walk through Bell Wood and check some of the ewes and lambs that are in the field below.
6pm Make dinner for myself and John. Normally I cook from scratch and last week we had two vet students staying with us to help with lambing, so I made more of an effort with our meals. I fancied a break from cooking and washing up so time to crack open the frozen pizzas! In normal circumstances, John would be making some of the meals but he’s been very ill lately and having to take lots of naps to be able to get through just the essential jobs on the farm. I’m careful not to ask too much of him at the moment.
7pm Make up 8 bottles and feed the lambs. Make sure all the sheep are happy and have food and water for the night. One ewe looks ready to lamb so we put her in a pen. It can easily happen that a mum-to-be gets over excited when it sees a new lamb and tries to claim it as her own. This can have dire consequences so ewes that are just about to lamb or have just lambed are put in a ‘mothering-up’ pen. This also means we can monitor and check ewe and lamb have bonded, the lamb is drinking well and his healthy, before we put them out to grass.
8pm Lock up all the hens, ducks and geese for the night and feed the dogs and cats. The hens put themselves to bed, but every evening we have to cajole the geese and ducks into their night quarters before we can lock their doors against foxes, mink and badgers.
8.30pm Tidy up the kitchen and then a quick shower. I’ve recently made shampoo bars. The fragrance isn’t very strong so I need to change the recipe plus add some castor oil to improve the lather but I’m so happy not to be buying bottles of shampoo and conditioner any more. Once I’ve perfected the recipe, I will start selling it….
9pm A rare early night after I finish writing this post!