Greater Spotted woodpeckers, tawny owls, barn owls but no great rush of lambs, just yet!

A quite extraordinary week on the farm in that so little has happened! No rush of lambs and no more calves but lots more rain and enough warmth to get the grass growing again.

Highlights include Katja and Leslie both now being able to claim to have delivered a lamb, the sending of 30 of last years lambs to Fordhall Farm and finding the three steers that Ben wants from us are TB clear.

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On a less positive note we have had to buy in more high protein feed for the ewes (organic of course), milk powder for the lambs that have been taken off their mothers who were ‘first timers’ and 17 bales of organic haylage from a farmer who, in our early days, gave us much helpful advice on organic farming. Oddly enough called Adrian as well – he however farms 1,000 acres!

We did have a lovely visit from a not so close neighbour who farms about the same acreage as us but concentrates on sheep and also goats. She met Chris at a session organised by our vets and is very interested in what biodynamic farming is all about. We certainly hope to see her again in the near future as well as visit her farm.

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For those who have watched countless programmes on lambing or remember it from story lines in the Archers we do not sit with the ewes on a 24 hour basis. Chris carries the main burden in that he does the 6am, 9pm and 3am shifts while Katja and Tim take over for the day and, for the, hopefully, last evening check, it falls to Katja and myself. For us it’s a bit the blind leading the blind but we do our best and Katja is becoming ever more competent. The needs of the lambs in the ‘orphanage’ are met by a number of volunteers and this year the lambs have been provided with infra red heating.

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Foxes remain a constant concern but we have friends willing to carry out the odd patrol with a gun to at least show the flag! They also help us keep our rabbit population under control. We may a resident pair of buzzards but the rabbits breed faster than the birds can eat them.

It is a great time for watching birds since although the blossom is now showing on the hedges leaves are slow to follow. The number and variety of little brown jobs is amazing and delightful.

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A treat this morning was to see a pair of Greater Spotted Woodpeckers sat on the railings along the drive. We have not heard a cuckoo yet but the laughing cry of the woodpeckers is with us all day while at night the sound of both tawny and barn owls keep us company when on the last shift. While I doubt Chris at 3.00 am enjoys the nights overmuch I confess the atmosphere at 11.00 is often quite magical especially on a clear or clearish  night since light pollution is not a major issue for us.
No idea what the week to come will bring – we rather hope, but at the same time fear, a major rush of lambs.

Yours, Farmer Adrian

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