Stop start lambing!

This time last year the concern was that the grass was not growing. Heavy frosts held the grass, and Spring, back. This year we have had a couple of air frosts which tinted the blossoms already out, but overall, we are mainly having a ‘normal’ April of showers and sunshine. Sometimes yes, the rain is rather extreme, and the Brook has broken its banks once, but most of all, the news is good – the grass is growing.

Lambing got off to a flying start two weeks ago – so much so that we thought it would all be over by Easter. How wrong we were! The Thursday before Easter and no lambs for 36 hours, and then a set of twins and a single and then another 48 hours without anymore. We wondered if perhaps the Rams took a few days off in respect to their loss of Adrian. Tim has now remembered that they were lame for a few days in November. Both could of course be true!

Boots has been an enormous help, and this year is very much part of the lambing team. He and Tim are overseeing the days, and he and Chris the late night, early morning checks. We would be lost without him in truth, as, as so often seems the way, the rest of the jobs and responsibilities don’t lessen just because the farm work increases. Adrian might not be keen that the lambs that Boots lambs are being named, but he would probably not really mind that much!

We took the opportunity of the Lambing shed being quiet to transplant some Rush Farm snowdrops to Adrian on Good Friday. It was a lovely day, the sun shone, and the blackthorn hedges’ blossom just glowed. It was a very quiet and lovely visit, and the snowdrops ‘in the green’, immediately looked like they were where they should be.

Over the bank holiday weekend there are almost more calves born than lambs. Three arrive, two expected, one unexpected, and to a new mother who is part of the young stock and is less than keen on her new responsibilities. The father is the Rigg which we removed a few weeks ago from the herd. He clearly lived life to the full while he could. As for the mother, she repeatedly kicks the calf away when it tries to feed from her. This is not uncommon with first time mothers simply because they have no experience of nursing. There are regular visits to the barn through the day and evening to help the calf to feed. The mother and calf are in a separate pen to the rest of the herd. The mother is easy to handle, and while initially restrained so she can’t walk away, within a couple of feeds she just needs to be distracted with some tasty food while the calf feeds. It is hoped that in a few days, this intervention will no longer be needed, and the mother will accept her calf.

The Daffs along the driveway are almost over, but the garden is full of splendour – the tulips, grape hyacinths, primroses, violets – all look just wonderful.

For this week, we have looked back at Adrian’s choice for this time last year. Of course, it is still a perfect selection!

Early Spring by Rilke

“Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadow’s wintry grey
little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
hesitantly, reach towards the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
from unexpected subtle ridings
that find expression in the empty trees

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